COMET • Vol. 8, No. 16 – 12 May 2007


(1) California K-8 Mathematics Adoption–Submitted Materials

Source: California Department of Education

A listing of the mathematics instructional materials submitted to the California Department of Education for review in the current K-8 mathematics adoption is available online at the above Web site. The list includes the titles, publishers, and grade levels for the 24 Basic, 18 Algebra Readiness, and 12 Mathematics Intervention programs submitted for review.

Submitted and adopted instructional materials and resources are available for review at Learning Resource Display Centers throughout the state. Locations are listed online at

(2) Mathematics and Science Education Contacts at California State University (CSU) Campuses

Source: CSU Chancellor’s Office
URL (Math):
URL (Science):

In an effort to help facilitate an increase in the number of mathematics and science teachers in the state, the California State University Chancellor’s Office Web site now includes summary charts of both mathematics and science teacher education contacts at CSU campuses around the state.

The mathematics page contains the names and contact information for mathematics credential advisors, a link to the Web page(s) of credential programs and/or Departments of Mathematics and Schools of Education, and links to related projects and opportunities such as master’s programs at the CSU campuses. The science page contains similar information. (To update, correct, or make additions to the information in the chart(s), please contact


(1) The Futures Channel: Mathematics and Science Movies and Lesson Plans


The Futures Channel offers teachers a variety of free online movie clips and related lesson plans about real-world applications of mathematics and science.

For “Algebra in the Real World” movies and lesson plans, see

For other topic areas, visit the following Web pages:

“Hands-on Math”:

“Living and Working in Space”:

“Problem Solving”:

“Science and Technology”:

(2)  Academic Competitiveness Council Finds That Little Scientific Evidence Backs Federally-Funded Math and Science Education Programs

Source: U.S. Department of Education
URL (Press release):
URL (Full report):

Last Thursday (May 10), U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings released the findings of the Academic Competitiveness Council (ACC) and its recommendations to integrate and coordinate federal education programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Deficit Reduction Act, signed into law by President Bush in February 2006, established the Academic Competitiveness Council, led by Secretary Spellings, to review all federal programs with a focus on math and science education and to report its findings to Congress.

“We must all work together to give students the math and science skills they need to compete and thrive in the global economy,” Secretary Spellings said. “Currently there are more than 100 programs that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education spread across 13 agencies, yet little is known about the impact of these programs on student performance. That’s why as Congress considers competitiveness legislation, I urge them to review the ACC report and focus investments in programs that demonstrate measurable effects on student achievement or fill gaps in the large portfolio of existing programs.”

The Council’s review revealed that, despite decades of significant federal investment in science and math education, there is a general dearth of evidence of effective practices and activities in STEM education. When these recommendations are implemented, our knowledge of effective math and science education practices will grow, American students will benefit, and the nation’s overall competitiveness will be strengthened.

“The Administration’s goal is to increase America’s competitiveness in the global economy by ensuring the greatest return from the government’s investment in math and science education programs,” Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman said. “The work of the Council will help agencies integrate rigorous evaluations in science and math education programs, so that the impact of the federal investment is measurable and more positive.”

The statute charged the Council to:

* Identify all federal programs with a mathematics or science education focus;

* Identify the effectiveness of those programs;

* Determine areas of overlap or duplication among those programs;

* Identify target populations served by such programs; and,

* Recommend processes to efficiently integrate and coordinate those programs.

Based on data provided by the agencies and validated by the Office of Management and Budget, the Council created an inventory of federal science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs, including the populations served by each program. Among the 105 STEM education programs totaling $3.12 billion in fiscal year 2006, 45 programs have a goal to recruit and retain teachers with majors or minors in STEM fields or to increase the content knowledge of current K-12 STEM teachers. Pre-service teachers are a target population in 22 programs and in-service teachers are a target population in 39 programs. Only 1 percent of ACC program funding is targeted solely to mathematics education.

Based on its analysis, the Council is making the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1: The ACC program inventory and goals and metrics should be living resources, updated regularly and used to facilitate stronger interagency coordination.

Recommendation 2: Agencies and the federal government at large should foster knowledge of effective practices through improved evaluation and-or implementation of proven-effective, research-based instructional materials and methods.

Recommendation 3: Federal agencies should improve the coordination of their K-12 STEM education programs with states and local school systems.

Recommendation 4: Federal agencies should adjust program designs and operations so that programs can be assessed and measurable results can be achieved, consistent with the programs’ goals.

Recommendation 5: Funding for federal STEM education programs designed to improve STEM education outcomes should not increase unless a plan for rigorous, independent evaluation is in place, appropriate to the types of activities funded.

Recommendation 6: Agencies with STEM education programs should collaborate on implementing ACC recommendations under the auspices of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).

For more information about the American Competitiveness Initiative and STEM education programs visit and

(3) Tips for Teachers–Finishing the Year

Source: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Web site includes a “Tips for Teachers” section. Teachers are invited to submit their own tips to NCTM at  Past topics have included testing, grading, homework, communicating with parents, tools and technology, starting the year off right, and tips for tutors. The current topic is “finishing the year.” The tips can be found at Several follow below:

Create a Class Timeline

Have your students brainstorm and come up with a “historic timeline” for your class. Give vague guidelines, such as “See if you can think of about 10 topics that we learned this year and put them in order.” Perhaps suggest that they include an example problem for each topic or some other illustration to “show” the topic. This will get your students thinking about what they learned and can be used as a review activity for your final.

Hold a Math Carnival

Students can work to solve real-world problems (e.g., see and win prizes for correct answers. Set up stations, with “proctors,” to simulate activities. The proctor’s job is to watch the students and give out prizes. Other stations can be set up in contest fashion, where students compete to be the first to solve the problem. Math, refreshments, and music combine to create a fun and exciting close to the school year!

Become Experts!

Allow your students to choose a topic that they will become an expert in. Once they have thoroughly researched the topic and understand it well enough to present, let them teach a 10-minute lesson to their classmates. It is good to have a list of suggestions for your students, but be sure to allow them to go outside your list. The goal is to generate interest, keep them motivated, and keep them learning!…


California Mathematics Project Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers


The California Mathematics Project (CMP) is one of the nine subject matter disciplines comprising the California Subject Matter Project (CSMP) network. The CSMP is supported by the State of California and is administered by the University of California Office of the President. All nine disciplines of the CSMP share common goals and program elements to further their mandate in providing professional and leadership development for K-12 teachers throughout the state.

The goals of the California Mathematics Project are:

1. Develop and enhance teachers’ content knowledge and instructional strategies aligned with the California Board of Education adopted California Mathematics Content Standards and Framework.

2. Expand the statewide opportunities for professional development in mathematics by developing a network of teacher leaders who are capable of assuming leadership roles in their profession.

3. Improve the mathematical achievement of students in high need and Program Improvement (PI) schools through the development of partnerships between these schools and CMP regional sites.

The California Mathematics Project consists of 19 regional sites located at college and university campuses throughout the state. Each of these regional sites designs programs that meet the unique needs of schools and teachers in their region. Programs may include: intensive institute models, teacher leadership institutes, year-round workshops targeted on a specific mathematical topic, formal partnerships (or contracted services) with schools and/or districts, and programs aimed at specific school constituencies (e.g. students, aides, administrators, parents).

Ultimately, the goal of the CMP is to enhance the quality of California’s K-12 mathematics education by increasing teachers’ mathematical content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, and by supporting and developing leadership skills.


Visit, which depicts the locations of the 19 regional CMP sites and provides a link to each site. At the regional site’s home page, teachers may learn of quality professional development opportunities for the summer and academic year.

Visit,  the California Subject Matter Project home page, for links to projects in all of the academic areas.