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Peer Review

MSTE Curriculum Modules - Math, Science & Technology



Overall Numeric Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Nov 29, 2004 by Mathematics
Overview: The Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (MSTE) is a
division of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. The MSTE Curriculum Modules site contains a collection of
fully developed high school curriculum modules that use the Internet in
significant ways. There are currently 15 modules in Mathematics and 6 modules
in Science; in addition, there are approximately two dozen additional modules
that have been created by instructors and/or Education students.
The learning modules here are web-based, technology intensive lessons focusing
on mathematics and science in an applied context. They have been developed for
teachers, by teachers, aligned with the Illinois State Learning Standards and
the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards. Some of the
lessons are designed to last over several days, some only for a class period.
Type of Material: Curriculum modules for various topics with pertinent pedagogical descriptions
and Interactive java applets; lessons that employ technology (such as Excel
spreadsheets) in various ways.
Recommended Uses: curriculum module of study
Technical Requirements: Java enabled browser. The individual applets and authors seem to have differing
requirements. Some applets ran on older MAC browsers and others did not.
Identify Major Learning Goals: The quoted goal of MSTE is to serve as a model-builder for innovative,
standards-based, technology-intensive mathematics and science instruction at the
K-16 levels. The materials are designed to integrate math and/or science and
technology in the teaching/learning process.
Target Student Population: High school faculty and students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Appropriate arithmetic, geometry or algebra course. Some familiarity with
applets ? interfaces can be somewhat obscure.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: While the modules have been developed by various authors and at various times,
the overall quality is excellent. In many instances the applet source codes are
available. (See related reviews of: MSTE, MSTE Java Applets; and MSTE
Lessons?Math, Science & Technology.)
Most modules contain information on standards, lesson structure and development,
lesson activities, lesson extensions, in which classes this module may be
applied, and contact information.
Concerns: Since this is a collection from different authors, content, style and technical
requirements vary from lesson to lesson.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The materials on the whole are very well done. The modules have been developed
with descriptions of the problem, connections to standards, examples of use,
lesson structure and development, references, and more. The modules feature the
use of technology (such as Excel spreadsheets) and in some cases combine math
and science; some lessons include notes to the teacher regarding how to best use
the lesson.
There is a link to Interactive Projects and an associated set of Math Tools in
the form of online conversion applets for use with the modules.
Concerns: none.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The modules include descriptions of the material and instructions for the
teacher. The entire set of lessons is fully explained and annotated. There is
a module search engine available.
Concerns: Since the modules open in the same window and there are no links for returning
to Home, navigation back to the module home page is a bit cumbersome.

Other Issues and Comments: