"The Acoustics House" curriculum is a modularized, individualized problem-solving scientific/ mathematics activity for students in high school math. Contents of the packets focus on architecture sound and its relationship to science and mathematics. The curriculum is designed to integrate reading, writing, collaboration, science and mathematics. The intended outcome is to enable students to demonstrate and interpret steps used to attain solutions for real life problems.
In this high-tech age, modern technology flourishes. It is imperative that students understand how data is processed and translated into meaningful knowledge. This curriculum will present students with a variety of math and science problems that each student can attempt to solve. Students will use writing skills to solve problems that are developmentally appropriate. Students will acquire enough knowledge to be used to examine data and to process ways of analyzing the data in order to later write about it. Consequently, writing and problem-solving abilities of the students will improve as they practice multiple approaches.
Students will gain expedience in using the scientific method, solving problems to the best of their ability, and analyzing old and new information. They will receive a variety of guided explanations and demonstrations on problem-solving, along with reviewing basic language skills and learning to monitor their own progress.
Students will also work in cooperative groups as cooperative groups play an important role in school and outside of school. Students will interact and work in small groups throughout each of the activities. Team building and cooperation are important skills students will need to meet the challenges of our changing world. For some students, working with others will be a new experience. The expected outcome is to develop the skills involved in collaboration and respect for the ideas of others.
As students are working in groups, sharing and listening to others become the key to successful mathematical/ scientific decision making. The teacher's role will be that of facilitators. This includes listening and asking effective questions to help students stay on task. Each student has a role in the group, such as recorder or manager so that they become responsible for their own learning. Students assume new roles as they change activities so that each group member has an opportunity to fill each role.
Finally, it is important that the teacher discusses with the class, either verbally or in writing, how the group has functioned. Questions such as "In what ways did your group work well together?" "How was everyone in the group given the opportunity to speak and to be heard?", and "Describe how the responsibilities were shared" help determine the effectiveness of the group and where improvements need to be made.
As students interpret data, discuss and support approaches to problems, read maps, write reports, defend solutions, and draw conclusions, each student may not have the same level of proficiency required to carry these out. Therefore, to foster participation and effective communication by all students, the teacher must try to obtain an idea of the students' communication skills. This can be accomplished by listening to the students as they talk about and interpret the task. Who is having difficulties understanding the requirements?
Which students cannot identify and explain the components and objectives of the activity? Next, the teacher needs to examine the written work. Which students cannot fully explain the solution? Is this due to a lack of mathematical or scientific knowledge or the inability to express thoughts in written or oral form? Some reasons for this diversity among students include lack of proficiency in English, poor knowledge of mathematical or scientific terminology, limited exposure to the rules and use of language in mathematical or scientific contexts, and the lack of background and experience with technical forms of communication.
Overall, "The Acoustics House" is a curriculum designed to promote cooperative groups, scientific thinking, problem-solving, communication skills, and mathematical/ scientific applications in the area of environmental science and management. This curriculum is designed for students taking problem-solving, but it can be altered easily for other grades. Students will find this curriculum extremely interesting and useful as it fosters creativity, curiosity, and imagination of our environment.