Conference Presentations

"The Medicine Wheel Garden As An Integrated Project For Cross Curriculum Education"
February 2007.

Sherry Herron, Brandi Deroche, Jill D. Maroo, Marlissa Leavitt, Tommy Sumrall, Douglas Magomo, Leslie Jones and Anita Waltman, The University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39406.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Inter-tribal Society recently builta Medicine Wheel Garden which quickly evolved into a multi-disciplined educational tool that provides a hands-on, non-conventional arena for learning. A medicine wheel garden is circular in shape and divided along cardinal directions into quadrants which can have multiple meanings. The project idea has been introduced to area schools which have adapted the concept to fit their individual interests. The project provides an excellent opportunity to teach across the curriculum and to integrate disciplines, as well as lending itself to community involvement. Over fifteen groups at USM have been involved in the physical development of the Medicine Wheel Garden. Students in science and mathematics education are developing curriculum materials and activities applicable to lower, middle, and high school. Curriculum ideas related to core subject areas, vocational programs, technology programs and the arts - all of which apply to the tech-prep program in K-12 education - will be shared.

Presented at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences

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"Middle School Mathematics And Science Featuring Applications To Hurricanes And Other Natural Disasters."
February 2007.

Sherry Herron, Myron Henry, Lida McDowell, Shelia Brown, and Sharon Walker, The University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39406.

With a focus on natural disasters, primarily hurricanes, forty-eight teachers of science or mathematics from middle schools throughout south Mississippi learned relevant science and mathematics concepts during a full-day two-week summer institute. Teachers participated in Maury Project activities which had been developed for a teacher enhancement national oceanography program through funding from the American Meteorological Society. Teachers collected debris on Deer Island and then analyzed debris components. They analyzed the path and impact of Hurricane Katrina through cell sheets and spreadsheet applications. Participants now have a SMART Board, tablet PC, projector, digital camera, and TI-84 graphing calculator to keep for classroom instruction through funding from the U.S. and Mississippi Departments of Education. We will describe instructional strategies, curriculum materials, data analysis, and on-going interaction with the teachers through the school year.

Presented at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences

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"Yes, Virginia, There Are Numbers That Are Not Rational Numbers."
February 2007.

Myron Henry, Sherry Herron, Michelle Green, and Shauna Hedgepeth, University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39406.

The 2006 Southern Miss Summer Mathematics Institute [(SM)2 I] consisted of 24 middle school teachers. One session featured the set of real numbers and was introduced though a Thanksgiving B.C. cartoon by Johnny Hart. The cartoon had a B.C. ant next to a pumpkin with B = (22/7) inscribed on the pumpkin. The B.C. ant concluded, “A Pumpkin Pi!” About half of the teachers thought the equation was correct. The session continued with an analysis of terminating and repeating decimals. The session on the next day was entitled “Yes, Virginia, there are numbers that are not rational numbers.” Toward the end of the discussion on irrational numbers, one participant asked why “Yes, Virginia” to introduce the session. Fewer than half of the participants were aware of the 1897 editorial “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” by Francis P. Church that responded to Virginia O’ Hanlon’s question “Is there a Santa Claus.” The surprising (?) number of participants who thought B = (22/7) and who were unaware of the editorial prompted an (SM)2I staff member to pen a “Yes Virginia” parody on irrational numbers. This presentation highlights the mathematics “path” to this parody and the use of technology to foster learning mathematics concepts. The Institute was funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered through the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

Presented at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences

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"Teaching Bioinformatics: Strategies And Materials"
February 2007.

Herron, Jessica McNeil, Tasha Thames

Mississippi EPSCoR (NSF 05-589) funded the 3-day summer Bioinformatics Workshop for High School and College Instructors. Held at the Mississippi E Center, seventeen educators experienced curriculum materials developed through The Human Genome Project and units on human evolution from the DNA Dolan Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor. Computer-based, wet-lab, and modeling activities experienced during the workshop will be described; pre and post test results and evaluations will be presented. Current work focused on sickle cell curriculum materials will also be described.

Presented at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences

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