Prep: 10-15 mins | Activity: 15-30 mins

It has often been said that mathematics is the language of science. Consequently, science teachers also play the role of mathematics teacher. Using mathematics and logic is a Science Practice common to all Advanced Placement® science courses and the NGSS Dimension 1 Practices. Your student’s preconceived notion about their skills can be as large a stumbling block as the lack of skill mastery itself. This short activity helps students identify their applied mathematics fears, strengths, and weaknesses.

What mathematical skills and fears do students have when applying math to science content?

- Determine math skills and weaknesses.
- Determine attitudes toward applied math.

**PE HS-ESS1-4** Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system.

**Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking**

- Students will complete a skills and attitude self- assessment to inform teacher practice.

**DCI: Idea**

- Applies to data analysis in all core ideas.

**Scale, Proportion, and Quantity**

- Students will identify areas of strength and weakness in applied mathematics.

This activity has 42 cards—38 have quotes conveying attitudes about math and science, and 4 require a written response. Have students sort the cards into 2 piles: **agree** (this is me) and **disagree** (this is not me). Consider adding a **neutral** pile (this doesn’t apply to me at all).
After students have sorted the cards, have them compile and summarize the quotes, then describe their attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses. Use the information to tailor your instruction involving math concepts.

- Sort cards into piles:

Agree (this is me)

Disagree (this is not me) - Compile and summarize the quotes.
- Describe math attitudes, strengths, weaknesses, and preconceptions.

*You may also use a third category—neutral (this doesn’t apply to me at all).**Write categories on the board.**Discussion and journaling are ways students can reflect on the card sort results.**Ask students what help they need from you. Ask what type of math instruction works for them.**As a result, try grouping students with varying attitudes/ skills.**Copy and laminate the cards for use with multiple classes.*

*Student answers will vary.*

My attitude toward using math in science is:

My math strengths are:

My math weaknesses are: