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SimCalc Project

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Seth Meyers

SimCalc has pursued a mission of “democratizing access to the mathematics of change and variation”, which translates to introducing students in grades 6–12 to the powerful ideas underlying calculus while simultaneously enriching the mathematics already covered at those grade levels. SimCalc includes software-based interactives, print student materials and complete teacher notes.  Through the use of dynamically linked representations and carefully structured written materials, students learn to connect key concepts, such as rate, across algebraic expressions, graphs, tables, and simulations. The project results showed greater learning gains for students in classrooms implementing SimCalc, especially for more advanced mathematics concepts. The results were also robust in varied settings with diverse teachers and students. Across boys and girls, white and Hispanic populations, impoverished and middle-class schools, rural and suburban regions, and teachers with many different attitudes, beliefs, and levels of knowledge, students learned more when their teachers implemented SimCalc.

While maintain the same high standards achieved by the original SimCalc project, a subsequent initiative named Cornerstone Maths, funded by the Li Ka-Shing Foundation, has continued to expand the reach of SimCalc-based learning to over 175 schools serving over 350 teachers and 9,600 students across the United Kingdom. This expansion was possible in large part to the development of a proprietary web-based software delivery platform allowing both teachers and students simple and reliable access to the technology-based curricular activities.

Along with a new platform, content areas were increased to include algebraic expressions, geometric similarity, and ratio. Currently in the U.S., a 2-year Department of Education i3 Grant consisting of a randomized controlled trial of the SimCalc-based curriculum is being conducted in 30 schools across two Florida school districts, reaching approximately 400 teachers and 24,000 students.