Project SEED uses compelling involvement techniques and a research-based questioning strategy to teach advanced mathematics to entire classes of young students.
Involvement and Feedback Techniques
Techniques to create and maintain participation, focus and feedback have been a hallmark of Project SEED instruction throughout its 50-year history. They are one of the keys to its success. When implemented collectively and continually, they become a powerful tool for achieving student-centered classroom instruction.
Hand signals and other involvement techniques allow enthusiastic and vigorous whole class participation without inviting chaos. They also permit continual assessment of the comprehension level of each individual student and allow the instructor to adjust the lesson pace accordingly.
Habitual, systematic use of Project SEED’s Student Involvement and Feedback Techniques has been shown to significantly increase both focus and participation as illustrated by the observations of Professor Glenn Latham of Utah State University who was asked to evaluate Project SEED Classes by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Dr. Latham reported “unbelievably high rates of student-on-task behavior.” He also remarked on the constant flow of feedback between teacher and students.
Carefully sequenced questions are the heart of the Socratic group discovery method and enable students to understand extremely sophisticated material. They guide students to conceptual understanding of mathematical topics and create a sense of ownership, which improves retention. With continual questioning in the Socratic style, the specialist models for the students how to become effective learners. Students are encouraged to think for themselves and articulate their reasoning which turns them into active rather than passive participants in the learning process.
Dynamic chains of questions render complex ideas understandable. The specialists start with basic math concepts such as 2 x 2 x 2 and build to abstract and seemingly paradoxical ideas such as 2^0 = 1. Students begin to develop a framework for problem solving on their own.
Using this unique, highly effective, Socratic teaching methodology, Project SEED exposes elementary and middle school students to elements of advanced mathematics (Group Theory, Algebra, Calculus, Imaginary Numbers). Grade level standard math skills are embedded seamlessly into the daily lesson plans in a manner that doesn’t lessen the enthusiasm and excitement that the students bring to Project SEED classes. The classroom teacher and the Project SEED specialist cooperatively identify the grade level math topics to cover based on their assessment of student needs.