The effect of hands-on interdisciplinary mathematics activities on mathematics achievement and attitudes: a study of at-risk students detained in a Juvenile Justice Facility
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A variety of instructional strategies is necessary to ensure that all learning styles are considered in an effective classroom environment. This study investigated whether or not hands-on activities incorporated into the mathematics curriculum results in significant improvement in attitude towards and achievement in mathematics for students detained in a Juvenile Justice Facility. The sample, consisting of 50 male students aged 13 to 18, completed a Basic Achievement Skills Inventory (BASI) test and the Test of Mathematics-Related Attitudes (TOMRA) survey. Pretest and posttest scores were compared to determine whether or not there was a statistically significant improvement in attitude and achievement as a result of incorporating these hands-on activities.This study is unique in two ways. Firstly, it provides current educational data on strategies used with students in the only level 6 facility in South Florida in the Department of Juvenile Justice. Secondly, the study provides examples of successful strategies used in a multi-grade level mathematics classroom. The study revealed that the BASI and TOMRA were valid and reliable instruments for assessing student classroom achievement in and attitudes towards mathematics, respectively.The contributions and significance of this study are that it provides data to support the importance of integrating hands-on activities into the curriculum for at-risk students that are detained in a Juvenile Justice Facility. National and international comparisons of at-risk students can be made for male teenaged youths. This study is useful because it could be replicated to consider female at-risk students detained in a Juvenile Justice Facility.
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