Curriculum Innovations

LACTE supported the design or revision of over 25 ongoing hands-on and student-focused courses and modules for science and mathematics classes that enroll future teachers. Over 50 other courses were indirectly affected, by changing the viewpoint and the teaching tools of their instructors, either through LACTE curriculum development mini-grants  for another one of their classes, or through LACTE faculty development activities.  Below we have five examples of courses and modules developed with LACTE assistance.

LACTE courses follow the recommendations for more effective math and science education set forth in NSF’s Shaping the Future and the National Academy’s From Analysis to Action.  This means the courses are hands-on and minds-on, student-focused rather than faculty-focused, they utilize a variety of instructional approaches, are outcome oriented, teach students the skills necessary to succeed in the course and the discipline, and employ assessment appropriate to the teaching approaches and the course goals.

LACTE Curriculum Reform Philosophy

LACTE Curriculum Committee Resources

Project Personnel Institution
Biotechnology Transforms Our World Mary Colavito Santa Monica College
Elementary Mathematics Education Michael McDonald Occidental College
Introductory Statistics -- TI-83 Activities Emily Puckette Occidental College
Senior Seminar in Mathematics Education: A course for mathematics majors planning to become mathematics teachers John Wilkins California State University, Dominguez Hills
Workshop Course in
Mathematics: A
Two-Semester Sequence
for Freshman
Mathematics Majors

Jacqueline Dewar

Suzanne Larson

Thomas M. Zachariah

Loyola Marymount University

Other LACTE Courses and Modules

In California, because there is no education major, there generally are not specific science or math courses for prospective teachers.  Pre-service teachers are in the discipline majors, so LACTE focused most of its curricular reform in the standard discipline courses.  Thus all students in those courses, pre-service teachers and others,  receive the benefits of LACTE’s curricular innovation.  LACTE has supported new or revised classes at every one of its campuses, and across the spectrum of science and math.  A significant number of LACTE courses are at community colleges, because such a large portion of California State University students (over 60%) begin their educational careers at community colleges.  LACTE classes reach students from the level of basic mathematics preparation, to the mainstream in introductory biology or calculus courses, to the culminating experience of their undergraduate education in capstone courses.  LACTE courses are also incorporated into some of the new accelerated 4-year credential programs. And some of the newest LACTE courses are targeted at in-service emergency permit teachers. 

In the early years, LACTE provided mini-grants (from $1000-$6000) to support revising or designing new courses.  Later in the project, LACTE shifted its support to production of products.  These products include both course manuals, and accompanying Instructor’s manuals, to provide the direction needed to teach the course the way the designer intended.  This means the Instructor’s manuals discuss not just the hows, but the whys of the different educational and assessment approaches of the course.  There are now course manuals for eight LACTE courses or modules, instructors manuals for three of these, and “How-to” Manuals for various LACTE projects and activities, such as the annual Future Teachers Conference and the Meet the Teachers Roundtable. Having such manuals enables others to adopt this work.