Colin G. Dunkeld

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)



Physical Description

1 online resource (129 pages)


Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Elementary)




The sixth grade teachers at Mooberry School in Hillsboro, Oregon were not pleased with the way they were teaching math. The students, grouped by ability, had a poor self-concept about math and felt “locked into” one class.

During the summer of 1973, these teachers considered ways to change their math instruction. Reading was done to determine the most promising practice in math education in the United States. A successful approach to learning appeared to be individualized instruction, as is discussed in this paper. Many different individualized programs were studied, grouped into eleven general categories, and described in detail. The Mooberry sixth grade teachers adopted none of these programs, but instead developed a rotating system of math instruction.

The teachers prepared for this rotating system by developing a sequence of math skills, to span the sixth graders through the year. Each teacher was responsible for individualizing instruction in two or three units of the sequence. The writer developed units in division, plotting coordinates on a grid, graphing and geometry.

This rotating system of math instruction is individualized in that the students work at their own pace through the sequence of skills. The students move from concept to concept, and thus from teacher to teacher, gaining competence in as much of the cycle as they can master during the school year.

The writer has described her approach to the units she covers in the cycle. The textbook has been eliminated and task cards have been developed. Student booklets, answer books, a grade book and a report card have been designed. A typical math class and steps of the cycle are described in the paper.

The program has been used during the 1973-74 and 1974-75 school years. The teachers looked for evidence of success to indicate whether to continue their program in the same manner. Informal notes were kept on the work habits, skills and attitudes of the students. A formal questionnaire was given to the student by the Educational Development Center at the end of the 1973-74 school year. The students indicated, through multiple choice questions, that they felt positive towards math instruction, that they deserved and were capable of good grades in math, and that they rated math as their favorite class. A narrative questionnaire was given to the writer's homeroom at the end of the 1974-75 school year. Those students wrote positive comments about the math system and again indicated how pleased they felt about their math abilities. Metro math test scores for 1974-75, by the Metropolitan Area Program Board, give the reader a background on the type of student in the Mooberry attendance area. These students were above regional and national norms. The principal of the school, Mr. Ron Stewart, wrote his evaluation of the program, which is included in the paper.

Questions have been raised about the program and have been listed for the reader. The teachers who developed the program hope, as more questions are raised and answered, that the rotating math program can change to meet the needs of the students, school and community.

The sixth grade teachers at Mooberry School feel pleased that they were able to develop a rotating system of math instruction for their students. Both the informal and formal data indicate that the program is enjoyable for the students, helps students develop self-confidence in math education and helps the students gain competence in math skills and concepts.

Persistent Identifier