Luisa McHugh (pictured), an eighth-grade living environment teacher at William Floyd Middle School, recently co-authored an article published in the October 2018 edition of the Journal of Science Teacher Education. Titled “Professional Development for a Middle School Mathematics-Infused Science Curriculum,” it focuses on the importance of moving toward infusing mathematics into science instruction to strengthen science understanding and give students a competitive edge in a 21st-century global environment. This is McHugh’s fourth peer-reviewed research article and second in the past year.
The article details a large-scale study conducted in several New York State middle schools examining the impacts of a mathematics-infused science curriculum on students’ science attitudes and achievement in science classes. The data revealed positive student outcomes including the increased ability for students to understand mathematics-infused science concepts, higher confidence in graphing and greater agreement that mathematics is a valuable tool in learning science. The study concluded: “An infused curriculum is a worthwhile strategy to improve achievement in middle school science, as well as to potentially increase student confidence and agreement with the utility of an integrated science-mathematics approach to problem-solving.” Co-collaborators on this article include Angela M. Kelly, faculty at the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute for STEM Education at Stony Brook University, and M. David Burghardt, professor of engineering and co-director of the Center for Technological Literacy at Hofstra University. McHugh has been previously published in Science Scope, School Science and Mathematics and a second article in the Journal of Science Teacher Education. She has served as an eighth-grade living environment teacher at William Floyd Middle School for the past 12 years and is the advisor to the student council and the Science and Technology Club. She is a New York State Master Teacher, one of six from William Floyd out of just 93 in the Long Island region, as well as a William Floyd Distinguished Educator. McHugh earned her Bachelor of Science in biology, master’s degree in teaching and Ph.D. in science education at Stony Brook University; her thesis focused on an integrated STEM curriculum at the middle school level. For the last several years, McHugh has also worked at the NYS Department of Education helping guide the living environment Regents to reflect the newly adopted New York State standards in science.