• Project Quantum Leap

  • Project Quantum Leap is an innovative effort by the Department of Mathematics, Engineering and Computer Science of LaGuardia Community College to address the needs of our students. It reflects the department's and the College’s commitment to solving the challenges of basic skills education in mathematics. With funding from the U.S Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education (FIPSE) and assistance from the LaGuardia Center for Teaching and Learning, mathematics faculty have made a sustained, collective effort to explore new approaches to teaching mathematics and re-thinking their classroom pedagogies. Working together in the PQL Seminar, they design, plan, test and discuss new classroom strategies. The Project Quantum Leap Sampler is a representation of and reflection on their initial classroom experiments. With this publication, we celebrate the accomplishment of a team of thoughtful, risk-taking teachers and a department dedicated to innovation and creativity.

    In an effort to improve student learning outcomes in developmental mathematics, LaGuardia faculty have studied a successful mathematics and science teaching approach developed by a national project funded by the National Science Foundation. This award-winning project, Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER), has demonstrated the effectiveness of teaching mathematics in compelling contexts. Linking the study of mathematics to complex, capacious, and unsolved public issues, SENCER courses make mathematics more meaningful and engaging for students.

    Project Quantum Leap (PQL) adapts the SENCER approach to meet the needs of a new setting and population: community college students taking developmental math. Studying the SENCER approach and drawing on their own knowledge, LaGuardia’s math faculty have developed problems and projects that integrate contextual themes in four math courses:

    Introduction to Algebra – Energy and the Environment: Global Challenge (MAT095)
    Elementary Algebra – Problems and Issues in Public Health (MAT096)
    College Algebra – Trigonometry - Business and Finance (MAT115)
    Elementary Statistics I – Energy and the Environment: Global Challenge (MAT120)

    For the past few years, LaGuardia faculty have worked together to design lessons and courses that use mathematics to solve problems in these areas, and to test them with LaGuardia students.