Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

MS in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education

First Supervisor

Diane Barrett


This research studied motivating student learning in the middle school classroom. It followed a group of middle school students through three mini-mathematics units in attempt to determine which instructional strategies would best motivate the hardest to reach students. One unit was lecture based, one was an individual project and one was a problem based cooperative learning unit. The research measured student motivation in terms of time on task, homework completion, overall grades, student behavior and student comments that were made. The research concluded that over a short period of time, instruction that allows for risk taking, creativity, collaboration, real-life application and presents an appropriate level of difficulty best motivates middle school students. In the future, this should be tested over a longer duration of time in order to determine whether or not these students will carry the motivation with them outside of the classroom and into their own personal lives.