Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2022

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Michael Coquyt


Problem-Based Learning, Mathematics, Critical Thinking, Peer Relationships, Collaboration


Education is a field that is constantly in motion. It is changing and adapting as educators and researchers try new concepts or ideas. One shift is implementing mathematics curriculum's that focus on problem-based learning. Throughout researching problem-based learning, there was a theme of its impacts on 21st-century skills that students possessed. Therefore, these research questions were created: How does problem-based learning in mathematics impact the critical thinking skills of middle school students? What is the impact of increased opportunities for critical thinking on students' collaboration with each other? Learners in an 8th-grade Algebra 1 class took a Likert survey at the beginning of the study, and then they proceeded to work through a three-week mathematics unit created around problem-based learning. Students took the same survey at the end of the unit. The results of the survey were compared. The researcher also completed a journal to document informal observations of critical thinking and collaboration in the classroom. The survey showed an increase in learners' viewpoints on their critical thinking skills. Learners went from not actively processing a concept to pausing and analyzing a situation and topic, then collaborating with those around them to preserve through the challenge.



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