Building on the current NSF-supported middle- and high-school project, "Teacher Enhancement through Chaos and Fractals," this three-year teacher leadership and professional development materials project has a focus on the exploration and discovery of patterns through fractal geometry for the middle grades, and an expansion in the project's current geographic reach to seven urban and rural counties of south Florida: Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade, Hendry, Martin, Monroe, and Palm Beach. The project targets approximately 300 middle school teachers of mathematics and science in two phases. Phase one, which covers the first year, provides for an initial regional cadre of 54 lead teachers, who participate in writing and development seminars, teacher enhancement in the subject area, and leadership development. Phase two, which covers years two and three, provides for the enhancement of an additional 120 teachers of middle-school mathematics and science each year. The project has a goal of preparing teams of teachers from each middle- school in the participating districts. The lead teachers who are prepared in phase one assist in the enhancement, coaching, and mentoring of the phase two teachers.
Core activities of the project include: (1) spring writing and development seminars, where -- with the project's leadership team -- lead teachers write, re-write, and test the workshop materials that provide the basis for the workshop design and lesson plans in the following summer; (2) three-week summer institutes, with both large and small group sessions and a teaching camp with middle-grades students; (3) weekend follow-up sessions; and (4) small group mentoring throughout the following school year.
Over the four years of the Teacher Enhancement through Chaos and Fractals project, its leadership team and lead teachers produced a series of CATEs (Curriculum and Textbook Enhancements) on chaos and fractals, which underwent several stages of writing, testing, and rewriting in dedicated writing seminars at Florida Atlantic University in the springs of 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998. These CATEs -- available in six units -- form the base for an initial writing seminar in the spring of 1999 aimed at the generation of adapted CATEs for middle school teachers.