What is Montana Models?

Montana Models is funded through the National Science Foudation's Advancing  Innovations in STEM Learning (AISL) program. We bring rural youth to Montana State University campus for an immersive summer camp focused on mathematics and mathematical modeling. Montana Models builds on existing partnerships between Montana State University, the University of Montana, and Montana 4-H to target outreach to Montana’s rural youth and bring them into a network of people who can inspire, support, and sustain STEM learning. 

Our Process

Our five-phase cycle  project cycle involves developing close partnerships with youth in communities statewide, spending time in those communities to learn more about how people go about solving everyday problems, and then working with youth to solve problems that are important to them. 

1. Statewide OUTREACH and recruitment of modeling teams, each consisting of 4-6 youth and a volunteer mentor.

2. Ethnographic FIELDWORK in participants’ communities to form partnerships and learn about community histories as well as current mathematical and statistical practices.

3. DEVELOPMENT of mathematical and statistical modeling tasks that are reflective of participants’ local contexts.

4. A 5-day, 4-night SUMMER CAMP on the campus of Montana State University, during which modeling teams and
volunteer mentors engage in hands-on modeling projects and learn about related STEM career paths from university faculty and local professionals.

5. ANALYSIS of data collected during phases 1-4 and REVISION to strategies for ethnographic fieldwork, investigations, and the summer camp model.

Broader Impacts

Participation in Montana Models helps all participants learn “to use and engage with mathematics in ways that meet the needs of that individual’s life as a constructive, concerned citizen” (OCED, 2009, p. 14). A strong focus on integrating local  practices gives all Montana Models participants opportunities to see the ways mathematics really can make a difference in the ways they solve problems that matter to them and to their communities.