Date of Award

Summer 2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Secondary Mathematics Education

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. David Glassmeyer

Second Advisor

Dr. Kadian Callahan

Third Advisor

Dr. Kimberly Cortes


Integrated Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) education provides students with opportunities to solve integrated real-world problems. Integrated STEM instruction aims to develop 21st-century skills in students and promote interest in STEM subjects through authentic real-world tasks. Student perceptions can help educators and administrators to understand the benefits and constraints of integrated STEM instruction. This qualitative case study was designed to understand student perceptions of integrated STEM instruction and student perceptions of the value or applications of mathematics. The situated STEM learning and social constructivism theoretical frameworks guided the design of the lessons and methods of the study. High school geometry students engaged in three integrated STEM lessons within a unit where the STEM subjects of volume (geometry) and cells (biology) were integrated through context integration. Geometry was the primary learning goal of the instruction and biology was used as a pedagogical tool to help students understand applications of mathematics. To understand student perspectives, three types of data were collected in the study: individual student pre/post interviews (n=7), anonymous written reflections (n=44) and a recorded group discussion (n=44). Findings revealed students enjoyed and benefited from the integrated STEM instruction. Students perceived the integrated STEM instruction to provide better visuals of the mathematics content from the inclusion of technology and scientific inquiry labs in the lessons. Students shared that the integrated STEM lessons were interactive and collaborative; however, some students shared their opinions of preferring to work alone. Additionally, the integrated STEM lessons influenced almost all students to find mathematics more valuable and applicable. Educators should include integrated STEM instructional design into lessons for STEM subjects providing opportunities for students to engage in mathematical thinking and scientific inquiry.