2020 Conference Papers, Posters, and Presentations

This is a collection of papers, posters, and presentations that were created for 2020 STEM education conferences that were cancelled this year due to COVID-19.

  • Knowledge in Use: Examining Elementary Teachers’ Content Knowledge for Teaching (CKT) about Matter using Scenario-Based Assessment

    Slides | This study explores how teachers across the United States answer and reason on “teacher assessment tasks” designed to elicit content knowledge for teaching (CKT) about matter and its interactions. It leverages a think aloud approach, where participants were asked to reason about different assessment items that described teaching scenarios related to elementary science instruction about topics such as properties of matter, changes in matter, the particulate model of matter, and conservation of matter. Specifically, this study investigates: (1) To what extent do the participants use the intended knowledge and reasoning when responding to items designed to assess their CKT about matter and its interactions? and (2) When participants struggle to respond accurately to these items, what were their reasons for doing so? In particular, we were interested in examining the patterns in the nature of the knowledge they fail to leverage when responding to these CKT matter items. These presentation slides were prepared for the 2020 Annual International NARST Conference.
    Grade Level(s): Undergraduate, Graduate
    Discipline(s): Science, Assessment
  • A Study of the Impact of an Early Childhood Intervention on STEM Learning

    Slides | The context for this study was an intervention that provided professional development (PD) for preschool (pre-K) and kindergarten (K) teachers and science engagement activities for families. The research sought to determine the impact of the intervention and the extent to which parent engagement adds to student learning. These presentation slides were prepared for the 2020 Annual International NARST Conference.
    Grade Level(s): Pre-K, Elementary
    Discipline(s): Measurement, Science, Professional Development
  • Building Statistical Thinking with Social Justice Investigations and Social Science Data

    Poster | This poster provides an overview of the Strengthening Data Literacy across the Curriculum (SDLC) project, which is developing and studying curriculum modules for non-AP high school statistics classes to promote interest and skills in statistical thinking and data science among diverse high school populations. This early-stage design and development project aims to engage students with data investigations that focus on issues of social justice, using large-scale socioeconomic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and student-friendly online data visualization tools. Primary social justice topics are income inequality and immigration in the U.S. This poster was created for the SREE Spring 2020 Conference.
    Grade Level(s): High
    Discipline(s): Mathematics, Statistics
  • Designing Educative Curriculum Materials for Teacher Educators: Supporting Elementary Teachers' Content Knowledge for Teaching about Matter

    Poster | Building on the work of Ball and Cohen and that of Davis and Krajcik, as well as more recent research related to K12 teacher learning from and about curriculum materials, we seek to answer the question, How can educative curriculum materials be developed to support teacher educators in acquiring the knowledge needed for teaching science teachers? We present a set of theoretically and empirically based design principles and conceptual examples of ways in which educative curriculum materials might be used to support teacher educators in developing the knowledge needed for teaching elementary pre-service teachers. Specifically, we focus on helping teacher educators develop prospective teachers’ content knowledge for teaching about the structure and properties of matter.We follow these examples with consideration of unanswered questions related to the use of educative curriculum materials by teacher educators. This poster was prepared for the 2020 Annual International NARST Conference.
    Grade Level(s): Undergraduate, Graduate
    Discipline(s): Science, Assessment
  • Elementary Pre-service Teachers' Perceptions of Assessment Tasks to Measure Content Knowledge for Teaching about Matter

    Poster | This study explores how 79 elementary pre-service teachers evaluate the importance and pertinence of assessment tasks, designed to elicit information about content knowledge for teaching (CKT) about matter—a foundational topic for physical science. Drawing on a cognitive perspective and using think-aloud procedures, we had the participants answer different assessment items that described teaching scenarios related to elementary science instruction for topics such as properties of matter, changes in matter, the model of matter, and conservation of matter. We aimed to explore (1) how familiar pre-service teachers felt these task scenarios were in regards to their (pre-service) teaching experience and (2) how important they considered these task scenarios for the work of elementary teachers. This poster was prepared for the 2020 Annual International NARST Conference.
    Grade Level(s): Undergraduate, Graduate
    Discipline(s): Science, Assessment
  • From Science Student to Conceptual Agent: Examining the Individual Shifts in Engagement During Scaffolded Instruction

    Paper | In this paper we describe a qualitative study in which we examine individual student engagement during implementation of an instructional scaffold for critical evaluation of scientific models during Earth and space science lessons. We coded dialogic interactions of one student group in a sixth grade science classroom across three observations, wherein we analyzed the trajectory of engagement for a single student - Ray (a pseudonym), within the co-constructed learning of the group. The first of these observations involved implementation of a preconstructed scaffold, called the Model-Evidence Link (MEL) diagram, on the topic of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). With the MEL, students use evidence to compare a scientific model to an alternative model. In the second two observations, students used a more agentic variation of the activity called the build-a-MEL, to study the topics of fossils and freshwater resources respectively. After three observations, we transcribed and coded each interaction of students in the group. We then categorized and identified emerging patterns of Ray’s discourse and interactions with group members by using both a priori engagement codes and open coding. This paper was prepared for the 2020 AERA Annual Meeting. 
    Grade Level(s): Middle, High
    Discipline(s): Science
  • How Do Balance Scales Shape K–2 Students' Understandings of Equations?

    Poster | This poster shares data from a Grades K–2 cross sectional study that examined how students' thinking about equations and the meaning of the equal sign were shaped by their experiences exploring equations with pan balances and number balances. The study found that these tools afforded students opportunities to reconsider their initial interpretations of equations, connect the idea of a balancing scale to a balancing equation, and notice structure in equations. In addition, these tools helped reveal student difficulties with the ways in which they interpreted equations and the meaning of the equal sign. This poster was created for the SREE Spring 2020 Conference.
    Grade Level(s): Elementary
    Discipline(s): Mathematics
  • Science Strategy Interventions

    Paper | Strategies and strategic processing within science education are designed to help students learn not only what scientists have come to understand about the world but also how they learn it. Although many domain-general strategies can be implemented in science classrooms, some strategies are either specific to science or are encouraged within science. Historically, concept development and conceptual change approaches and empirical investigations dominated science’s strategies and strategic processing. More recently, argumentation, science as modeling, and the incorporation of socio-scientific topics dominate the strategies and strategic processing within science teaching and learning. Challenges to more widespread use of these approaches include lack of teacher experience and pedagogical knowledge around the strategies, as well as time and curricular limitations. Teacher education and professional development programs should seek to explicitly implement contemporary science strategy interventions to improve upon their use in K-12 classrooms and other learning environments. Doing so effectively will require well-researched and validated instructional scaffolds to facilitate the teaching and use of contemporary science learning strategies. This paper was prepared for the 2020 AERA Annual Meeting.
    Grade Level(s): Elementary, Middle, High, Undergraduate, Graduate
    Discipline(s): Science
  • Students’ Plausibility Shifts & Knowledge Gains When Evaluating Competing Models about Freshwater Resource Availability

    Slides | Critique and evaluation are considered essential to deeper science learning. Furthermore, critical evaluation may influence plausibility judgments about explanations through re-appraisal. We developed the YIS-activity (blinded for peer review) to activate students’ epistemic judgments (i.e., plausibility) about competing models explaining scientific phenomena and to further their learning about Earth science topics. This study seeks to answer the question, “How are the plausibility shifts and knowledge gains of students impacted by the evaluation of multiple explanatory models for the future availability of freshwater resources?” Participants (N=76) completed a YIS-activity about freshwater resources, including pre and post-instruction knowledge surveys and plausibility ratings. Paired-samples t-tests determined that the students showed significant knowledge gains [t(75)=4.46, p<.001, d=0.51]. Initial analysis of the omnibus plausibility shifts was not significant, however particular knowledge item score differences caused us to re-evaluate the plausibility relationships between the three presented models. Two models each showed significant differences with the third model, [t(75)=2.66, p<.001, d=0.30] and [t(75)=2.94, p=.004, d=0.33] respectively. These two models also did not have a significant plausibility shift between themselves. While students accomplished significant learning in the YIS-activity, this finding emphasizes the difficulty that students have when evaluating multiple scientific explanatory models. This presentation was prepared for the 2020 Annual International NARST Conference.
    Grade Level(s): Middle, High
    Discipline(s): Science