Scale-Up

Confronting the Challenges of Climate Literacy (Collaborative Research: Ledley)

This project is developing inquiry-based, lab-focused, online Climate Change EarthLabs modules as a context for ongoing research into how high school students grasp change over time in the Earth System on multiple time scales. This project examines the challenges to high-school students' understanding of Earth's complex systems, operating over various temporal and spatial scales, and by developing research-based insights into effective educational tools and approaches that support learning about climate change and Earth Systems Science.

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
1019721
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/15/2010 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Susan Buhr
Full Description: 

This project is developing three inquiry-based, lab-focused, online Climate Change EarthLabs modules (focus is on the Cryosphere, Climate and Weather, and the Carbon Cycle) as a context for ongoing research into how high school students grasp change over time in the Earth System on multiple time scales. Climate literacy has emerged as an important domain of education. Yet it presents real challenges in cognition, perception, and pedagogy, especially in understanding Earth as a dynamic system operating at local to global spatial scales over multiple time scales. This research project confronts these issues by examining the challenges to high-school students' understanding of Earth's complex systems, operating over various temporal and spatial scales, and by developing research-based insights into effective educational tools and approaches that support learning about climate change and Earth Systems Science. The project is a collaborative effort among science educators at TERC, Mississippi State University, and The University of Texas at Austin.

The project uses a backward-design methodology to identify an integrated set of science learning goals and research questions to inform module development. Development and review of draft materials will be followed by a pilot implementation and then two rounds of teacher professional development, classroom implementation, and research in Texas and Mississippi. Research findings from the multiple rounds of implementation will allow an iterative process for refining the modules, the professional development materials, and the research program.

This project focuses on the design, development, and testing of innovative climate change curriculum materials and teacher professional development for Earth Systems science instruction. The materials will be tested in states with teachers in need of Earth Systems Science training and with significant numbers of low income and minority students who are likely to be hard hit by impending climate change. The research will shed light on the challenges of education for climate literacy.

Modeling Engineered Levers for the 21st Century Teaching of STEM (Collaborative Research: Schunn)

This project will develop three replacement units for biology and refine them through classroom testing. The units will be models of STEM integration by using the important concepts of proportional reasoning and algebraic thinking and engineering re-design to address big ideas in science while also promoting the learning of 21st century skills. The materials will be educative for teachers, and the teacher materials and professional development methods will work at scale and distance.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1027629
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2010 to Sun, 08/31/2014
Project Evaluator: 
Bill Bickel
Full Description: 

Research in biology has become increasingly mathematical, but high school courses in biology use little mathematics. To address this concern, this project will develop three replacement units for biology and refine them through classroom testing. The units will be models of STEM integration by using the important concepts of proportional reasoning and algebraic thinking and engineering re-design to address big ideas in science while also promoting the learning of 21st century skills. The materials build on existing work on the use of model eliciting activities and focus science and technology instruction on high-stakes weaknesses in mathematics and science. They address the scaling issue as part of the core design work by developing small units of curriculum that can be applied by early adopters in each context. The materials will undergo many rounds of testing and revision in the early design process with at least ten teachers each time. The materials will be educative for teachers, and the teacher materials and professional development methods will work at scale and distance.

Learning of science content will be measured through the use of existing instruments in wide use. Existing scales of task values, achievement goals and interest are used to measure student motivation. The work performed is guided by a content team; a scaling materials team; a scaling research team; the PI team of a cognitive scientist, a robotics educator, and a mathematics educator specializing in educational reform at scale; and the summative evaluation team lead by an external evaluator.

There is great interest in understanding whether integrated STEM education can interest more students in STEM disciplines. The focus on mathematics integrated with engineering in the context of a science topic is interesting and novel and could contribute to our understanding of integrating mathematics, engineering and science. The development team includes a cognitive scientist, a mathematics educator, teachers and scientists. The issues and challenges of interdisciplinary instruction will be investigated.

Project AIM: All Included in Mathematics

This project will adapt and study successful discourse strategies used during language arts instruction to help teachers promote mathematically-rich classroom discourse. Of special interest is the use of models to promote mathematics communication that includes English language learners (ELL) in mathematics discourse.The project will result in a full 40-hour professional development module to support mathematics discourse for Grade 2 teachers, with an emphasis on place value, multidigit addition and subtraction, and linear measurement.

Award Number: 
1020177
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2010 to Fri, 07/31/2015
Project Evaluator: 
Judy Storeygard, TERC
Full Description: 

Developers and researchers at North Carolina State University and Horizon Research, Inc. are adapting and studying successful discourse strategies used during language arts instruction to help teachers promote mathematically-rich classroom discourse. Of special interest to the project is the use of models to promote mathematics communication that includes English language learners (ELL) in mathematics discourse.

The project is conceived as a design experiment that includes successive instructional engineering cycles in which the R&D team designs professional learning tasks, implements the tasks with teachers, and revises the tasks and their sequencing to better support the desired learning outcomes. The members of the project team then examine the effects of the PD on teachers' instruction and the possibilities for scaling up the materials across PD facilitators, grade levels, and curriculum materials. The overarching research questions guiding the research and development effort proposed in this project are: How do generalist elementary teachers learn to promote high quality mathematics discourse that includes all students in their classrooms and engages those students in meaningful mathematics learning opportunities? How do we scale up an intervention designed to support elementary teacher learning of ways to promote high quality mathematics discourse in their classrooms?

The project will result in a full 40-hour professional development module to support mathematics discourse for Grade 2 teachers, with an emphasis on place value, multidigit addition and subtraction, and linear measurement. The main professional learning tasks of the program will have been piloted and studied in a series of sessions with mathematics coaches and teachers.

Efficacy Study of Project-Based Inquiry Science

This research and development project examines the impact of the Project-Based Inquiry Science (PBIS) middle school science curriculum. The research questions explored will look into efficacy, implementation, and teacher practice. A unique feature of the study’s design is an analytic focus on the conditions needed to implement the curriculum in ways that improve student learning in light of the Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Award Number: 
1020407
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/15/2010 to Fri, 07/31/2015
Full Description: 

This research and development project studies the impact of Project-Based Inquiry Science (PBIS) on 6th grade students in a large urban school district. PBIS is a comprehensive, 3-year middle school science curriculum that focuses on standards-based science content and that uses project-based inquiry science units to help students learn. NSF funded the development of PBIS over the past two decades, with major investments made in the design of materials and with associated teacher professional development designed to help teachers understand the content of the units and how to teach them. Prior small-scale studies of PBIS have shown positive impact on student achievement and motivation, and on teacher use of reform-based instruction. The research questions explored are:

1. Efficacy. What is the impact of PBIS on student learning? To what extent do students in PBIS perform better than non-PBIS students on measures of learning?
2. Enactment and teacher practice. What is the impact of the curriculum on teaching quality? What is the fidelity of classroom implementation? How does the depth and level of implementation relate to student outcomes?

The study involves both quantitative and qualitative methods; the use of an experimental design allows estimates of causal impacts when combining professional development with the curriculum materials. This is a randomized control trial to test the efficacy of PBIS in 42 middle schools and with ˜120 teachers (21 schools and ˜60 teachers per condition), and affecting approximately 8,500 6th grade students. The dependent variables for students include results on state-level achievement tests and measures of their ability to develop and use models and construct explanations in the context of the curriculum units. Mediational analysis measures the association between contextual factors such as fidelity of implementation and quality of the professional development experience and student learning, allowing a deeper understanding of results.

This work is critical to the ongoing effort to support standards-based curriculum reform in science. PBIS has enjoyed some success in urban settings with diverse groups of students, including those from historically underrepresented groups in science, and now moves to larger scale. This curriculum is among a small number of science curriculum initiatives that are at a stage in the research and development cycle where implementation efforts are focused on scaling to a broader range of schools and districts. The curriculum units are based on design principles drawn from theory and research on how students learn and are aligned with learning goals found in state and national standards. Moreover, its design reflects where the science education field is headed – teaching a few big ideas and integrating scientific practices. Project outcomes will provide evidence about the effects of a published and available inquiry-based science curriculum.

Achievements and Challenges of Modeling-based Instruction (ACMI) in Science Education: from 1980 to 2009

This project will synthesize existing literature on modeling-based instruction (MBI) in K-12 science education over the last three decades. It will rigorously code and examine the literature to conceptualize the landscape of the theoretical frameworks of MBI approaches, identify the effective design features of modeling-based learning environments with an emphasis on technology-enhanced ones, and identify the most effective MBI practices that are associated with successful student learning through a meta-analysis.

Award Number: 
1019866
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/15/2010 to Sat, 06/30/2012
Full Description: 

The University of Georgia will carry out a two-year Synthesis Project that aims to provide a comprehensive review of the research and practices for modeling-based instruction (MBI) in K-12 science education. The project will synthesize existing literature on MBI in K-12 science education over the last three decades. It will rigorously code and examine the literature to conceptualize the landscape of the theoretical frameworks of MBI approaches, identify the effective design features of modeling-based learning environments with an emphasis on technology-enhanced ones, and identify the most effective MBI practices that are associated with successful student learning through a meta-analysis.

The project will build a systematic and analytic framework to conceptualize MBI, recommend best design strategies of technology-based modeling environments, evaluate MBI teacher professional development strategies associated with improved student learning, and propose appropriate assessment strategies created to evaluate and inform MBI. In addition to the comprehensive analysis of the theory and design of MBI, a meta-analysis will study the four components of student learning: theory, design, implementation, and assessment. Based on qualified quantitative studies, an examination of the four components will be made to evaluate how different empirical studies have established their effectiveness, examine the correlations among key components, and chart the impact of associated factors on student learning.

Data Games: Tools and Materials for Learning Data Modeling (Collaborative Research: Finzer)

The Data Games project has developed software and curriculum materials in which data generated by students playing computer games form the raw material for mathematics classroom activities. Students play a short video game, analyze the game data, develop improved strategies, and test their strategies in another round of the game.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918735
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
James Hammerman
Full Description: 

Students playing computer games generate large quantities of rich, interesting, highly variable data that mostly evaporate when the game ends. What if in a classroom setting, data from games students played remained accessible to them for analysis? In software and curriculum materials developed by the Data Games project at UMass Amherst and KCP Technologies, data generated by students playing computer games form the raw material for mathematics classroom activities. Students play a short video game, analyze the game data, develop improved strategies, and try their strategies in another round of the game.

 

The video games are embedded in an online data analysis learning environment that is based on desktop software tools Fathom® Dynamic Data and Tinkerplots® Dynamic Data Exploration, widely used in grades 5–8 and 8–14 respectively. The game data appear in graphs and tables in real time, allowing several cycles of strategy improvement in a short time. The games are designed so that these cycles improve understanding of specific data modeling and/or mathematics concepts.

 

The research strand of the Data Games project focuses on students’ creation of data representations that model a real-world context. Findings from this research have been incorporated into the design of the data structures in the software.

Scaling Up Mathematics Achievement (SUMA)

This project aims to (1) investigate whether or not it is possible to successfully scale-up and adapt the Capacity Building Systems Model used in the Gadsden Mathematics Initiative and improve mathematics achievement for all students in a larger school district, and (2) replicate success in broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in entering STEM field by closing the achievement gap and raising the achievement level of underrepresented students in mathematics.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733690
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2007 to Tue, 08/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
Cori Groth and Cheryl Harris

Enhanced Earth System Teaching Through Regional and Local (ReaL) Earth Inquiry

The ReaL Earth Inquiry project empowers teachers to employ real-world local and regional Earth system science in the classroom. Earth systems science teachers need the pedagogic background, the content, and the support that enables them to engage students in asking real questions about their own communities. The project is developing online "Teacher-Friendly Guides" (resources), professional development involving fieldwork, and inquiry-focused approaches using "virtual fieldwork experiences."  

Award Number: 
0733303
Funding Period: 
Wed, 08/15/2007 to Sat, 07/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
BridgeWater Education Consulting LLC
Full Description: 

This recruitment and informational video provides an overview of the ReaL Earth Inquiry Project. 

Mathematics Instruction Using Decision Science and Engineering Tools

A collaboration among educators, engineers, and mathematicians in three universities, this project is creating, implementing, and evaluating a one-year curriculum for teaching a non-calculus, fourth-year high school mathematics course and accompanied assessment instruments. The curriculum will draw on decision-making tools that include but go well beyond linear programming, to enhance student mathematical competence (particularly solving multi-step problems), improve students' attitudes toward mathematics, and promote states' adoption of the curriculum (initially NC and MI).

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
0733137
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/15/2007 to Tue, 08/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
Dr. Shlomo S. Sawilowsky
Full Description: 

Mathematics INstruction using Decision Science and Engineering Tools (MINDSET) is a collaboration among educators, engineers, and mathematicians at three universities to create, implement, and evaluate a new curriculum and textbook to teach standard mathematics concepts using math-based decision-making tools for a non-calculus fourth-year mathematics curriculum that several states now require and others may require in the near future. MINDSET has three goals: (1) enhancement of students’ mathematical ability, especially their ability to formulate and solve multi-step problems and interpret results; (2) improvement in students’ attitude toward mathematics, especially those from underrepresented groups, thereby motivating them to study mathematics; and (3) adoption of the curriculum initially in North Carolina and Michigan, then in other states.

Using decision-making tools from Operations Research and Industrial Engineering, we will develop a fourthyear high school curriculum in mathematics and support materials to teach standard content. Through a multi-state, multi-school district assessment, we will determine if a statistically significant improvement in students’ mathematical ability—particularly in multi-step problem solving and interpretation of results—and in motivation and attitude toward mathematics has occurred. Participating teachers will receive professional training, help to create a knowledge-based online community for support, and in-person and online technical assistance. Through extensive data collection and analysis, we will determine if this infrastructure is sustainable and sufficiently flexible to be reproduced and used by others.

Learning Progressions for Scientific Inquiry: A Model Implementation in the Context of Energy

The project has had three major areas of focus:  (1) Offering professional development to help elementary and 6th grade teachers become more responsive teachers, attending and responding to their students' ideas and reasoning; (2)  Developing web-based resources (both curriculum and case studies) to promote responsive teaching in science; and (3) research how both teachers and students progress in their ability to engage in science inquiry. 

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0732233
Funding Period: 
Tue, 01/01/2008 to Mon, 12/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Lawrence Hall of Science

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