This project promotes teacher "learning in practice" to bring out and build on the cognitive strengths of their students for science learning in the classroom. Understanding the broader contexts of their student’s lives will enable teachers to make teaching more effective and relevant for their students. Teachers and researchers collaborate to develop theories of action, document and disseminate practices that support teacher learning, and design a model for sustainable, school-wide improvement of science education.
This project investigated the potential opportunities and challenges for educators to incorporate explorations of a variety of large data sets into science, math and, to a lesser extent, social science classes at the secondary level.
TERC researchers are collaborating with STEM educators, curriculum/software developers, scientists, social scientists, and statisticians to explore:
- how large scientific and social scientific data sets could provide a vehicle for secondary students to learn about statistical ideas
- how developing an understanding of statistics could contribute to learning about the science and social science content
- the characteristics of curricular supports and software tools that could promote rigorous engagement with statistical ideas among secondary students
The project builds on the increasing availability of a variety of large data sets, and on students’ inherent interest in data sets related to “hot” topics such as the environment and climate change, the human genome, economic justice issues, space exploration, and medical research.
Through reviewing literature and discussing ideas with advisors and colleagues, the project developed several hypotheses about potential affordances for students in working with large data sets. In the final year of the project, we tested several of these hypotheses by developing activities and using interviews and observations of secondary students engaging with these activities to gather evidence of their potential, analyzing and writing about these interviews, presenting this work at conferences, and submitting a paper about this work to a peer-reviewed journal.
This project focuses on critical needs in the preparation and long-term development of pre-service, undergraduate, K-6 teachers of science. The project investigates the impact on these students of undergraduate, standards-based, reform entry level science courses developed by faculty based on their participation in the NASA Opportunities for Visionary Academics processional development program to identify: short-term impacts on undergraduate students and long-term effects on graduated teachers; characteristics of reform courses and characteristics of effective development efforts.
The Undergraduate Science Course Reform Serving Pre-service Teachers: Evaluation of a Faculty Professional Development Model project is informally known as the National Study of Education in Undergraduate Science (NSEUS). This 5-year project focuses on critical needs in the preparation and long-term development of pre-service, undergraduate, K-6 teachers of science. The goal is to investigate the impact on these students of undergraduate, standards-based, reform entry-level science courses developed by faculty in the NASA Opportunities for Visionary Academics (NOVA) professional development model. Twenty reform and 20 comparison undergraduate science courses from a national population of 101 diverse institutions participating in NOVA, stratified by institutional type, were be selected and compared in a professional development impact design model. Data is being collected in extended on-site visits using multiple quantitative and qualitative instruments and analyzed using comparative and relational studies at multiple points in the impact design model. Criteria for success of the project will be determined by conclusions drawn from the research questions; including evidence and effect sizes of short-term impacts on undergraduate students and long-term effects on graduated in-service teachers in their own classroom science teaching; identification of characteristics of undergraduate reformed courses that produce significant impacts; identification of characteristics of effective faculty, and effective dissemination.
Project Publications and Presentations:
Lardy, Corrine; Mason, Cheryl; Mojgan, Matloob-Haghanikar; Sunal, Cynthia Szymanski; Sunal, Dennis Wayne; Sundberg, Cheryl & Zollman, Dean (2009). How Are We Reforming Teaching in Undergraduate Science Courses? Journal of College Science Teaching, v. 39 (2), 12-14.
Through integration of research and education, this project is providing high resolution data on the spatial distribution of the thermal state of permafrost in Alaska, improving the general knowledge of Earth's climatic patterns, bringing science to remote Alaskan villages, and providing an opportunity for younger generations to take part in understanding Earth's climatic and hydrologic systems.
The mayor of Birmingham is making a two year loan of XO laptops to middle school students in the Birmingham City Schools in Alabama. The educational and social changes that will occur in classrooms and the effects on several student outcomes are studied in this Small Grant for Exploratory Research. It is expected that access to technology will change the educational and social environment in classrooms and affect student outcomes.
This project employs sensing technologies to help transform students' physical actions during play into a set of symbolic (computer) representations in a physics simulation and to engage the children in a developmentally appropriate and powerful form of scientific modeling. The students are in grades K–1 at UCLA's elementary school, and the intervention is based on the existing content unit on Force and Motion.
This project establishes a Center to conduct research and education on the interactions of nanomaterials with living systems and with the abiotic environment. The research combines high throughput screening assays with computational and physiological modeling to predict impacts at higher levels of biological organization. It will unite the fields of engineering, chemistry, physics, materials science, cell biology, ecology, toxicology, computer modeling, and risk assessment to establish the foundations of a new scientific discipline: environmental nanotoxicology.
This project convenes a conference to develop a cadre of African American science education faculty to research issues surrounding the teaching and learning of science. This cadre of faculty will develop a research agenda, submit grant proposals for funding, and submit manuscripts for publication. The overall goal of this project is to improve K-12 teaching and learning by faculty development of the research scholarship of African American science educators in the United States.
This conference uses Student Evaluation Standards, published by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation, to engage a broad array of educational organizations in improving student achievement in STEM education through better evaluation practices that assess for learning. Participants learn more about the Student Evaluation Standards and use them together with a benchmarking process - distributed to them in the form of a toolkit - to enhance student evaluation processes.
This project is creating five video-case modules for use in professional development of middle school mathematics teachers. The materials are designed to develop teachers' understanding of mathematics knowledge for teaching similarity. In total, 18-24 video cases will be produced, which, taken together, form the curriculum of a 45- to 60-hour professional development course.