Elementary School

Supporting Teacher Understanding of Emergent Computational Thinking in Early Elementary Students

This project explores how to help teachers identify and support early elementary children’s emergent computational thinking. The project will engage researchers, professional development providers, and early elementary teachers (K-2) in a collaborative research and development process to design a scalable professional development experience for grade K-2 teachers.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101547
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sat, 08/31/2024
Full Description: 

There is an increasing focus and interest in teaching computer science and computational thinking in early elementary school. The project will engage researchers, professional development providers, and early elementary teachers (K-2) in a collaborative research and development process to design a scalable professional development experience for grade K-2 teachers. The project will field test and conduct research on the artifacts, facilitation strategies, and modes of interaction that effectively prepare K-2 teachers to learn about their students’ emergent use of computational thinking strategies. The teachers will collaborate using an online platform for sharing resources, and the project will also study how the online platform can help to reach and support more teachers. The teachers’ learning will be supported by instructional coaches who will help the teachers to integrate computer science into their teaching, and to interpret evidence of their students’ understanding of computational thinking.

The project explores how to help teachers identify and support early elementary children’s emergent computational thinking. The professional learning model for teachers includes a community of practice supported by an online platform and a coach with expertise in computational thinking. The work leverages models for professional development in early grades mathematics. The project focuses on creating systems and conditions for scalable professional learning including coherence, coaching, teacher networks, and engagement with school and district leadership. The research questions are: (1) What kind of professional development and guidance do teachers need to identify and support emergent computational thinking development in young students’ language and work process? (2) What kind of professional development and guidance do teachers need to identify emergent computational thinking development in young students’ work products? (3) How can a scalable professional learning system help teachers understand the development of emergent computational thinking in K-2 students? The teachers will develop lessons, use them with students, and reflect about their work with the coach and the other teachers in their community of practice. The data collection and analysis include interviews, surveys, observations, and documentation from the online platform to understand teachers’ professional learning and development.

Validation of the Equity and Access Rubrics for Mathematics Instruction (VEAR-MI)

Principal Investigator: 

This poster describes the work of the Validation of the Equity and Access Rubrics for Mathematics Instruction (VEAR-MI) project, which aims to address the growing need to develop empirically grounded ways of assessing the extent to which the practices that are being outlined in research literature actually serve to support students who are currently underserved and underrepresented in mathematics.

Co-PI(s): Annie Garrison Wilhelm, Southern Methodist University; Temple Walkowiak, North Carolina State University

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The Developmental Emergence and Consequences of Spatial and Math Gender Stereotypes

Principal Investigator: 

Attitudes and beliefs about math and space have been found to be predictive of STEM participation and achievement, with females generally reporting lower math and spatial self-concept and higher anxieties related to these domains (e.g., Sokolowski et al., 2019). However, little work to date has explored the acquisition of these attitudes and beliefs, particularly related to the domain of space. This is important, because comparing the acquisition of math and spatial attitudes and beliefs may shed light on potential interventions for improving STEM outcomes.

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Target Audience: 

Sensing Science through Modeling: Developing Kindergarten Students' Understanding of Matter and Its Changes

Principal Investigator: 

The Sensing Science through Modeling Matter: Kindergarten Students’ Development of Understanding of Matter and Its Changes project has developed and researched a technology-enriched curriculum to support learning about matter and its changes at the kindergarten level. Traditionally, particle-based worlds are introduced in upper elementary school when children already hold incorrect ideas that are difficult to change. Early learners have significant—and highly untapped—potential for understanding abstract concepts and reasoning in sophisticated ways.

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Target Audience: 

Case Studies of a Suite of Next Generation Science Instructional, Assessment, and Professional Development Materials in Diverse Middle School Settings

Principal Investigator: 

Our learning approach, eco-solutioning, emphasizes learning 3D environmental content through the construction of solutions that have an impact with and on the local environment. Project goals include the design, implementation, and evaluation of a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) curricular unit delivered through Gooru’s Learning Navigator data backbone system where middle school student learning is used towards local environmental solutions such as increasing local populations of native insects.

Co-PI(s): Michelle Newstadt, Gooru.org

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Target Audience: 

Extending and Investigating the Impact of the High School Model-based Educational Resource (Collaborative Research: Passmore and Wilson)

Principal Investigator: 

We are collaborating on a project to examine the efficacy of high school biology instructional materials that support teachers' understanding and practice of model-based reasoning as an approach to support students in developing an integrated, multidimensional understanding of science. This poster summarizes our efforts to develop assessment tasks that measure students' ability to use model-based reasoning to make sense of biological phenomena and describes our use of crowdsourced adults to pilot test the tasks.

Co-PI(s): Molly Stuhlsatz, BSCS Science Learning

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Getting Unstuck: Designing and Evaluating Teacher Resources to Support Conceptual and Creative Fluency with Programming

Principal Investigator: 

We are studying how an online professional learning experience for K-12 computer science teachers can be adapted for use in the classroom. Our goal is to increase teachers' conceptual and creative fluency with the Scratch programming environment. In collaboration with several teachers, we further refined our online professional learning experience for summer 2020. We have also been collaboratively developing and studying educative curriculum materials that promote both teacher and student learning and development.

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Target Audience: 

Preparing Next Generation Scientists Through Teacher and Extension Science Partnerships and Schoolyard Citizen Science Investigations in Elementary Schools

Principal Investigator: 

Research shows a need for professional development (PD) that builds K-5 teachers' ability to incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science practices into the classroom and supports their implementation of reform-minded science instruction. The Schoolyard SITES research study and PD program at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) partners elementary teachers with UNH Extension science volunteers to bring locally-relevant citizen science projects to elementary students and to increase teachers’ self-efficacy teaching science.

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Measuring Early Mathematical Reasoning Skills: Developing Tests of Numeric Relational Reasoning and Spatial Reasoning

Principal Investigator: 

The MMaRS project is designing classroom assessment resources of numeric relational reasoning and spatial reasoning for students in grades K-2. During the pandemic, SMU researchers worked virtually with teachers and K-2 students to develop resources that are responsive to their needs and accurately elicit their reasoning. This poster will highlight the virtual data collection methods and techniques, including think aloud video interviews with students and prototype co-design work sessions with teachers.

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Exploratory Evidence on the Factors that Relate to Elementary School Science Learning Gains Among English Language Learners

Principal Investigator: 

This study provides evidence on the confluence of school, classroom, teacher, and student inputs that shape elementary school science learning for English learners. The study explores the relationship between (1) science inputs (time on science, content covered, availability of lab resources, teacher training in science instruction, etc.), and (2) EL-specific inputs (classroom language use, EL instructional models, teacher certification/training, availability of EL support staff, etc.) for a nationally representative set of kindergarten through fifth graders.

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Target Audience: 

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