Teachers

Teaching STEM with Robotics: Design, Development, and Testing of a Research-based Professional Development Program for Teachers

Using design-based research, with teachers as design partners, the project will create and refine project-based, hands-on robotics curricula such that science and math content inherent in robotics and related engineering design practices are learned. To provide teachers with effective models to capitalize on robotics for elucidating science and math concepts, a design-based Professional Development program will be built using principles of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK).

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417769
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 - Fri, 08/31/2018
Full Description: 

Offering meaningful and motivating engineering contexts, such as robotics, within science and math courses constitutes a compelling strategy to address the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards for Math while enhancing science and math learning for all students. Using design-based research, with teachers as design partners, the project will create and refine project-based, hands-on curricula such that science and math content inherent in robotics and related engineering design practices are learned. To provide teachers with effective models to capitalize on robotics for elucidating science and math concepts, a design-based Professional Development program will be built using principles of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK). To ensure that teachers are well prepared, research-based practices and features of effective Professional Development will be adopted. Experts in robotics, engineering, education, curriculum design, and assessment--with experience in K-12 education, training, and outreach--have formed an interdisciplinary team to make robotics central to and sustainable in middle school science and math classrooms.

The research questions addressed in this project are qualitative in nature as appropriate for design research questions. The methodologies include teacher needs assessment, teachers' perceptions of robotics, pre and post testing, classroom observations, and surveys. Examples of the research questions are:

What characteristics of robotics promote effective learning of middle school science and math?

What elements of Professional Development engender teachers' TPACK of robotics and link it with classroom science and math?

What are student prerequisites to effectively use robotics in science and math learning?

What are the gains in students' STEM engagement, interest, persistence, and career awareness?

The robotics curriculum will include physical science used in robot performance expectations and motion stability. Additionally the curriculum will include the engineering design process consisting of problem definition, solution development, and design improvement. Robotics provides opportunities to support science and engineering practices of the Next Generation Science Standards such as developing and using models, planning and conducting investigations, designing solutions, and analyzing and interpreting data. The project will be aimed at middle school students and will provide substantial teacher professional development to implement the new curriculum modules. The partner schools have student bodies drawn from a diverse student population in New York City.

Teaching STEM with Robotics: Design, Development, and Testing of a Research-based Professional Development Program for Teachers

DIMEs: Immersing Teachers and Students in Virtual Engineering Internships

This project will provide curricular and pedagogical support by developing and evaluating teacher-ready curricular Digital Internship Modules for Engineering (DIMEs). DIMES will be designed to support middle school science teachers in providing students with experiences that require students to use engineering design practices and science understanding to solve a real-world problem, thereby promoting a robust understanding of science and engineering, and motivating students to increased interest in science and engineering.

Award Number: 
1417939
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 - Fri, 08/31/2018
Full Description: 

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) outline the science competencies students should demonstrate through their K-12 years and represent a commitment to integrate engineering design into the structure of science education. However, achieving this new ideal of teaching and learning will require new curricular and pedagogical supports for teachers as well as new and time-efficient assessment methods. This project will provide such curricular and pedagogical support by developing and evaluating teacher-ready curricular Digital Internship Modules for Engineering (DIMEs). DIMES will be designed to support middle school science teachers in providing students with experiences that require students to use engineering design practices and science understanding to solve a real-world problem, thereby promoting a robust understanding of science and engineering, and motivating students to increased interest in science and engineering. The modules will also assess students' ability to apply their science knowledge in solving the engineering problem, thereby providing teachers with actionable data about the depth of their students' science and engineering understanding. The DIMEs will be environments where students work as interns at a simulated engineering firm.

The Digital Internship Modules for Engineering will provide immersive experiences that simultaneously serve as learning and assessment opportunities. DIMEs will assess not only whether students understand NGSS science and engineering concepts, but also whether they can use them in the context of real-world problem solving. Teachers will orchestrate DIMEs using a custom-designed teacher interface that will show student work, auto-generated assessments, and reports on each student's learning progress. This project will build on prior work on NSF-funded computer-based STEM learning environments called epistemic games. Epistemic games are computer role-playing games that have been successfully used in both undergraduate engineering courses and informal settings for K-12 populations to teach students to think like STEM professionals, thereby preparing them to solve 21st century problems. The project will create six ten-day activities, two each in Physical Science, Life Science and Earth Science units that are typically taught in middle school. An iterative research and design process is used to conduct pilot tests of the six DIMEs in local classrooms, field test a beta version of each DIME with 15 teachers and up to 1500 students in national classrooms, and then implement final versions of each DIME in research trials with 30 teachers and up to 3000 students in national classrooms. By bringing cutting-edge developments in learning science and undergraduate engineering education to middle school STEM education, the project aims to improve educational practice, and enhance assessment of learning outcomes in middle school science classroom settings.

DIMEs: Immersing Teachers and Students in Virtual Engineering Internships

Access, Agency, and Allies in Mathematical Systems (A3IMS)

This project involves designing, facilitating, and studying professional development (PD) to support equitable mathematics education. The PD will involve grades 4-8 mathematics teachers across three sites to support the design of a two-week institute focused on enhancing access and agency in relationship to important math practices, followed by ongoing interactions for the math teachers to engage in systematic inquiry of their practice over time to facilitate equitable mathematics teaching and learning in their classrooms.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417672
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 - Fri, 08/31/2018
Full Description: 

Given the role that mathematics plays as a gateway into STEM disciplines, addressing achievement gaps for underrepresented students is essential. By focusing on both equity and access, the project, funded in the Discovery Research K-12 program, seeks to improve students' opportunities to learn by focusing on helping middle grades teachers learn about and enact equitable mathematics instruction and encourage students to have agency in their own mathematics learning. The middle grades are a particularly important focus of the project, as this is a time in students' education when achievement gaps grow. The practice-based model of professional development focuses on creating systemic reforms through collaborative communities in which mathematics teacher educators, mathematics teachers, and students work together both to support the fair distribution of opportunities to learn and to empower each in their roles in supporting mathematics learning of all students. The project has promise for supporting students, teachers, and teacher educators who work with middle grades mathematics teachers with the potential to address mathematics achievement gaps of students via a focus on equitable mathematics teaching and learning.

This project involves designing, facilitating, and studying professional development (PD) to support equitable mathematics education. The PD will involve grades 4-8 mathematics teachers across three sites to support the design of a two-week institute focused on enhancing access and agency in relationship to important mathematical practices like argumentation and justification, followed by ongoing interactions for the mathematics teachers to engage in systematic inquiry of their practice over time to facilitate equitable mathematics teaching and learning in their classrooms. Field testing of the practice-based professional development in one urban district which will include research conducted on the nature of students', teachers', and teacher educators' opportunities to learn with respect to three features of an equitable mathematical system and from the perspective of three components of the system. The project studies the coherence and alignment of these components from the perspective of classroom mathematics teachers. The research addresses essential questions related to how to provide equitable opportunity to learn for students, teachers, and teacher educators. In particular it will generate models of PD, tools for assessing equity in mathematics teaching and learning, and a theory of equitable mathematics education systems that advances our understanding of the ways in which approaches to teaching, learning, and studying mathematics support equitable opportunities to learn.

 

Access, Agency, and Allies in Mathematical Systems (A3IMS)

A Conference on Progress and Factors that Contribute to Closing the STEM Achievement Gap

The objectives of this proposed conference are to: (1) review current research on the achievement gap in mathematics and science with a focus on school-related variables that adversely affect outcomes from low-income and minority students; (2) discuss teacher quality and effective teaching in STEM; (3) identify effective strategies and models that promote equity in education and close the STEM achievement gap; and (4) build collaborative, interdisciplinary partnerships for addressing the U.S. achievement gap in STEM.

Award Number: 
1406282
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 - Mon, 08/31/2015
Full Description: 

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) will host a conference with a special focus on closing the achievement gap through the preparation of effective science and mathematics educators and collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships. The book "Closing the Achievement Gap from an International Perspective: Transforming STEM for an Effective Education" will be used to highlight innovative interventions other countries have implemented to address the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) achievement gap. Co-authors of the book will be invited to participate in the conference along with scientists, teacher educators, and policy makers to discuss effective strategies for closing the STEM achievement gap. The strategies will inform the future direction of educator preparation in developing effective science and mathematics educators and improving PK-12 STEM education. The objectives of this proposed conference are to: (1) review current research on the achievement gap in mathematics and science with a focus on school-related variables that adversely affect outcomes from low-income and minority students; (2) discuss teacher quality and effective teaching in STEM; (3) identify effective strategies and models that promote equity in education and close the STEM achievement gap; and (4) build collaborative, interdisciplinary partnerships for addressing the U.S. achievement gap in STEM.

Conference participants will identify social and cultural barriers that contribute to persistent education inequities and achievement gaps in STEM and discuss effective education policies and innovative initiatives that select countries have applied to promote progress in narrowing STEM achievement gaps. During the conference, a panel discussion will take a systematic view of the subject, beginning with a cross-national analysis of teacher qualifications and the achievement gap that spans 50 countries with special interest in the United States, Canada, Mexico, England, Turkey, China, Japan, Brazil, Singapore, Korea, South Africa, and Australia. Through an examination of international models of system-changing initiatives that promote gains in STEM achievement for minority and low-income populations, conference panelists will explore lessons learned and effective strategies from other countries that are potentially transferable to the American education system.

A Conference on Progress and Factors that Contribute to Closing the STEM Achievement Gap

School and District Utilization of Mathematics Specialists Who Have Returned to the Classroom

This project will study whether elementary mathematics specialists who participated in an intensive educational program supported by DRK-12 have continued providing leadership when they returned to teaching full-time. In what ways are specialist-teachers continuing to use their leadership expertise in their school, district, and state? How do district administrators, building administrators, and teachers shape specialist-teachers' opportunities for leadership? What other factors shape these opportunities? What is the impact of specialist-teachers on their schools' leadership culture?

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1415585
Funding Period: 
Sat, 02/01/2014 - Sat, 01/31/2015
Full Description: 

Teacher specialists can play an important role in enhancing the content and pedagogical content knowledge of other teachers. Through NSF and other funding, a growing cadre of leaders are prepared to provide such support to other teachers. However, as districts face increasing budget constraints, administrators often reassign these specialists to full-time teaching responsibilities.

This project will study whether elementary mathematics specialists who participated in an intensive educational program supported by DRK-12 have continued providing leadership when they returned to teaching full-time. The research questions are: 1) In what ways are specialist-teachers continuing to use their leadership expertise in their school, district, and state? 2) How do district administrators, building administrators, and teachers shape specialist-teachers' opportunities for leadership? What other factors shape these opportunities? 3) What is the impact of specialist-teachers on their schools' leadership culture? Answers to these questions will help to ensure that substantial investments in leadership development continue to yield returns, even when the individuals trained are no longer in formal leadership positions.

School and District Utilization of Mathematics Specialists Who Have Returned to the Classroom

Using Research-Based Formative Assessment to Improve Mathematics Teaching and Learning

This project provides professional development and support for teachers of mathematics in Grades 3-5 and assesses the impacts of the project through a rigorous cluster randomized control trial. The project supports teachers to provide instruction that helps all students reach ambitious academic goals in mathematics.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316527
Funding Period: 
Wed, 01/01/2014 - Mon, 07/31/2017
Full Description: 

Using Research-Based Formative Assessment to Improve Mathematics Teaching and Learning builds on almost a decade of research and development by the Vermont Mathematics Partnership's Ongoing Assessment Project (OGAP). The project provides professional development and support for teachers of mathematics in Grades 3-5 and assesses the impacts of the project through a rigorous cluster randomized control trial. The project supports teachers to provide instruction that helps all students reach ambitious academic goals in mathematics by: 1) increasing teachers' knowledge of mathematics and of how students learn specific mathematics content, and 2) providing teachers with specific tools and routines for enacting formative assessment and adapting their instruction. The project has three integrated components: 1) professional development and ongoing support in 30 New York City public schools, 2) research on teachers' use of assessment evidence in instruction, and 3) research on student and teacher outcomes.

Helping students deeply understand mathematical concepts requires teachers to become skilled in formative assessment, particularly in the ongoing analysis of evidence in student work when making instructional decisions: moving beyond right and wrong answers into the more important questions of how students think and reason mathematically, where their misconceptions lie, and how they can be addressed instructionally. Yet research shows that teachers struggle with the analytic aspects of formative assessment, and little is known about how teachers use evidence from student work or thinking to improve their instruction. The project addresses both of these concerns by: 1) implementing a rigorous, research-driven approach to formative assessment in 30 schools; and, 2) studying the effects of the intervention in ways that clearly measure impact on teachers and students, including the link between how teachers interpret student work and how they respond instructionally. The creativity and originality of the project lie in its synthesis of a vast body of knowledge about mathematics teaching and learning into a clearly packaged and presented set of tools, routines, and strategies which are directly usable in practice and can dramatically improve the quality of mathematics instruction. The project is organized around the central goal of improving teachers' formative assessment practice, with the research design providing rigorous evidence of project impacts while simultaneously informing the field.

The project will be implemented in a highly diverse school district serving a large number of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in mathematics and the sciences. The formative assessment system developed through this project will ultimately be made available, through a website and multi-media booklets, to all teachers in New York City public schools and across the country. The OGAP formative assessment system will be tied to college and career readiness standards in mathematics rather than a particular curriculum-although it addresses the same content as the major mathematics curricula-which means the materials, knowledge, and strategies will be usable across settings.

Using Research-Based Formative Assessment to Improve Mathematics Teaching and Learning

Climate Change Narrative Game Education (CHANGE)

This exploratory project helps high school students learn complex Global Climate Change (GCC) science by making it personally relevant and understandable. CHANGE creates a prototype curriculum, and integrates it into elective Marine Sciences high school courses. Research will examine the project's impact on student learning of climate science, student attitude toward science, and teacher instruction of climate science.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316782
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/15/2013 - Wed, 08/31/2016
Full Description: 

This exploratory project helps high school students learn complex Global Climate Change (GCC) science by making it personally relevant and understandable. CHANGE creates a prototype curriculum, and integrates it into elective Marine Sciences high school courses. Research will examine the project's impact on student learning of climate science, student attitude toward science, and teacher instruction of climate science. The goal of this project is to develop a place-based futuristic gaming simulation model that can easily extend to the other locales in other states, based on local climate change effects, local stakeholders, local economic and social effects to motivate the high school students in that area. CHANGE uses: (a) scientifically realistic text narratives about future Florida residents (text stories with local Florida characters, many years in the future based on GCC), (b) local, place-based approach grounded in west-central Florida Gulf Coast using scientific data, (c) a focus on the built environment, (d) simulations & games based on scientific data to help students learn principles of GCC so students can experience and try to cope with the potential long term effect of GCC via role-play and science-based simulation, and (e) a web-based eBook narrative where sections of narrative text alternate with simulations/computer games. The proposed project will work with 25 high school Marine Science teachers in 25 schools in Hillsborough County, Florida. The project delivers new research for instructional technologists and serious game developers regarding effective interface and usability design of intermedia narrative gaming-simulations for education.

This project employs and researches innovative models for delivering high school GCC education. GCC is a complex topic involving numerous factors and uncertainties making teaching this extremely important topic very difficult. The pioneering techniques proposed for this project will advance science education of GCC. It also will deliver new research for instructional technologists and serious game developers regarding effective interface and usability design of intermedia narrative gaming-simulations for education. Effective education is probably the most crucial part in our ability to cope with climate change. CHANGE will educate underserved low SES and minority high school students in Hillsborough County, and later elsewhere, with a model making GCC personally relevant to them.

Climate Change Narrative Game Education (CHANGE)

Science as a Context for English Language Development: Exploring the Practical and Theoretical Implications for Teacher Professional Development

This is a 2-day conference that will examine current strategies, issues and future challenges related to teacher professional development regarding integrating inquiry-oriented science instruction and English Language Development (ELD) for K-5 students. The conference convenes 40 researchers and professional development practitioners who examine theory and practice in inquiry-based science instruction and ELD.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316537
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/01/2013 - Mon, 08/31/2015
Full Description: 

The Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry (IFI) has planned a 2-day conference that will examine current strategies, issues and future challenges related to teacher professional development regarding integrating inquiry-oriented science instruction and English Language Development (ELD) for K-5 students. The conference convenes 40 researchers and professional development practitioners who examine theory and practice in inquiry-based science instruction and ELD, focusing on three overall objectives:

1. Learn how inquiry-oriented science instruction can provide a good context for learning English and science.

2. Address the conceptual challenges and perspectives that inquiry-oriented science instruction and ELD present.

3. Articulate the issues that the challenges of inquiry science and ELD present to professional development programs that support teachers in adapting their knowledge and classroom practice to an integrated science/ELD approach.

The conference keynote, delivered by Guadalupe Valdés, addresses the language demands and opportunities that are introduced in the science and engineering practices described in the National Research Council?s Framework for K-12 Science Education and the NGSS. (The framework is based on a recent article co-authored by Valdés.) Participants include practitioners and researchers in science education, teacher education, professional development, language acquisition, and bilingual education. The conference will combine presentations providing overviews of current research and practice, combined with the use of case studies and working sessions to arrive at overall recommendations for directions for future research, professional development and practice.

Key conference outcomes include:

- A set of research questions.

- A set of principles and guidelines for professional development related to ELD and science.

- Articles submitted to journals and professional publications by conference organizers and participants that will disseminate conference ideas, as well as conference presentations.

- Partnerships developed between practitioners and researchers.

- Case studies published on the IFI website.

- Continuing dialogue via blogs, webinars, and the IFI website.

Conference outcomes will be disseminated through research and professional development journals, conference presentations, and the IFI website.

Science as a Context for English Language Development: Exploring the Practical and Theoretical Implications for Teacher Professional Development

Integrating Quality Talk Professional Development to Enhance Professional Vision and Leadership for STEM Teachers in High-Need Schools

This project expands and augments a currently-funded NSF Noyce Track II teacher recruitment and retention grant with Quality Talk (QT), an innovative, scalable teacher-facilitated discourse model. Over the course of four years, the work will address critical needs in physics and chemistry education in 10th through 12th grade classrooms by strengthening the capacity of participating teachers to design and implement lessons that support effective dialogic interactions.

Award Number: 
1316347
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/15/2013 - Fri, 06/30/2017
Full Description: 

This project expands and augments a currently-funded NSF Noyce Track II teacher recruitment and retention grant with Quality Talk (QT), an innovative, scalable teacher-facilitated discourse model. It is hypothesized that the QT model will enhance pre- and in-service secondary teachers' development of professional vision and leadership skills necessary for 21st century STEM education. Over the course of four years, the work will address critical needs in physics and chemistry education in 10th through 12th grade classrooms in five of Georgia's high-need school districts by strengthening the capacity of participating teachers to design and implement lessons that support effective dialogic interactions. As a result of such interactions, students' scientific literacy will be enhanced, including their ability to participate in content-rich discourse (i.e., QT) through effective disciplinary critical-analytic thinking and epistemic cognition. The contributions of this project, beyond the tangible benefits for teacher and student participants, include the development, refinement, and dissemination of an effective QT intervention and professional developmental framework that the entire science education community can use to promote scientific literacy and understanding.

The project goals are being achieved through a series of three studies employing complementary methods and data sources, and a focus upon dissemination of the model in the final project year. The first two years of the project focus on developing and refining the curricular and intervention efficacy materials using design-based research methods. In Year 3, the project engages in a quasi-experimental study of the refined QT model, followed by further refinements before disseminating the materials both within Georgia and throughout the national science education community in Year 4. Quantitative measures of teacher and student discourse and knowledge, as well as video-coding and qualitative investigations of intervention efficacy, are being analyzed using multiple methods. In collaboration with, but independent from project staff and stakeholders, the participatory and responsive evaluation utilizes a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to conduct formative and summative evaluation.

Over the course of four years, the project will involve the participation of approximately 32 teachers in Georgia whose students include substantive percentages from populations underrepresented in the STEM fields. In addition to advancing their own students' scientific literacy, these participating teachers receive professional development on how to train other teachers, outside of the project, in using QT to promote scientific literacy. Further, the project will conduct a QT Summit for educational stakeholders and non-participant teachers to disseminate the intervention and professional development model. Finally, the project team will disseminate the findings widely to applied and scholarly communities through a website with materials and PD information (http://www.qualitytalk.org), professional journals, conferences, and NSF's DRK-12 Resource Network. This project, with its focus on teacher leadership and the pedagogical content knowledge necessary to use discourse to promote student science literacy, significantly advances the nation's goals of producing critical consumers and producers of scientific knowledge.

Integrating Quality Talk Professional Development to Enhance Professional Vision and Leadership for STEM Teachers in High-Need Schools

Every Day, Every Child: A Partnership for Research with Elementary Math and Science Instructional Specialists

This exploratory project is studying the use of mathematics and science specialist teachers in elementary schools. The first four studies are in six school districts in Washington State. They are characterizing and categorizing the specialists, investigating the content knowledge, preparation and needs of these teachers, determining their instructional effectiveness, and determining their impact on student learning and attitudes towards mathematics and science.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1316520
Funding Period: 
Sun, 09/15/2013 - Mon, 02/29/2016
Full Description: 

This exploratory project is studying the use of mathematics and science specialist teachers in elementary schools. The first four studies are in six school districts in Washington State. They are characterizing and categorizing the specialists, investigating the content knowledge, preparation and needs of these teachers, determining their instructional effectiveness, and determining their impact on student learning and attitudes towards mathematics and science. The project is recruiting 25 specialists in math and 15 in science and comparing them with equal numbers of matched non-specialist teachers. The fifth study is conducting a survey of state educational agencies to determine the types of specialist teaching models being used and how they are funded. The project is directed by Western Washington University in partnership with the Mathematics Education Collaboration.

The project is creating interview protocols for teachers and administrators, and utilizing Learning Math for Teaching (University of Michigan) and Assessing Teacher Learning About Science Teaching (ATLAST-Horizon Research). Classroom observations are being conducted using the Reformed Teaching Observational Protocol (RTOP-Arizona State University). Student measures include the Washington State Measures of Student Progress in math and science, an instrument to be created using items released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Attitudes Towards Math Inventory, and the Modified Attitudes Towards Science Inventory.

Project research results are being disseminated in mathematics and science educational journals and conference presentations and are being posted on the project website. Findings are be shared with the Educational Service Districts in Washington State and other State agencies, as well as the National Educational Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

Every Day, Every Child: A Partnership for Research with Elementary Math and Science Instructional Specialists
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