This project is developing and implementing a rigorous eighth grade physical science program that utilizes engineering design, LEGO™ robotics and mechanics, and a problem-based learning approach to teach mechanics, waves, and energy.
SLIDER is a 5 year $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Discovery Research K-12 (DR-K12) program. During the grant period (10/1/09 -9/30/14), the SLIDER program will seek to answer the question: "What effects do robotics, engineering design, and problem-based inquiry science have on student learning and academic engagement in 8th grade physical science classes?"
Georgia Tech faculty and staff from a number of academic units (CEISMC, CETL, Math, Psychology, Biomedical Engineering & Computing) and a national-level advisory board.
Teachers, principals and school system administrators representing Fulton County Schools, Cobb County Schools and Emanuel County Schools and the Georgia Department of Education.
Richard Millman PI
Marion Usselman Co - PI
Donna Llewellyn Co-PI for Research
- Design and implement a problem-based robotics curriculum as a context for 8th graders to learn physics and reasoning skills, and as a way to increase student engagement, motivation, aptitude, creativity and STEM interest.
- Conduct research to determine the effectiveness of the program across all curriculum development parameters.
- Determine how students engage the material across ethnic, socio- cultural, gender and geographic (rural, urban, and suburban) lines.
- Measure the “staying power” of the experience as students move from middle to high school.
Using “backwards design” strategies, the SLIDER curriculum development team at CEISMC will create inquiry-based engineering design instructional materials for 8th grade Physical Science that use robotics as the learning tool and that are aligned with the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). The materials will employ problem-based challenges that require students to design, program, investigate, and reflect, and then revise their product or solution. They will consist of three 4-6 week modules that cover the physics concepts of Mechanics (force, motion, simple machines), Waves (light, sound, magnetism, electricity, heat), and Energy. CEISMC will also design the teacher professional development necessary for effective implementation of the curriculum.