Explore over 300 DR K-12 projects that are transforming STEM education through their innovative research and development. 

Project titlesort iconOrganizationPI first namePI last nameAward date

International Polar Year (IPY) STEM Polar Connections

Morton Sternheim, University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst)
This curriculum development and professional development program includes residential summer institutes with academic-year online communication for in-service teachers involved in professional development of their colleagues. During each summer institute, teachers will be introduced to sets of STEM Polar Connections Modules that will emphasize the process of scientific inquiry and will explore a variety of proven techniques for effective teaching, including inquiry-based teaching, cooperative learning, and methods for formative assessment of student learning.

International Polar Year Symposia and Web Seminars at NSTA Conferences on Science Education: Collaboration between NSF, NOAA, and NASA

Albert Byers, National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
This project is NSF's contribution to an interagency effort with NASA and NOAA to focus three symposia at the National Science Teachers Association annual meeting, not on particular agency efforts, but specifically on International Polar Year science through three themes: ice, life, and water and air. NSTA focuses on promoting innovation and excellence in science teaching and learning as well as the professional development of teachers to teach science.

International Workshop on Mathematics and Science Education: Common Priorities that Promote Collaborative Research

Diane Miller, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU)
The goal of this workshop is to advance the construction of new knowledge through international cooperation with Chinese counterparts in the teaching and learning of math and science at the elementary level in four areas: curriculum design and assessment; teacher preparation and professional development; effective use of the former; and reaching gifted and underserved populations. Approximately 120 people will attend, including 50 senior U.S. researchers, 25 early career researchers, 15 graduate students and 5 undergraduates.

Introducing Dynamic Number as a Transformative Technology for Number and Early Algebra

Daniel Scher, KCP Technologies, Inc.
This project operationalizes research in number, operation, and early algebra. It builds on the paradigm of Dynamic Geometry (the interactive and continuous manipulation of geometric shapes and constructions) with a new technological paradigm, Dynamic Number, centered on the direct manipulation of numerical representations and constructions. Using The Geometer’s Sketchpad as a starting point, KCP Technologies is developing new software tools to deepen students’ conceptions of number and early algebra in grades 2–8.

Investigating and Supporting the Development of Ambitious and Equitable Mathematics Instruction at Scale

Paul Cobb, Vanderbilt University
This project is supporting and investigating the implementation of reformed mathematics instruction at the middle school level in two large school districts. The primary goal of the project is to develop an empirically grounded theory of action for implementing reform at school and district levels. The researchers are investigating reform within a coherent system that focuses on leadership and school-based professional development. 

Investigating Equitable Discourse Practices in Mathematics Classrooms

Jeffrey Choppin, University of Rochester (U of R)
This Discovery Research K-12 Conference project brought together 30 key scholars and practitioners in the areas of discourse and equity to synthesize and disseminate research findings concerning the implementation of culturally relevant teaching approaches that promote equitable discourse practices in mathematics classroom. The conference convened in Rochester, NY, in June 2008. Conference outcomes include publications that synthesize and disseminate best practices in relation to equitable discourses and a research agenda that further supports teachers' efforts.

Investigating How to Enhance Scientific Argumentation through Automated Feedback in the Context of Two High School Earth Science Curriculum Units

Ou Liu, Educational Testing Service (ETS)
This project responds to the need for technology-enhanced assessments that promote the critical practice of scientific argumentation--making and explaining a claim from evidence about a scientific question and critically evaluating sources of uncertainty in the claim. It will investigate how to enhance this practice through automated scoring and immediate feedback in the context of two high school curriculum units--climate change and fresh-water availability--in schools with diverse student populations. 

Investigating Simulations of Teaching Practice: Assessing Readiness to Teach Elementary Mathematics

Timothy Boerst, University of Michigan (UM)
The PI of this project argues cogently that assessment of pre-service teacher preparedness to teach is based on a flawed model. The goal then is to use a simulation model from other professional arenas: the training of doctors, nurses, etc., to offer new insights and control for the many variables that come to play when conducting evaluations in practice.

Investigating the Effect of Professional Development, Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching, and Instruction on Student Outcomes

Heather Hill, Harvard University
To meet College and Career-Ready standards in mathematics, classroom instruction must change dramatically.  As in past reform efforts, many look to professional development as a major force to propel this transformation, yet not enough is known about mathematics professional development programs that operate at scale in the United States. In this project, we evaluated one such program.

Investigating the Impact of Math Teachers' Circles on Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching and Classroom Practice

Brian Conrey, American Institute of Mathematics (AIM)
This project is connecting mathematicians and mathematics teachers in middle schools by offering summer workshops and continued communication throughout the year. The workshops focus on mathematical problem solving and include activities that offer multiple entry points. The goal of the workshops is to increase teachers' knowledge of mathematics for teaching and to help teachers use their knowledge to improve student learning of mathematics.

Investigating the Meaningfulness of Preservice Programs Across the Continuum of Teaching (IMPPACT) in Science Education

John Tillotson, Syracuse University (SU)
This project investigates the longitudinal impact of science teacher education programs on middle and secondary science teachers and their students across critical developmental stages of the teacher professional continuum. The research generates information on how individuals develop pedagogical and content knowledge in science throughout their preservice program and professional careers, and how their needs evolve. The study is identifying the linkages between science teachers' beliefs and practices and how they impact student achievement scores.

Investigating the Needs of Elementary School Teachers of Mathematics at Different Points During Sustained Professional Development

Randolph Philipp, San Diego State University (SDSU)
This project seeks to map a trajectory for the evolution of elementary school mathematics teachers engaged in sustained professional development. The goal of the project is to identify and understand the evolution of elementary school mathematics teachers' changing perspectives and needs as they participate in professional development. Drawing from a pool of more than 500 teachers, the sample includes 120 elementary school mathematics teachers engaged in sustained professional development for different lengths of time.

Investigating the Relationship Between Teacher-Level and Student-Level Factors and NAEP Mathematics Test Performance by American Indian and Alaska Native Students

Sharon Nelson-Barber, Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL)
This study examines ways that teacher-level factors (including teacher background variables and instructional practices) and student-level factors (such as self-rated mathematics interest and proficiency), and interactions among these factors, are associated with American Indian/Alaska native (AI/AN) student academic achievement in middle grades mathematics. The ultimate goal is to identify malleable factors that, if changed, could improve teachers' practices and AI/AN student achievement in mathematics.

Investigations in Cyber-enabled Education (ICE)

Kathy Berry Bertram, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)
Investigations in Cyber-enabled Education (ICE) strives to provide a professional development design framework for enhancing teacher ability to provide science, technology, and math (STM) instruction for secondary students. Exploratory research will clarify ICE framework constructs and gather empirical evidence to form the basis of anticipated further research into the question: Under what circumstances can cyber-enabled collaboration between STM scientists and educators enhance teacher ability to provide STM education?

iSTEM: A Multi-State Longitudinal Study of the Effectiveness of Inclusive STEM High Schools

Barbara Means, SRI International
This is a quasi-experimental study of the effects of attending an inclusive STEM high school in three key geographic regions and comparing outcomes for students in these schools with those of their counterparts attending other types of schools in the same states. The study's focus is on the extent to which inclusive STEM high schools contribute to improved academic outcomes, interests in...

ITEAMS Longitudinal Study

Philip Sadler, Harvard University
The objective of this study is to examine the impact of ITEAMS intervention strategies on student persistence in high school STEM course-taking and career expectations, and the value that students place on STEM careers.

Iterative Model Building (IMB): A Program for Training Quality Teachers and Measuring Teacher Quality

Enrique Galindo, Indiana University (IU)
This project aims to improve professional development programs for pre-service teachers (PSTs) as a way to improve student learning in mathematics and science. PSTs engage in a series of teaching cycles, and then engage in lesson study groups to develop, teach, and analyze a whole-class lesson. The cycle is completed by reexamining students' knowledge in teaching experiments with pairs of students. These teaching cycles are called Iterative Model Building (IMB).

Knowledge Assets to Support the Science Instruction of Elementary Teachers (ASSET)

Sean Smith, Horizon Research, Inc.
This project will address two obstacles that hinder elementary science instruction: (1) a lack of content-specific teaching knowledge (e.g., research on effective topic-specific instructional strategies); and (2) the knowledge that does exist is often not organized for use by teachers in their lesson planning and instruction. The project will collect existing empirical literature for two science topics and synthesize it with an often-overlooked resource -- practice-based knowledge. 

Knowledge Synthesis on STEM Teachers in Professional Learning Communities

Kathleen Fulton, National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF)
This project is evaluating existing knowledge about STEM teachers in professional learning communities (PLCs), both prospective teachers and classroom teachers across grades K-12. It will comprehensively synthesize peer-reviewed research but will also examine additional types of knowledge that influence the field. The project methods adapt those of Knowledge Management and Dissemination project, funded by NSF MSP and seeks to further advance the scope and rigor of knowledge synthesis.

Laboratory for the Study of Extra Solar Planets: Fostering Data Literacy

Roy Gould, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
This project provides a virtual environment in which high school physics students can engage in the cutting edge science of studying exoplanets. Using online telescopes and learning software, students gain a deeper understanding of science inquiry, including reasoning from models, gathering assessing, and interpreting authentic data, and drawing conclusions from multiple line of evidence. The research advances our understanding of ways to increase students' knowledge of data literacy.

Language-Rich Inquiry Science with English Language Learners (LISELL)

Cory Buxton, University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. (UGARF)
This exploratory study develops and pilot-tests a model for improving science teaching and learning with middle school ELLs. Study goals include: (1) clarifying pedagogical constructs of language-rich science inquiry and the academic language of science and their relationships across the learning contexts of middle school science classrooms, teacher professional development and family science workshops, (2) developing and refining instruments to study these constructs in context, and (3) conducting pilot tests of the model and instruments.

Language-Rich Inquiry Science with English Language Learners Through Biotechnology (LISELL-B)

Cory Buxton, University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. (UGARF)
This is a large-scale, cross-sectional, and longitudinal study aimed at understanding and supporting the teaching of science and engineering practices and academic language development of middle and high school students (grades 7-10) with a special emphasis on English language learners (ELLs) and a focus on biotechnology.

Learning about Ecosystems Science and Complex Causality through Experimentation in a Virtual World

Tina Grotzer, Harvard University
This project will develop a modified virtual world and accompanying curriculum for middle school students to help them learn to more deeply understand ecosystems patterns and the strengths and limitations of experimentation in ecosystems science. The project will build upon a computer world called EcoMUVE, a Multi-User Virtual Environment or MUVE, and will develop ways for students to conduct experiments within the virtual world and to see the results of those experiments.

Learning Algebra and Methods for Proving (LAMP)

David Yopp, University of Idaho (UI)
This project tests and refines a hypothetical learning trajectory and corresponding assessments, based on the collective work of 50 years of research in mathematics education and psychology, for improving students' ability to reason, prove, and argue mathematically in the context of algebra. The study produces an evidence-based learning trajectory and appropriate instruments for assessing it.

Learning and Sharing the World Best Practices in Math Education: The U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction

Ana Ferreras, National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
To prepare the country's youth more broadly for a globalized world, the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction (USNCMI) will engage with the international community and assist in improving the state of mathematics education in the country by implementing international education programs, participating in international benchmarking activities, and working closely with other countries and multilateral organizations. 

Learning and Teaching Geometry: VideoCases for Mathematics Professional Development

Nanette Seago, WestEd
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.

Learning Assistant Model of Teacher Education in Science and Technology

Valerie Otero, University of Colorado Boulder
This project is testing the effectiveness of the 'Learning Assistant Model' for recruiting, preparing, and retaining STEM K-12 teachers by developing a suite of survey instruments that can be used by researchers interested in testing the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs, course transformations, or conceptual or pedagogical knowledge. It focuses on teacher certification programs,K-12 contexts and students' experiences in STEM departments and the role of STEM research faculty in preparing future teachers.

Learning Evolution through Human and Non-Human Case Studies

Briana Pobiner, Smithsonian Institution
This project will develop and test two curriculum units on the topic of evolution for high school general biology courses, with one unit focusing primarily on human case studies to teach evolution and one unit focusing primarily on case studies of evolution in other species. The two units will be compared to examine how different approaches to teaching evolution affect students and teachers.

Learning in Practice: New Possibilities for Teacher Professional Education in Science

Ann Rosebery, TERC, Inc.
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.

Learning Labs: Using Videos, Exemplary STEM Instruction and Online Teacher Collaboration to Enhance K-2 Mathematics and Science Practice and Classroom Discourse

Erika Nielsen Andrew, Teaching Channel
This project will develop and study two sets of instructional materials for K-2 teacher professional development in mathematics and science that are aligned with the CCSS and NGSS. Teachers will be able to review the materials online, watch video of exemplary teaching practice, and then upload their own examples and students' work to be critiqued by other teachers enrolled in professional learning communities as well as expert coaches.

Learning Linkages: Integrating Data Streams of Multiple Modalities and Timescales (Collaborative Research: Sherin)

Bruce Sherin, Northwestern University (NU)
In this project, researchers will collaborate to enhance understanding of influences on learning, and improve teaching and learning in high school and middle school STEM classes. They will leverage the latest tools for data processing and many different streams of data that can be collected in technology-rich classrooms to (1) identify classroom factors that affect learning and (2) explore how to use that data to automatically track development of students' understanding and capabilities over time.

Learning Mathematics of the City in the City

Laurie Rubel, Brooklyn College, CUNY
This project is developing teaching modules that engage high school students in learning and using mathematics. Using geo-spatial technologies, students explore their city with the purpose of collecting data they bring back to the formal classroom and use as part of their mathematics lessons. This place-based orientation helps students connect their everyday and school mathematical thinking. Researchers are investigating the impact of place-based learning on students' attitudes, beliefs, and self-concepts about mathematics in urban schools.

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

Fred Goldberg, San Diego State University (SDSU)
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. 

Learning Science as Inquiry with the Urban Advantage: Formal-Informal Collaborations to Increase Science Literacy and Student Learning

Jim Short, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Michigan State University (MSU)
This project hypothesizes that learners must have access to the real work of scientists if they are to learn both about the nature of science and to do inquiry themselves. It explores the question "How can informal science education institutions best design resources to support teachers, school administrators, and families in the teaching and learning of students to conduct scientific investigations and better understand the nature of science?"

Learning to RECAST Students' Causal Assumptions in Science Through Interactive Multimedia Professional Development Tools

Tina Grotzer, Harvard University
This project produced and is testing a website with tools to help teachers identify when students’ science learning may be limited by how they construe the underlying causal structure of the concepts. It demonstrates students’ difficulties and a pedagogical approach to help them recast their explanations to align them with the causal structure in the scientifically accepted explanations. The site focuses on middle school with in-depth examples in density...

Learning Trajectories in Grades K-2 Children's Understanding of Algebraic Relationships

Maria Blanton, TERC, Inc.
This project will use classroom-based research to teach children about important algebraic concepts and to carefully explore how children come to understand these concepts. The primary goal is to identify levels of sophistication in children's thinking as it develops through instruction. Understanding how children's thinking develops will provide a critical foundation for designing curricula, developing content standards, and informing educational policies.

Learning Trajectories to Support the Growth of Measurement Knowledge: Pre-K Through Middle School

Jeffrey Barrett, Illinois State University (ISU)
This project is studying measurement practices from pre-K to Grade 8, as a coordination of the STEM disciplines of mathematics and science. This research project tests, revises and extends learning trajectories for children's knowledge of geometric measurement across a ten-year span of human development. The goal will be to validate all components of each learning trajectory, goal, developmental progression, and instruction tasks, as well as revising each LT to reflect the outcomes of the experiments.

Leveling Up: Supporting and Measuring High School STEM Knowledge Building in Social Digital Games

Jodi Asbell-Clarke, TERC, Inc.
This project designs, develops and tests a digital gaming environment for high school students that fosters and measures science learning within alternate reality games about saving Earth's ecosystems. Players work together to solve scientific challenges using a broad range of tools including a centralized web-based gaming site and social networking tools, along with handheld smart-phones, and an avatar-based massively multiplayer online environment. The game requires players to contribute to a scientific knowledge building community.

Levels of Conceptual Understanding in Statistics (LOCUS)

Tim Jacobbe, University of Florida (UF)
LOCUS (Levels of Conceptual Understanding in Statistics) is an NSF Funded DRK12 project (NSF#118618) focused on developing assessments of statistical understanding. These assessments will measure students’ understanding across levels of development as identified in the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE). The intent of these assessments is to provide teachers and researchers with a valid and reliable assessment of conceptual understanding in statistics consistent with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Leveraging MIPOs: Developing a Theory of Productive Use of Student Mathematical Thinking (Collaborative Research: Leatham)

Keith Leatham, Brigham Young University (BYU)
The core research questions of the project are: (1) What is the nature of high-leverage student thinking that teachers have available to them in their classrooms? (2) How do teachers use student thinking during instruction and what goals, orientations and resources underlie that use? (3) What is the learning trajectory for the teaching practice of productively using student thinking? and (4) What supports can be provided to move teachers along that learning trajectory?

Leveraging MIPOs: Developing a Theory of Productive Use of Student Mathematical Thinking (Collaborative Research: Stockero)

Shari Stockero, Michigan Technological University
The core research questions of the project are: (1) What is the nature of high-leverage student thinking that teachers have available to them in their classrooms? (2) How do teachers use student thinking during instruction and what goals, orientations and resources underlie that use? (3) What is the learning trajectory for the teaching practice of productively using student thinking? and (4) What supports can be provided to move teachers along that learning trajectory?

Leveraging MIPOs: Developing a Theory of Productive Use of Student Mathematical Thinking (Collaborative Research: Van Zoest)

Laura Van Zoest, Western Michigan University (WMU)
The core research questions of the project are: (1) What is the nature of high-leverage student thinking that teachers have available to them in their classrooms? (2) How do teachers use student thinking during instruction and what goals, orientations and resources underlie that use? (3) What is the learning trajectory for the teaching practice of productively using student thinking? and (4) What supports can be provided to move teachers along that learning trajectory?

Life on Earth: Biodiversity and Evolution

Neil Patterson, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation
This project will develop an online curriculum module for high school biology. It has three main goals: 1) Demonstrate how a story like malaria can integrate the teaching of multiple science topics and facilitate the diffusion of biodiversity and evolution across curriculum; 2) Model for students how to think like a scientist and show science as worthy of career consideration; and 3) Provide versatile multimedia as an alternative to textbook-centered instruction.

Linear Algebra and Geometry: Advanced Mathematics for More Students

Albert Cuoco, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)
EDC is developing a high school capstone course in linear algebra. Student resources contain a core semester that develops two- and three-dimensional geometry using vectors and that treats matrix algebra and its applications to geometry; a semester of material that completes a typical undergraduate course (exploring bases, determinants and eigentheory); and 5 stand-alone modules that develop applications of this core to mathematics, engineering, science, and other STEM fields.

Linking Middle & Early High School Science & Mathematics Assessment Items to Local, State & National Content Standards

George DeBoer, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
This project is developing a bank of mathematics and science assessment items and related tools aligned with state and national content standards that will be available to test developers, curriculum developers, researchers, teachers, teacher educators, parents and students. Specific tools will include a bank of about 300 test items, assessment maps and the inclusion of materials that target students with English as a second language.

Linking Teacher Preparation to Student Learning in Mathematics and Science

Marcy Singer-Gabella, Vanderbilt University
This project examines relationships among pre-service teachers' developing understanding of learning in mathematics and science, the enactment of these understandings as they begin teaching. The objectives are (1) to inform the design of teacher preparation programs, and (2) to support the development of appropriate tools to assess the impact of teacher preparation program features on elementary- and middle-school student learning.

Logging Opportunities in Online Programs for Science (LOOPS): Student and Teacher Learning

Kimberle Koile, Concord Consortium
The project makes use of technology to create timely, valid, and actionable reports to teachers by analyzing assessments and logs of student actions generated in the course of using computer-based curriculum materials. The reports allow teachers to make data-based decisions about alternative teaching strategies. The technology supports student collaborations and the assignment of different learning activities to groups, an essential function needed for universal design for learning (UDL).

Longitudinal Learning of Viable Argument in Mathematics for Adolescents

David Yopp, University of Idaho (UI)
This project builds on a prior study that demonstrated increases in students' knowledge of argumentation and their performance on mathematics assessments. The project will extend the use of the argumentation intervention into all eighth grade content areas, with a specific focus on students' learning of reasoning and proof, and contribute to understanding how students' learning about mathematical practices that can help them learn mathematics better.

Making Sciences: Data Modeling and Argumentation in Elementary Science

William Sandoval, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
This project develops ecosystems-focused instructional materials that use sensor data and technology to help second and third graders become more proficient at data modeling and scientific argumentation. The goals are to provide elementary teachers with a research-based curriculum that engages students in exploring and visualizing environmental data and using the data to construct scientific arguments, and to contribute to the cognitive development literature on children's ideas about and abilities for scientific argumentation.

Making Sense of Global Warming and Climate Change: Model of Student Learning via Collaborative Research

Anita Roychoudhury, Purdue University
A major scientific issue of our time is global warming and climate change. Many facets of human life are and will continue to be influenced by this. However, an adequate understanding of the problem requires an understanding of various domains of science. There has been little research done on effects of intervention on student learning of these topics. This project shows an improvement in student knowledge of climate change and related issues.

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