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Projects

The National Science Foundation has awarded grants to over 300 DR K-12 projects to do innovative work in K-12 STEM education. (Learn more about the DR K-12 program.) Explore these projects to learn more about emerging research, products, and ideas as well as the creative, expert, and extremely hard working individuals who make this work possible.

 

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Browse Projects

Project titlesort iconOrganizationPI first namePI last nameAward date

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

Sean Smith, Horizon Research, Inc.
02/01/2014
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...

A Digital Resource for Developing Mathematics Teachers' TPCK

Jeremy Roschelle, SRI International
09/01/2009
This project aims to advance the preparation of preservice teachers in middle school mathematics, specifically on the topic of proportionality, a centrally important and difficult topic in middle school mathematics that is essential to students’ later success in algebra. To address the need for a workforce of high-quality teachers to teach this mathematics, the project is developing a digital text that could be widely used to communicate the unique transitional nature of middle school mathematics.

A Framework for Assessing Environmental Literacy

Karen Hollweg, North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)
11/15/2010
This workshop developed a new, comprehensive, research-based framework for assessing environmental literacy. By bringing together, for the first time, experts in research, assessment, and evaluation from the fields of science education, environmental education, and related social science fields, this project accessed and built its work on the literature and the insights of many disciplines.

A Learning Progression for Scientific Modeling

Brian Reiser, Northwestern University
10/01/2006
This project will provide an empirically-supported learning progression for a key scientific practice, scientific modeling. The specific instructional materials created as part of the project can serve as a model other developers can use to design materials supporting scientific modeling and other practices. The model for educative curriculum materials as a form of teacher support can be adapted to support teacher learning about modeling or other scientific practices...

A Learning Progression-Based System for Promoting Understanding of Carbon-Transforming Processes

Charles Anderson, Michigan State University
09/15/2010
This project builds on prior efforts with learning progressions, and is focused on key carbon-transforming processes in socio-ecological systems at multiple scales, including cellular and organismal metabolism, ecosystem energetics and carbon cycling, carbon sequestration, and combustion of fossil fuels. The primary project outcomes will be coordinated instructional tools that are useful to professionals at all levels in the science education system--classroom teachers, professional developers, and developers of curricula, standards and assessments.

A Longitudinal Comparison of the Effects of the Connected Mathematics Program and Other Curricula on Middle School Students' Learning of Algebra

Jinfa Cai, University of Delaware
03/01/2005
This project compares the effects on algebraic learning when using the Connected Math Program to the effects of using other (non-NSF supported) middle school mathematics curriculum materials at the middle school level. The algebra focus skills/concepts to be assessed are: conceptual understanding and problem solving; algebraic manipulative skills; solution strategies, representations and mathematical justifications.

A Longitudinal Examination of Children's Developing Knowledge of Measurement: Mathematical and Scientific Concept and Strategy Growth from Pre-K through Grade 5

Jeffrey Barrett, Illinois State University, State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo
08/15/2007
The project proposes a longitudinal study that investigates the development of an understanding of measurement across seven grades-from pre-K through Grade 5. Specifically, the project will establish clear cognitive accounts of the development of students' strategic and conceptual knowledge of measurement on increasingly demanding sets of length, perimeter, and area measurement tasks.

A Longitudinal Randomized Trial Study of Middle School Science for English Language Learners (Project MSSELL) (Collaborative Research: Irby)

Beverly Irby, Sam Houston State University
09/01/2008
Project MSSELL will conduct a two-year randomized trial longitudinal evaluation of an enhanced standards-based science curriculum model. In Year 1, the project will refine and pilot the model based on learnings from its previous developmental phase and implementation with K-3 grade students. In Years 2 and 3, the enhanced model will be implemented and studied with fifth- and sixth-grade students.

A Longitudinal Randomized Trial Study of Middle School Science for English Language Learners (Project MSSELL) (Collaborative Research: Lara-Alecio)

Rafael Lara-Alecio, Texas A&M University
09/01/2008
This project seeks to improve the science achievement and the academic English language proficiency of middle school Spanish-speaking English language learners (ELLs). This project will conduct a randomized trial longitudinal evaluation of an enhanced standards-based science curriculum model, consisting of five major components: (a) English language acquisition strategies integrated into the science curriculum, (b) technology-assisted instruction, (c) bi-weekly teacher professional development, (d) family involvement, and (e) paraprofessionals in working with individual ELLs.

A Research Design Conference: How Can Digital Resources Increase Collaboration and Support Teachers Implementing Standards?

Pat Wasley, Teaching Channel
08/15/2013
A two day workshop/colloquium will be hosted at Northwestern University and is focused on the use of video and online learning in support of the College and CAREER Readiness Standards.

A Study of Professional Learning Communities Amongst Secondary Science & Mathematics Teachers: Changes, Support Systems, Student Learning

Tamara Nelson, Washington State University, Vancouver
05/01/2006
This project is designed to study the Partnership for Reform in Secondary Science and Mathematics professional development model. The research on this model will contribute to the knowledge base on professional development through an empirical investigation of the model of supported teacher collaborative inquiry. The research addresses how the interactions amongst Professional Learning Community teachers contribute to new understandings about teaching, learning, and disciplinary content, and whether this translates into changes in classroom practice.

A Study of the Struggling Learner's Knowledge and Development for Number and Operation

John Lannin, University of Missouri
09/01/2009
This project targets first- and second-grade children who struggle to develop a deeper understanding of the mathematical strand of number and operation. The research team will (a) identify the various specific cognitive obstacles of first- and second-grade students who are struggling in number and operation, and (b) explore how instructional tasks designed to address specific cognitive obstacles affect the learning trajectory of struggling learners in number and operation.

A Technology Exemplar: Post-textbook UDL Materials

Carolyn Staudt, Concord Consortium
10/01/2006
This project is developing technology-rich science curriculum exemplars for grades 3-6 based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. The project is testing the effectiveness of the approach and providing an exemplar that can inspire additional content and further development. A set of professional development materials to support teacher implementation of UDL science curriculum in the classroom is planned. Probes are used for lab investigations and computational models are used for experimentation in virtual environments.

ABI and CSTA Collaboration to Reach K-12 Teachers from Under-represented Communities at the 2009 Grace Hopper Celebration

Telle Whitney, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI)
08/15/2009
This project convenes K-12 teachers working with underrepresented populations of students at the 2009 Grace Hopper Celebration and produces a workshop and white paper designed to (1) instigate discussion of equity and computer science curricula; (2) create knowledge sharing opportunities on concrete solutions grounded in teachers’ articulated needs; (3) disseminate these solutions to a broad audience of teachers, STEM practitioners, and interested stakeholders; and (4) evaluate the effectiveness of these solutions in classrooms.

Accessing Science Ideas: Enhancing Curriculum to Support Scientific Reasoning of Students with Learning Disabilities

Karen Mutch-Jones, TERC
08/15/2008
The Accessing Science Ideas (ASI) project is developing and researching content enhancements that support science learning of middle school students with executive function and related learning disabilities.  The goal of ASI research is to measure the extent to which curricular units with content enhancements lead to increased student understanding of science concepts, improved reasoning, and greater confidence.

Achievements and Challenges of Modeling-based Instruction (ACMI) in Science Education: from 1980 to 2009

Ji Shen, Syracuse University, University of Georgia
07/15/2010
This project will synthesize existing literature on modeling-based instruction (MBI) in K-12 science education over the last three decades. It will rigorously code and examine the literature to conceptualize the landscape of the theoretical frameworks of MBI approaches, identify the effective design features of modeling-based learning environments with an emphasis on technology-enhanced ones, and identify the most effective MBI practices that are associated with successful student learning through a meta-analysis.

Across the Sciences: Multidisciplinary Learning for Teachers through Multimedia

Pamela Van Scotter, Oregon Public Broadcasting
07/01/2006
This project will conduct a professional development series to improve the content knowledge of science teachers. "Across the Sciences," a ten-unit series requiring approximately 145 hours to complete, will better qualify 9th and 10th grade science teachers to teach multidisciplinary science courses. Teachers prepared in one science discipline will benefit from opportunities to increase and deepen their interdisciplinary science content knowledge and their understanding of student needs associated with learning science.  

Activate Computational Thinking (ACT)

Katherine Hayden, University Auxiliary and Research Services Corporation
07/15/2012
This project offers a two-year professional development model to support a cohort of 16 middle school science teachers of underrepresented students as the teachers gain computational thinking (CT) competencies and design and teach CT-integrated classroom science lessons that will provide students with CT learning experiences. The project will contribute to the understanding of what it takes to empower middle school science teachers as designers of CT learning opportunities for students from underrepresented groups

Active Physics Teacher Community

Arthur Eisenkraft, University of Massachusetts, Boston
09/15/2007
This project augmenting the traditional professional development model with an online professional development platform—the Active Physics Teacher Community—that provides just-in-time support for teachers as they are enacting targeted units of the Active Physics curriculum. Teachers are helped in preparing lessons by providing them with formal instruction related to the lessons they are teaching in the classroom. In addition, teachers can participate in a moderated forum where they can share experiences.

Addressing the Needs of the Nation's Physics Teachers through State-of-the-art Video Applications and Contemporary Pedagogical Theory (Collaborative Research: Stevens)

Scott Stevens, Carnegie Mellon University
04/01/2005
This project builds upon the prototype Physics Teaching Web Advisory (Pathway), which was designed to demonstrate the ability to address issues related to the lack of preparation of many physics teachers, and to provide resources that can enliven even the most expert physics teachers' classrooms. Pathway combines state-of-the-art digital video library technology, pedagogical advances and materials contributed by master teachers.

Addressing the Needs of the Nation's Physics Teachers through State-of-the-art Video Applications and Contemporary Pedagogy (Collaborative Research: Zollman)

Dean Zollman, Kansas State University
04/01/2005
This project extends the Physics Teaching Web Advisory (Pathway) to the full curriculum. Pathway's Synthetic Interviews and related video materials provide pre-service and out-of-field in-service teachers with much needed professional development and well-prepared teachers with new perspectives on teaching physics. Pathway combines state-of-the-art digital video library technology, developed pedagogical advances and materials contributed by master teachers. This dynamic digital library provides continuous assistance and expertise for teachers.

Advancing Science Performance with Emerging Computer Technologies (ASPECT)

James Minogue, North Carolina State University
09/01/2013
This project combines Unity (a cross-platform game engine and integrated development environment) with cutting-edge haptic technology to provide upper elementary students with a new way of accessing core science content. The core research question that undergirds this exploratory project is: How does the addition of haptic feedback influence users' understandings of core, often invisible, science content?

Agency in Sustained Problem-Based Inquiry: Learning Science Through and as Innovation

John Bransford, University of Washington
08/15/2010
This research and development project develops and tests in the classroom three fifth-grade and two second-grade science units that combine both socio-cultural and socio-cognitive perspectives in order to more fully engage both students and teachers in authentic inquiry and tests the units in second- and fifth-grade classrooms.

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program

Vance Ablott, Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education
09/01/2008
This project supports up to eight fellows per year to participate in the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows Program. This program provides opportunities for teachers to work on educational issues and/or programs in a federal agency or congressional office. It promotes professional growth; fosters the exchange of ideas that are relevant to STEM education at the national and state levels through conferences, workshops, and presentations; provides opportunities for teachers' input; and awards outstanding teachers.

Algebra: A Challenge at the Crossroads of Policy and Practice

Mary Kay Stein, University of Pittsburgh
03/01/2010
This project is reviewing and analyzing policy documents and studies related to Algebra I learning and teaching, in order to (1) gain a better understanding of algebra education in the United States; and (2) conduct an accounting of research questions that have and have not been taken up by policy documents to date. The results are to be disseminated to both the mathematics education research community and to the education policy community.

An Agent-Based Simulation Environment for Predictive Longitudinal Modeling of High School Math Performance (Collaborative Research: Resta)

Paul Resta, University of Texas, Austin
11/15/2011
This project will test the efficacy of using agent-based simulation and visualization models to identify the factors that predict mathematics achievement for students from the 8th grade to the 12th grade and beyond. The team is using data that includes 14 years of data on student grade reports, coursework, demographics, teacher variables such as years of service, professional development courses taken, years of service,...

An Agent-Based Simulation Environment for Predictive Longitudinal Modeling of High School Math Performance (Collaborative Research: Strong)

Michael Strong, University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz), University of Texas, Austin
11/15/2011
This project will test the efficacy of using agent-based simulation and visualization models to identify the factors that predict mathematics achievement for students from the 8th grade to the 12th grade and beyond. The team is using data that includes 14 years of data on student grade reports, coursework, demographics, teacher variables such as years of service, professional development...

An Architecture of Intensification: Building a Comprehensive Program for Struggling Students in Double-Period Algebra Classes

James Lynn, University of Illinois, Chicago
09/01/2009
This project is carrying out a research and development initiative to increase the success rates of our most at-risk high school students—ninth-grade students enrolled in algebra classes but significantly underprepared for high school mathematics. It will also result in new understandings about effective approaches for teaching mathematics to struggling students and about effective ways for implementing these approaches at scale, particularly in urban school districts.

An Examination of Science and Technology Teachers' Conceptual Learning Through Concept-Based Engineering Professional Development

Rodney Custer, Black Hills State University
09/01/2011
This project will determine the viability of an engineering concept-based approach to teacher professional development for secondary school science teachers in life science and in physical science. The project refines the conceptual base for engineering at the secondary level learning to increase the understanding of engineering concepts by the science teachers. The hypothesis is that when teachers and students engage with engineering design activities their understanding of science concepts and inquiry are also enhanced.

An Examination of the Impact of Teachers' Domain as a Professional Development Tool on Teacher Knowledge and Student Achievement in Biology

Lauren Goldenberg, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)
09/01/2007
Using an experimental design, this project examines the effects of online professional development courses on high school biology teachers' content and pedagogical knowledge, and on their students' knowledge. The project is testing the impact of using digital resouces and is using hierarchal linear modeling techniques to analyze data. It will contribute to the knowledge base of what impacts student achievement by testing the efficacy of online professional development for science teachers.

An Initial Learning Progression in Chemical Design (Collaborative Research: Sevian)

Hannah Sevian, University of Massachusetts, Boston
09/01/2012
In this project, investigators are developing and testing a learning progression for the study of chemistry. Likely pathways are investigated for how grade 8-13 student's implicit assumptions develop on five major threads of chemical design. A focus on chemical design facilitates the coherent integration of scientific and engineering practices, cross-cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. This approach should make chemistry more engaging to a greater variety of students.

An Initial Learning Progression in Chemical Design (Collaborative Research: Talanquer)

Vicente Talanquer, University of Arizona
09/01/2012
In this project, investigators are developing and testing a learning progression for the study of chemistry. Likely pathways are investigated for how grade 8-13 student's implicit assumptions develop on five major threads of chemical design. A focus on chemical design facilitates the coherent integration of scientific and engineering practices, cross-cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. This approach should make chemistry more engaging to a greater variety of students.

An Innovative Approach to Earth Science Teacher Preparation: Uniting Science, Informal Science Education, and Schools to Raise Student Achievement

Maritza Macdonald, American Museum of Natural History
09/01/2011
The American Museum of Natural History in New York City, in partnership with New York University, and in collaboration with five high-needs schools, is developing, implementing, and researching a five-year pilot Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program in Earth Science. The program is delivered by the Museum's scientific and education teams and its evaluation covers aspects of the program from recruitment to first year of teaching.

An Integrated Instructional Model for Accelerating Student Achievement in Science and Literacy in Grades 1-2

Nancy Romance, Florida Atlantic University
09/15/2013
This research and development project is focused on accelerating both student science understanding and reading comprehension proficiency at the primary level (grades 1-2). The project is being implemented in diverse classrooms and addresses age-appropriate content from the areas of the physical, earth/environmental, and life sciences.

An Investigation of Elementary Teachers' Learning, Understanding and Use of Research-based Knowledge about Students' Mathematical Thinking

Michael Battista, Ohio State University
06/01/2008
This project uses classroom and individual teaching experiments, along with numerous and extensive interviews, to investigate: (a) the nature of teachers' understandings of students' mathematical thinking before and after instruction on that thinking, (b) the processes by which teachers learn about students' mathematical thinking while participating in instruction, (c) factors affecting teachers' learning of this material and (d) effects of learning this material on teachers' conceptualizations of mathematics learning, teaching and assessment .

An Investigation of the Impact of Strengthening the "T" and "E" Components of STEM in High School Biology and Chemistry Courses

Debra Brockway, Stevens Institute of Technology
09/01/2009
The overriding goal of this project is to strengthen the “T” and “E” components of STEM in high school courses taken by a majority of students. Our hypothesis is that increasing the presence of engineering and technological design at the high school level, specifically by incorporating engineering activities in high school biology and chemistry classes, will improve students’ understanding of science concepts and strengthen students’ 21st century skills more than traditional methods.

Analyzing and Building Science Inquiry Skills through Evidence-based Technology Integration

Yiping Lou, Louisiana State University
06/15/2006
This project assists teachers in analyzing their own science inquiry skills as well as those of their students via the development of an inquiry skill analyzer (iSA); and to assist teachers in selecting, designing, developing, implementing and evaluating technology-supported learning activities to develop science inquiry skills, especially in identified weak areas through the development of an inquiry activity portal (iAP).

Antarctic Penguins, Teaching the Science of Climate Change: A Celebration of IPY

David Ainley, H.T. Harvey & Associates
09/15/2007
This project uses Antarctic pack-ice penguins to hook students into exploring how science investigates changes in Earths biota and climate. The project builds on a pilot effort, called Penguin Science, and will develop PowerPoint presentations, short video \"webisodes,\" background reading material, and live and interactive website components to engage students in ongoing field research. Students, K-14, will be involved in climate-change research that will include ecology, sedimentology, paleontology, glaciology and oceanography.

Application of Evidence-centered Design to States Large-scale Science Assessment

Geneva Haertel, SRI International, Educational Testing Service (ETS)
09/01/2007
This project aims to (1) determine ways in which Evidence-Centered Design enhances the quality of large-scale, technology-based science assessments for middle school grades and high school equivalency; (2) implement resulting procedures in operational test development; (3) evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness and generalizability of these procedures, and (4) disseminate findings to the assessment community.

Applying Research on Science Materials Implementation: Bringing Measurement of Fidelity of Implementation (FOI) to Scale

Jeanne Century, University of Chicago
01/01/2007
This project is creating a suite of instruments for measuring fidelity of implementation of several science and mathematics instructional materials programs and a User's Guide for customizing those instruments to other programs. The instruments are grounded in a shared conceptual framework that organizes "critical components" that the programs share. The suite was piloted and field tested in over 50 schools in Chicago.

Arcadia: The Next Generation—Transforming STEM Learning Through Transmedia Games

Jodi Asbell-Clarke, TERC
09/01/2011
This project will study the design features of an experimental gaming environment called Arcadia: The Next Generation. Researchers working with a group of formal and informal educators to study the connections between scientific inquiry in Arcadia and STEM learning. The project provides a dynamic and evolving place where gamers, educators, parents, and citizen scientists can come together to share, rate, and build knowledge through a variety of fun science inquiry games.

Assessing Instructional Quality in Mathematics: A Comparative Study of High and Low Value-Added Teachers' Videotaped Lessons

Nicole Kersting, University of Arizona
10/01/2007
This project’s researchers are determining individual teacher effect estimates and investigating their stability across models. This study also investigates the instructional practices of a subsample of 30 highly effective and 30 less effective sixth-grade mathematics teachers using videotaped classroom lessons, which are coded and analyzed by researchers who are blind to the value-added effectiveness of the teachers.

Assessing Secondary Teachers' Algebraic Habits of Mind (Collaborative Research: Matsuura)

Ryota Matsuura, St. Olaf College
08/15/2012
This collaborative project is developing instruments to assess secondary teachers' Mathematical Habits of Mind (MHoM). These habits bring parsimony, focus, and coherence to teachers' mathematical thinking and, in turn, to their work with students. This work fits into a larger research agenda with the ultimate goal of understanding the connections between secondary teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and secondary students' mathematical understanding and achievement.

Assessing Secondary Teachers' Algebraic Habits of Mind (Collaborative Research: Stevens)

Glenn Stevens, Trustees of Boston University
08/15/2012
This collaborative project is developing instruments to assess secondary teachers' Mathematical Habits of Mind (MHoM). These habits bring parsimony, focus, and coherence to teachers' mathematical thinking and, in turn, to their work with students. This work fits into a larger research agenda with the ultimate goal of understanding the connections between secondary teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and secondary students' mathematical understanding and achievement.

Assessing Secondary Teachers' Algebraic Habits of Mind (Collaborative Research: Sword)

Sarah Sword, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)
08/15/2012
This collaborative project is developing instruments to assess secondary teachers' Mathematical Habits of Mind (MHoM). These habits bring parsimony, focus, and coherence to teachers' mathematical thinking and, in turn, to their work with students. This work fits into a larger research agenda with the ultimate goal of understanding the connections between secondary teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching and secondary students' mathematical understanding and achievement.

Assessing Student Engagement in Math and Science in Middle School: Classroom, Family, and Peer Effects on Engagement

Ming-Te Wang, University of Pittsburgh
09/01/2013
The project will use a comprehensive mixed methods design to develop theoretically-grounded measures of student engagement in middle school math and science classes that reflect a multidimensional construct within an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of urban youth. The project conceptualizes student engagement as a multidimensional construct including behavioral, emotional, and cognitive components. This multidimensional perspective of student engagement provides a...

Assessing Teachers' Pedagogical Design Capacity and Mathematics Curriculum Use (Collaborative Research: Kim)

Ok-Kyeong Kim, Western Michigan University
09/01/2009
This project is assessing the capacities needed by elementary teachers for productive use of mathematics curriculum materials. The project is guided by the assumption that well-designed curriculum programs have the potential to contribute to improvement in mathematics learning opportunities in K-12 classrooms. Yet, minimal research has examined the kind of knowledge and capacities necessary for teachers to use these resources productively. The project will undertake such research and develop tools to assess these capacities.

Assessing Teachers' Pedagogical Design Capacity and Mathematics Curriculum Use (Collaborative Research: Remillard)

Janine Remillard, University of Pennsylvania
09/01/2009
This project is assessing the capacities needed by elementary teachers for productive use of mathematics curriculum materials. The project is guided by the assumption that well-designed curriculum programs have the potential to contribute to improvement in mathematics learning opportunities in K-12 classrooms. Yet, minimal research has examined the kind of knowledge and capacities necessary for teachers to use these resources productively. The project will undertake such research and develop tools to assess these capacities.

Assessing the Educational, Career, and Social Impacts of the XO Laptop Program in Birmingham, AL City Schools

Shelia Cotten, University of Alabama, Birmingham
04/15/2008
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.

Assessing, Validating, and Developing Content Knowledge for Teaching Energy (Collaborative Research: Gitomer)

Drew Gitomer, Rutgers University
09/01/2012
This project develops an instrument to measure the content knowledge that teachers need to teach about energy in high school classroom instruction that focuses on mechanical energy. The project uses a framework that includes tasks based on instructional practices in the classroom that can identify the extent to which the teacher understands both the disciplinary knowledge and the appropriate teaching processes that support student learning.