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

Project titleOrganizationPI first namePI last namesort iconAward date

Moving Next Generation Science Standards into Practice: A Middle School Ecology Unit and Teacher Professional Development Model

American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)
Schools and teachers face unprecedented challenges in meeting the ambitious goals of integrating core interdisciplinary science ideas with science and engineering practices as described in new standards. This project will develop a middle school ecology unit and related teacher professional development that will help high-need and urban middle school students, including English Language Learners, understand these ideas and related practices.

Validation and Refinement of a Model for Teacher Professional Development that Leverages a Major Applied Research Laboratory

Jamal Abedi, University of California, Davis (UC Davis)
This project focuses on the assessed impact of a teacher professional development (TPD) program around the applied sciences. Specifically, researchers seek to examine the measurable impact of an established teacher professional development program currently offered through the UC Davis Edward Teller Education Center. The Center delivers teacher training and curricula and draws upon an instructor cohort that pairs a regional master teacher and relevant LLNL scientists in curriculum development and delivery.

Formative Assessment in Mathematics: Current Status and Guidelines for Future Developments

Jamal Abedi, University of California, Davis (UC Davis)
In response to the increased use of formative assessment practices in California's PK-12 mathematics classrooms, this project will investigate what formative assessments are in use, how practitioners and students are utilizing these assessments, and how they impact performance on summative state assessments. The main outcome of this study will be a set of research-informed and field-tested conclusions, recommendations, guidelines, and tools for the development and use of new...

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program

Vance Ablott, Triangle Coalition for STEM Education
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.

PlantingScience: Digging Deeper Together - A Model for Collaborative Teacher/Scientist Professional Development

Catrina Adams, Botanical Society of America (BSA)
This project will design, develop, and test a new professional development (PD) model for high school biology teachers that focuses on plant biology, an area of biology that teachers feel less prepared to teach. The new PD model will bring teachers and scientists together, in-person and online, to guide students in conducting authentic science investigations and to reflect on instructional practices and student learning.

Improving the Implementation of Rigorous Instructional Materials in Middle Grades Mathematics: Developing a System of Practical Measures and Routines (Collaborative Research: Ahn)

June Ahn, University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP)
The goal of this project is to improve the implementation of rigorous instructional materials in middle-grades mathematics at scale through a system of practical measures and routines for collecting and using data that both assesses and supports implementation.

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

David Ainley, H.T. Harvey & Associates
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.

CAREER: Work Contexts, Teacher Learning Opportunities, and Mathematics Achievement of Middle School Students

Motoko Akiba, Florida State University (FSU)
This CAREER proposal has four objectives: 1) examine the nature of mathematics teachers' learning opportunities for instructional improvement, 2) examine how work contexts influence the quality of teacher learning opportunities, 3) examine the impact of teacher learning opportunities on changes in student mathematics achievement over four years, and 4) work with district and school administrators to promote instructional improvement and student achievement by...

Identifying an Effective and Scalable Model of Lesson Study

Motoko Akiba, Florida State University (FSU)
This project investigates the variation in teachers' practice of lesson study to identify effective and scalable design features of lesson study associated with student mathematics achievement growth in Florida. Lesson study is a teacher professional development model in which a group of teachers works collaboratively to plan a lesson, observe the lesson in a classroom with students, and analyze and discuss the student work and understanding in response to the lesson.

Cyber-enabled Earth Exploration: Development of Materials for Middle School Earth Science Instruction

Heather Almquist, University of Montana
This project is developing new instructional materials for middle school earth science classes that incorporate emerging cyber-enabled technologies such as Google Earth as a transformative data analysis tool. The materials emphasize the use of claims, evidence, and reasoning in the exploration of volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics, leading students through a process of discovery to help them build a deeper understanding of the driving forces and resulting manifestations of plate tectonics.

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

Charles Anderson, Michigan State University (MSU)
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.

Facilitating Teachers' and Young Children's Science Learning Through Iterative Cycles of Teacher Professional Development

Eleanor Armour-Thomas, Queens College, CUNY
This professional development project engages a sample of kindergarten and 1st-grade teachers in a series of workshops, during which teachers will work individually and together to design and test new lesson plans that enhance teachers' abilities to help young children think and act like a scientist. Moreover, teachers work individually and together to construct lessons that connect science content to young learners' cultural backgrounds, interests and prior knowledge.

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.

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

Jodi Asbell-Clarke, TERC, Inc.
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.

FUN: A Finland US Network for Engagement and STEM Learning in Games

Jodi Asbell-Clarke, TERC, Inc.
As part of a SAVI, researchers from the U.S. and from Finland will collaborate on investigating the relationships between engagement and learning in STEM transmedia games. The project involves two intensive, 5 day workshops to identify new measurement instruments to be integrated into each other's research and development work. The major research question is to what degree learners in the two cultures respond similarly or differently to the STEM learning games.

Taking Games to School: Exploratory Study to Support Game-based Teaching and Learning In High-School Science Classes

Jodi Asbell-Clarke, TERC, Inc.
This project is building a set of software tools, including a tool for annotating screen recordings of activities in games, a teacher data dashboard for information about students' in-game learning, and tools to help teachers customize activities in games to better align with curricular standards. The project will find out whether these new tools can enhance teaching and/or learning. 

Zoombinis: The Full Development Implementation Research Study of a Computational Thinking Game for Upper Elementary and Middle School Learners

Jodi Asbell-Clarke, TERC, Inc.
This project leverages an existing game by embedding tools for studying patterns of students' decision-making and problem solving in the environment. This allows researchers to understand how students learn about computational thinking within a tool that bridges informal and formal learning settings to engage a wide variety of students. The project will also develop tools and resources for classroom teachers.

The African Diaspora: Developing Black Scholars in Science Education for the 21st Century in the United States

Mary Atwater, University of Georgia (UGA)
This project convenes a conference to develop a cadre of African American science education faculty to research issues surrounding the teaching and learning of science. This cadre of faculty will develop a research agenda, submit grant proposals for funding, and submit manuscripts for publication. The overall goal of this project is to improve K-12 teaching and learning by faculty development of the research scholarship of African American science educators in the United States.

Mini-Symposia: The Results of the African Diaspora: Developing Black Scholars in Science Education for the 21st Century in the United States, Part II

Mary Atwater, University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. (UGARF)
In this project, investigators will convene a group of 15 African American science educators, scientists, and doctoral student scholars and assign them to small work groups to design and conduct multi-site micro-research studies on learning activities that promote science learning and teaching. Work groups will investigate different learning and teaching approaches used in K-12 rural and urban school settings to identify effects on student science learning using quantitative, qualitative, or mixed design studies.

Crisis in K-16 STEM Education: A Regional Conference to Promote Local Solutions to a National Problem

Kristopher Baker, Rockland Community College (RCC)
This award is for the funding of a regional conference to study the future of STEM education, the impact of underrepresented and disadvantaged groups with regards to STEM, and STEM job growth and workforce development in a regional, as opposed to a national, context.

Cross-Sector Insights Toward Aligning Education Research and Real-World Impact

Sasha Barab, Arizona State University (ASU)
The goal of the project is to inform the development of an impact-based research methodology (IBR) to enable a more direct and overt connections between academic research on games and the development of educational products and services that are sustainable and scalable.

Seeds of Science / Roots of Reading: Developing a New Generation of Research-based Elementary Science Instructional Materials

Jacqueline Barber, University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
This project is developing research-based science units for 3rd-4th grades in life, earth and physical science. The Seeds/Roots series is an integrated science-literacy instructional program based on a successful NSF-funded proof-of-concept initiative. It builds on revision of units in the Great Explorations in Math and Science Program; but updates and employs a new, multi-modal "Do it, talk it, read it, write it" learning model, with literacy used in the service of science inquiry.

The Role of Educative Curriculum Materials in Supporting Science Teaching Practices with English Language Learners

Jacqueline Barber, University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
This project aims to determine whether curricula designed to support teacher and student learning have positive impacts on teacher knowledge, attitudes, and instructional practices; to what degree educative curricula help teachers with more and less experience teaching ELLs and how level of teaching experience relates to teacher knowledge, attitudes, and instructional practices; and the effects of the educative curricula in high implementation settings on ELLs knowledge and attitudes in science, and developing English proficiency.

DIMEs: Immersing Teachers and Students in Virtual Engineering Internships

Jacqueline Barber, University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
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.

Interactions in Understanding the Universe (I2U2)

Marjorie Bardeen, Fermi Research Alliance, LLC.
This project aims to increase the education and outreach activities of scientific experiments at U.S. universities and laboratories by providing infrastructure support and a program framework for a portfolio of coherent, collaborative online science education laboratories. The project maintains an online portfolio of educational laboratories suitable for a diverse range of disciplines and provides tools and support services to assist developers in creating these educational resources.

Teacher Education: Learning the Practice of Statistics

Anna Bargagliotti, Loyola Marymount University (LMU)
This exploratory project is to enhance the ability of teachers to provide high quality STEM education for all students by developing research-based materials that enable teachers to facilitate students' progress toward statistical understanding.

Development of the Electronic Test of Early Numeracy

Arthur Baroody, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The project will develop and refine an electronic Test of Early Numeracy (e-TEN) in English and Spanish that will assess informal and formal knowledge of number and operations in domains including verbal counting, numbering, numerical relationships, and mental addition/subtraction. The overarching goal of the assessment design is to create a measure that is more accurate, more accessible to a wider range of children, and easier to administer than existing measures.

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 (ISU), University at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo)
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.

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.

Project I.D.: Instrument Development for Exploring the Professional Growth Continuum

James Barufaldi, University of Texas, Austin
This project identifies pivotal experiences of career science teachers that have promoted their advancement along the teacher professional continuum. The goal of the project is to develop an instrument that informs researchers about professional development opportunities that successful, empowered science teachers recall as having impacted their teaching and their overall sense of professionalism. The project is using a methodology in which teachers draw behavior over time graphs while telling their stories of empowerment.

Building BLOCKS for Science: What Young Children Should Know and Be Able to Do When They Enter Kindergarten

James Barufaldi, University of Texas, Austin
Building Base Line Objectives for Children’s Knowledge Skills for Science (BLOCKS)is a 4-year project that integrates research and applied teaching to take a close look inside prekindergarten classrooms. The overall research project includes extensive classroom observation by teachers and researchers of children’s ability to learn science processes and content; intensive professional development and mentoring support for teachers to learn science; and multiple qualitative, as well as, quantitative assessment strategies.

Using Practice as a Site to Learning Mathematics for Teaching: Developing Materials, Approaches and Professional Community

Hyman Bass, University of Michigan (UM)
This project is designed to build resources for helping teachers learn mathematical content in ways usable for the work of teaching. Two practice-centered packages will be developed for use in the professional education of K-8 teachers of mathematics. The packages will be usable by the existing range of teacher developers. Each package will comprise selections of records of practice and resources for their use with teachers.

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

Michael Battista, Ohio State University (OSU)
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 .

Development of a Cognition-Guided, Formative-Assessment-Intensive, Individualized Computer-Based Dynamic Geometry Learning System for Grades 3-8

Michael Battista, Ohio State University (OSU)
This project is focused on creating, testing, refining, and studying a computer-based, individualized, interactive learning system for intermediate/middle school students or by teachers in classrooms. This learning system is called Individualized Dynamic Geometry Instruction and will contain four instructional modules in geometry and measurement that reflect the recommendations of the Common Core State Standards.

Strategic Integration of Mathematics and Science

Juliet Baxter, University of Oregon (UO)
This research project studies the impact of strategic integration of relevant math and science topics on grades 2 – 5 teachers' knowledge and beliefs, their classroom practice, and their students' understanding and beliefs. The proposal hypothesizes that the strategic integration will lead to more frequent and effective use of mathematics in science teaching and improved student outcomes.

Closing the Math Achievement Gap for English Language Learners: Technology Resources for Pre-algebra

Carole Beal, University of Arizona (U of A)
The project addresses the relatively poor mathematics achievement of students who are not proficient in English. It includes research on how English language learners in beginning algebra classes solve math word problems with different text characteristics. The results of this research inform the development of technology-based resources to support ELLs’ ability to learn mathematics through instruction in English, including tutorials in math vocabulary, integrated glossaries, and interactive assistance with forming equations from word problem text.

Exploring Engineering Design Knowing and Thinking as an Innovation in STEM Learning

Kurt Becker, Utah State University (USU)
This project investigates how high school students' understanding about design thinking compares to that of experienced practitioners and whether participation in a multiyear sequence of courses focused on engineering correlates with changes in design thinking. The project builds upon the Standards for Technological Literacy and courses developed at the University of Colorado and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Communities of Effective Practice: A Professional Stem Development Model for Teachers of American Indian Students

Kurt Becker, Utah State University (USU)
This project establishes and implements a professional development model with teachers of Native American students by creating a culturally relevant science, technology, engineering and mathematics teacher in-service model. The project seeks to improve teacher preparation in science and mathematics for Native Americans by creating culturally relevant curriculum materials and providing teacher participants with structured professional development. The goal is to develop an in-service model that can be transported to other Native American nations and schools.

CAREER: Supporting Middle School Students' Construction of Evidence-Based Arguments

Brian Belland, Utah State University (USU)
Doing science requires that students learn to create evidence-based arguments (EBAs), defined as claims connected to supporting evidence via premises. In this CAREER project, I investigate how argumentation ability can be enhanced among middle school students. The project entails theoretical work, instructional design, and empirical work, and involves 3 middle schools in northern Utah and southern Idaho.

Physical Science Comes Alive: Exploring Things that Go

Gary Benenson, The City College of New York, CUNY
This project creates eight half-year units in two subject areas—Force and Motion, and Energy Systems— for three grade bands, pre-K–1, 2-3 and 4–6. These projects integrate engineering, science, math literacy and art in the context of design, construction and testing of toys using inexpensive or recycled materials.

Ecosystems and Evidence Project (Collaborative Research: Berkowitz)

Alan Berkowitz, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), Rutgers University (RU), Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
This exploratory research and development project addresses the question, "Can students develop an understanding of the ecological nature of science (ENOS) in high school biology and environmental science classes that is useful and productive in environmental citizenship?" To address this question, the project will identify the essential elements of ENOS, investigate how these can be taught and learned, and explore how ENOS skills and understandings are used to enhance environmental citizenship.

Biocomplexity and the Habitable Planet -- An Innovative Capstone Course for High School (Collaborative Research: Berkowitz)

Alan Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
This project is developing a set of instructional materials that engages students, teachers, and their parents in the science of coupled natural human (CNH) systems. Teacher guides, a website and family/community materials accompany the four student modules (which focus on an urban watershed, an urban/agricultural system, Amazonia and a polar system).

Data Explorations in Ecology Project (DEEP)

Alan Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
This project evaluates the benefits of using different types of place-based ecological data in high school science classrooms. This project will assess the use of first-hand (collected by students) and real-time second-hand data in teaching science and critical thinking skills. The guiding question for the project is "Does using place-based, first-hand ecological evidence, and relating that to place-based, second-hand data, improve students' environmental science literacy, nature of science understanding, and knowledge of ecological concepts?"

Fostering Pedagogical Argumentation: Pedagogical Reasoning with and About Student Science Ideas

Leema Berland, University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison)
This project will use an iterative approach to design activities and supports that foster pedagogical argumentation for use in undergraduate teacher education courses. This project will examine: 1) whether and how PSTs engage in pedagogical argumentation and 2) whether and how this engagement impacts how they listen and respond to student ideas.

Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE)

Barbara Berns, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)
CADRE is the resource network that supports researchers and developers who participate in DR K-12 projects on teaching and learning in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. CADRE works with projects to strengthen and share methods, findings, results and products, helping to build collaboration around a strong portfolio of STEM education resources, models and technologies. CADRE raises external audiences’ awareness and understanding of the DR K-12 program, and builds new knowledge.

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?

ScratchJr: Computer Programming in Early Childhood Education as a Pathway to Academic Readiness and Success (Collaborative Research: Bers)

Marina Bers, Tufts University
This project is researching and developing a new version of the Scratch programming language to be called ScratchJr, designed specifically for early childhood education (K-2). This work will provide research-based evidence regarding young children's abilities to use an object-oriented programming language and to study the impact this has on the children's learning of scientific concepts and procedures. 

Ready for Robotics: The Missing T and E of STEM in Early Childhood Education

Marina Bers, Tufts University
The project investigates the use of robotics into early childhood education. It address two objectives: to develop and evaluate a low-cost, developmentally appropriate robotic construction kit specifically designed for early childhood education (PreK-2) and to pilot a robotics-based professional development model for early childhood educators to teach engineering and technology.

Testing a Professional Development Model for High School Science Reform and the Relationship of Key Variables to Student Achievement

Jody Bintz, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, Inc. (BSCS)
This project tests the efficacy of an intensive, three year professional development program, the BSCS National Academy for Curriculum Leadership (NACL) on student science achievement in the state of Washington. The goal of the NACL is to develop the capacity of district-based secondary science leadership teams to sustain the implementation of research-based science instructional materials that promote improvement in teaching and learning.

CAREER: Characterizing Critical Aspects of Mathematics Classroom Discourse

Jessica Bishop, University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc. (UGARF)
This research study expands on the characteristics of mathematical discourse and examines and specifies relationships between descriptive elements across multiple content foci in mathematics. The micro-genetic study is based on examination of video data from multiple routine classroom settings with teachers who demonstrate varying levels of discourse across three curricular topics in mathematics. The resulting framework and redesigned teacher education courses will provide models on which other teacher education programs might build.

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