Digital Media

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

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.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918683
Funding Period: 
Sat, 08/01/2009 to Tue, 07/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Randy Knuth
Full Description: 

Cyber-Enabled Earth Exploration (CE3) is a research and development project aimed at motivating and challenging students in science, which has been identified as one of the reasons the U.S. lags behind other nations on an array of economic and educational indicators (National Center on Education and the Economy 2006). The project will develop new instructional materials for middle school science teachers that help create a compelling classroom culture of scientific discovery, engage students in the creative opportunities that abound in science, and inspire them to pursue the high school science coursework needed for future careers in science.

The materials will incorporate emerging and widely available technologies such as Google Earth to engage middle school students in exploring an essential science question, “Does the Earth’s structure affect you?”  The use of computer technologies has been shown to successfully motivate middle school students (Pelligrino 2000), and the use of an integrated Earth system science approach provides the knowledge base, methodologies, and global context to make science accessible, relevant and meaningful for middle school students.

A complete learning unit and teacher’s guide will be developed by a team of experts in K-12 curriculum design, geology, and geography, using a Learning-for-Use curriculum design framework.  The materials will be tested for ease-of-use and effectiveness in approximately ten classrooms across Montana, which include both large and small class sizes, urban and rural communities, and white and Native American students. Participating teachers will provide feedback to help guide revision of the materials, which will subsequently be disseminated to the national K-12 community.

The intellectual merits of CE3 include: (1) creation of an innovative, technology-rich curriculum that engages students and teachers in authentic scientific questions about essential Earth systems science concepts; (2) introduction of the use of Google Earth as a new and potentially transformative data analysis tool for teachers and students; and (3) strengthening of curriculum models that help students acquire skills in problem solving, information management, communication, the integration of quantitative and qualitative data, and critical and creative thinking skills.

The broader impacts include: (1) partnering among researchers and educators to develop, test, adapt, and disseminate new research-based approaches to science teaching, (2) participation of underserved rural and tribal schools in state-of-the-art educational practices, (3) development of next-generation instructional materials that will be made available to K-12 educators across the country, (4) dissemination of project results through several multidisciplinary conferences, and (5) geosciences learning materials that incorporate the societal implications of earth processes, which better prepare students to become engaged global citizens.

Teacher Helping Teachers Teach Science Inquiry: The "Just ASK" Project

This project forms communities of practice among K-6 teachers using Web-based resources that allow audio and video connections in real time (http://justaskateacher.com) and conducts research that examines the impact of these communities of practice on school programs, teaching practices, and student achievement. We invite K-6 teachers and teacher educators to join us at http://justaskateacher.com.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733195
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2007 to Tue, 08/31/2010
Project Evaluator: 
Sandra Enger
Full Description: 

Teacher Helping Teachers Teach Science Inquiry: The “Just ASK” Project

A Project Funded by the National Science Foundation

University of Missouri at St. Louis

K-6 Teachers:

We invite you to join us at http://justaskateacher.com. As a start, we have posted more than 100 lesson notes and more than 50 lesson videos to share with you—all for free.   Based on our ASK team’s success with lessons developed since 1986 in Science Co-op and PALs projects, we started in 2007 to help our local teachers (in elementary schools of rural and small-town districts in Missouri and Iowa )teach more than science by teaching inquiry science.Since 2007, we have been getting ready for you, wherever you are, to join us.

Like “Science Co-op” and “PALs” projects, “Just ASK:  Teachers Helping Teachers” is funded by the National Science Foundation to (1) study the effects of adapting science lessons for students to learn more than science while learning science through hands-on inquiry and (2) make it possible for teachers to help each other by sharing ideas. To share our “Just ASK” ideas we have opened our http://justaskateacher.com website so that teachers nationwide can read our lesson notes and view our lesson videos.

You may wish to merely chat with us via Email or in online (Elluminate) Community of Practice sessions or you may wish to share your own notes and videos for lessons you have adapted to "teach more than science.”  If you "just ask," we can help you create the notes as well as the videos--and perhaps offer you graduate credit for your participation with us. (Learn more about optional graduate credit on http://justaskateacher.com).

When we wrote our “Just ASK” proposal to the National Science Foundation, we were responding to the “Discovery Research K-12 (B2)” call for “full scale projects that provide resources and tools for use with K-12 teachers that (1) are grounded in research on teaching and learning, (2) incorporate appropriate technologies, (3) provide ubiquitous access to resources, tools and methods, and (4) show their potential to impact student and teacher learning nation-wide.” Our submission proposed to build on more than 25 years of our team’s NSF-funded work. Our teams of researchers and teachers had been adapting science lessons as a professional development strategy and developing distance technologies to allow small, rural school districts to develop and share ideas among themselves and then with teachers nationwide.

What is a Just Ask Lesson? We create ASK lessons whether the lesson is from a science kit, some other source, or a lesson created from scratch. “ASK” means “Adapting Science for Kids.” When we start to adapt a lesson, we ask ourselves, “How can I use this inquiry science so that it helps students learn something from my curriculum that is beyond science?  We like to add something to which the science contributes easily and which also contributes naturally to the science. Because K-6 teachers are always under time pressure, we try to make sure that the ASK lesson does not extend the time for the lesson.  Rather, we like the lesson to pull together the science with the other subject(s) into one effective and fun lesson. The students like it, we like it, and we get more done in the time that we have.

So, we invite you to check out some of our ASK lessons under “Shared Resources,” at http://justaskateacher.com. Here you can see our ideas in our lesson notes and in our lesson videos. We also hope you will join us by sharing your ideas in the “Contact Us” option and by live online “Community of Practice” (COP) sessions via Elluminate.   Try your hand with adaptation, and then share some of your ASK lessons. Check out our COP offerings by selecting "Schedule for live interactive sessions with teachers" on http://justaskateacher.com.

We are available by Email at matthewscc@umsl.edu.

Science Literacy through Science Journalism (SciJourn)

This project aims to develop, pilot, and evaluate a model of instruction that advances the scientific literacy of high school students by involving them in science journalism, and to develop research tools for assessing scientific literacy and engagement. We view scientific literacy as public understanding of and engagement with science and technology, better enabling people to make informed science-related decisions in their personal lives, and participate in science-related democratic debates in public life.

 

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822354
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2008 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Brian Hand, University of Iowa
Full Description: 

For a more in-depth look at Scijourn, visit the project spotlight.

Data Games—Tools and Materials for Learning Data Modeling (Collaborative Research: Konold)

This project is developing software and curriculum materials in which data generated by students playing computer games form the raw material for mathematics classroom activities. Students play a short video game, analyze the game data, conjecture improved strategies, and test their strategies in another round of the game.

Award Number: 
0918653
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Fri, 08/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Jim Hammerman
Full Description: 

Students playing computer games generate large quantities of rich, interesting, highly variable data that mostly evaporates into the ether when the game ends. What if in a classroom setting, data from games students played remained accessible to them for analysis? In software and curriculum materials being developed by the Data Games project at UMass Amherst and KCP Technologies, data generated by students playing computer games form the raw material for mathematics classroom activities. Students play a short video game, analyze the game data, conjecture improved strategies, and test their strategies in another round of the game.

 

The video games are embedded in TinkerPlots and Fathom, two data analysis learning environments widely used in grades 5–8 and 8–14 respectively. The game data appear in graphs in real time, allowing several cycles of strategy improvement in a short time. The games are designed so that these cycles im- prove understanding of specific data modeling and/or mathematics concepts. Lessons will be embedded in LessonLink from Key Curriculum Press to facilitate their integration into standard curricula. The three- year project expands research in students’ understanding of data modeling and their ability to learn mathematical content embedded in data-rich contexts.

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

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?"

Award Number: 
0918560
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Sat, 08/31/2013
Project Evaluator: 
Learning Innovations at WestEd
Full Description: 

The American Museum of Natural History and Michigan State University propose a research and development project focused on DR-K12 challenge #2 and the hypothesis 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. The overarching questions that drive this project are: 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? How are these resources then used, and to what extent and in what ways do they contribute to participants’ learning? How are those resources then used for student learning? Answering these questions will involve the use of existing and new resources, enhancement of existing relationships, and a commitment to systematically collect evidence. Urban Advantage (UA) is a middle school science initiative involving informal science education institutions that provides professional development for teachers and hands-on learning for students to learn how to conduct scientific investigations. This project will (1) refine the UA model by including opportunities to engage in field studies and the use of authentic data sets to investigate the zebra mussel invasion of the Hudson River ecosystem; (2) extend the resources available to help parents, administrators, and teachers understand the nature of scientific work; and (3) integrate a research agenda into UA. Teaching cases will serve as resources to help teachers, students, administrators, and families understand scientific inquiry through research on freshwater ecosystems, and—with that increased understanding—support student learning. Surveys, observations, and assessments will be used to document and understand the effects of professional development on teachers, students, administrators, and parents. The study will analyze longitudinal, multivariate data in order to identify associations between professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators, and parents, their use of resources to support their own learning and that of students, middle school teachers’ instructional practices, and measures of student learning.

Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis (STeLLA) Professional Development Program: Scaling for Effectiveness

This is a full research and development project addressing challenge question: How can promising innovations be successfully implemented, sustained, and scaled in schools and districts? The promising innovation is the Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis (STeLLA) professional development (PD) program, which supports 4th- and 5th-grade teachers in teaching concepts in biology (food webs), physical science (phase changes), and earth science (earth’s changing surface, weather).

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918277
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Sun, 08/31/2014
Project Evaluator: 
McREL
Full Description: 

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

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.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0455813
Funding Period: 
Fri, 04/01/2005 to Thu, 03/31/2011

Geniverse: A Student Collaboratory for Biology Cyberlearning

This project addresses biology teachers and students at the high school level, responding to the exponential increases occurring in biology knowledge today and the need for students to understand the experimental basis behind biology concepts. The project studies the feasibility of engaging students in an environment where they can learn firsthand how science knowledge develops in the fields of bioinformatics and DNA science by performing collaborative, simulated experiments to solve open-ended problems.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0918642
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/15/2009 to Tue, 08/31/2010
Full Description: 

Evolution Readiness: A Modeling Approach

This project uses computer-based models of interacting organisms and their environments to support a learning progression leading to an appreciation of the theory of evolution and evidence that supports it. The project has created a research-based curriculum centered on progressively complex models that exhibit emergent behavior. The project will help improve the teaching of complex scientific topics and provide a reliable means of directly assessing students' conceptual understanding and inquiry skills.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822213
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2008 to Wed, 08/31/2011
Project Evaluator: 
Philip Benincasa

Project Delta: Digital Environments for the Learning and Teaching of Algebra

The purpose of Project Delta is two-fold: (1) to extend an existing library of 17 interacting CD-ROM digital learning environments on numbers and operations by adding an algebra strand, and (2) to evaluate the impact of the new algebra materials on teacher development. Each of the digital environments features classroom sessions that allow for exploration of a mathematics topic, children learning over time, and teachers? instructional techniques.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0822034
Funding Period: 
Fri, 08/15/2008 to Sat, 07/31/2010

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