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Understanding Ebola Virus Disease

This project will develop and disseminate an online educational resource called Understanding Ebola Virus Disease (UEVD). The objective is to provide users with an interactive learning experience that helps them acquire a basic understanding of factors that influence infection, transmission, and management of Ebola virus disease. 

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1518346
Funding Period: 
Sun, 02/01/2015 to Sun, 01/31/2016
Full Description: 

This project will develop and disseminate an online educational resource called Understanding Ebola Virus Disease (UEVD). The objective is to provide users with an interactive learning experience that helps them acquire a basic understanding of factors that influence infection, transmission, and management of Ebola virus disease. Irrational fears about the current Ebola outbreak argue for the development of educational resources that can help people better understand the biology of viruses. The UEVD materials will include a knowledge pretest and posttest. These tests will allow the researchers to identify misconceptions users have about virus infection, and Ebola disease in particular, and enable them to assess how well the UEVD materials address these misconceptions.

The core of the UEVD resource is an interactive model of virus infection. Users can manipulate four to six variables that relate to important concepts associated with viral infection and spread. The virus interactive will focus on the susceptibility of the target population, the transmissibility of the virus, virulence factors, and disease spread. Users will be able to put the biology of the Ebola virus into perspective by comparing and contrasting it to other types of viruses such as measles and influenza. The goal of this educational resource is to help users acquire a basic understanding of virulence factors and transmissibility so that they can appreciate the risks of virus infection more objectively. Armed with such knowledge, users may be less fearful of rare infections like Ebola and more concerned with common infections like influenza, which kills tens of thousands of people annually in the United States. An informed public is also more likely to treat people coping with viral diseases with empathy and compassion.

Teaching Environmental Sustainability - Model My Watershed (Collaborative Research: Staudt)

This project will develop curricula for environmental/geoscience disciplines for high-school classrooms. The Model My Watershed (MMW) v2 app will bring new environmental datasets and geospatial capabilities into the classroom, to provide a cloud-based learning and analysis platform accessible from a web browser on any computer or mobile device, thus overcoming the cost and technical obstacles to integrating Geographic Information System technology in secondary education.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417722
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 to Fri, 08/31/2018
Full Description: 

This project will develop curricula for environmental/geoscience disciplines for high-school classrooms. It will teach a systems approach to problem solving through hands-on activities based on local data and issues. This will provide an opportunity for students to act in their communities while engaging in solving problems they find interesting, and require synthesis of prior learning. The Model My Watershed (MMW) v2 app will bring new environmental datasets and geospatial capabilities into the classroom, to provide a cloud-based learning and analysis platform accessible from a web browser on any computer or mobile device, thus overcoming the cost and technical obstacles to integrating Geographic Information System technology in secondary education. It will also integrate new low-cost environmental sensors that allow students to collect and upload their own data and compare them to data visualized on the new MMW v2. This project will transform the ability of teachers throughout the nation to introduce hands-on geospatial analysis activities in the classroom, to explore a wide range of geographic, social, political and environmental concepts and problems beyond the project's specific curricular focus.

The Next Generation Science Standards state that authentic research experiences are necessary to enhance STEM learning. A combination of computational modeling and data collection and analysis will be integrated into this project to address this need. Placing STEM content within a place- and problem-based framework enhances STEM learning. Students, working in groups, will not only design solutions, they will be required to defend them within the application portal through the creation of multimedia products such as videos, articles and web 2.0 presentations. The research plan tests the overall hypothesis that students are much more likely to develop an interest in careers that require systems thinking and/or spatial thinking, such as environmental sciences, if they are provided with problem-based, place-based, hands-on learning experiences using real data, authentic geospatial analysis tools and models, and opportunities to collect their own supporting data. The MMW v2 web app will include a data visualization tool that streams data related to the modeling application. This database will be modified to integrate student data so teachers and students can easily compare their data to data collected by other students and the government and research data. All data will be easily downloadable so that students can increase the use of real data to support the educational exercises. As a complement to the model-based activities, the project partners will design, manufacture, and distribute a low-cost environmental monitoring device, called the Watershed Tracker. This device will allow students to collect real-world data to enhance their understanding of watershed dynamics. Featuring temperature, light, humidity, and soil moisture sensors, the Watershed Tracker will be designed to connect to tablets and smartphones through the audio jack common to all of these devices.

The Climate Lab: An Innovative Partnership between Climate Research and Middle-School Practice Collaborative Research: Lloyd-Evans)

This project will develop and test an education partnership model focusing on climate change (The Climate Lab) that features inquiry-oriented and place-based learning. The project will develop a curriculum that will provide opportunities for middle school students and teachers to compare their locally collected data with historic data to create unique and powerful learning opportunities.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417332
Funding Period: 
Fri, 08/15/2014 to Mon, 07/31/2017
Full Description: 

This project will develop and test an education partnership model focusing on climate change (The Climate Lab) that features inquiry-oriented and place-based learning. Curriculum development will begin with a prototype program pioneered by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, and a design-based implementation research (DBIR) approach will be used to develop a curriculum that is aligned with key elements of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The project partnership includes scientists at three research centers, education researchers, and middle school teachers. The completed curriculum will provide opportunities for middle school students and teachers to compare their locally collected data with historic data to create unique and powerful learning opportunities. The collaboration between scientists and schools introduces middle school students to local, community citizen science endeavors with multiple stakeholders.

The project is innovative in linking direct exploration of current, local conditions with archived data to examine long-term changes in natural phenomena that cannot be directly perceived. Components of the model being developed will include: a) a standards-aligned curriculum; b) field and lab activities that engage students in collecting and analyzing data on local biotic and abiotic indicators of climate change; c) integration with a current climate science research program; d) support materials for teachers and scientists (print and electronic) and a digital teacher professional development program; and e) a project Website. During development of these curricular components, barriers to implementation of this learning strategy will be identified and studied. The findings of this project have the potential to broadly impact middle school science education practices by introducing a curricular model that links direct data collection with analysis of archived data to study long-term environmental changes that are not directly perceived.

The Climate Lab: An Innovative Partnership between Climate Research and Middle-School Practice Collaborative Research: Drayton)

This project will develop and test an education partnership model focusing on climate change (The Climate Lab) that features inquiry-oriented and place-based learning. The project will develop a curriculum that will provide opportunities for middle school students and teachers to compare their locally collected data with historic data to create unique and powerful learning opportunities. 

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417202
Funding Period: 
Fri, 08/15/2014 to Mon, 07/31/2017
Full Description: 

This project will develop and test an education partnership model focusing on climate change (The Climate Lab) that features inquiry-oriented and place-based learning. Curriculum development will begin with a prototype program pioneered by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, and a design-based implementation research (DBIR) approach will be used to develop a curriculum that is aligned with key elements of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The project partnership includes scientists at three research centers, education researchers, and middle school teachers. The completed curriculum will provide opportunities for middle school students and teachers to compare their locally collected data with historic data to create unique and powerful learning opportunities. The collaboration between scientists and schools introduces middle school students to local, community citizen science endeavors with multiple stakeholders.

The project is innovative in linking direct exploration of current, local conditions with archived data to examine long-term changes in natural phenomena that cannot be directly perceived. Components of the model being developed will include: a) a standards-aligned curriculum; b) field and lab activities that engage students in collecting and analyzing data on local biotic and abiotic indicators of climate change; c) integration with a current climate science research program; d) support materials for teachers and scientists (print and electronic) and a digital teacher professional development program; and e) a project Website. During development of these curricular components, barriers to implementation of this learning strategy will be identified and studied. The findings of this project have the potential to broadly impact middle school science education practices by introducing a curricular model that links direct data collection with analysis of archived data to study long-term environmental changes that are not directly perceived.

 

Teaching Environmental Sustainability - Model My Watershed (Collaborative Research: Marcum-Dietrich)

This project will develop curricula for environmental/geoscience disciplines for high-school classrooms. The Model My Watershed (MMW) v2 app will bring new environmental datasets and geospatial capabilities into the classroom, to provide a cloud-based learning and analysis platform accessible from a web browser on any computer or mobile device, thus overcoming the cost and technical obstacles to integrating Geographic Information System technology in secondary education.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417527
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 to Fri, 08/31/2018
Full Description: 

This project will develop curricula for environmental/geoscience disciplines for high-school classrooms. It will teach a systems approach to problem solving through hands-on activities based on local data and issues. This will provide an opportunity for students to act in their communities while engaging in solving problems they find interesting, and require synthesis of prior learning. The Model My Watershed (MMW) v2 app will bring new environmental datasets and geospatial capabilities into the classroom, to provide a cloud-based learning and analysis platform accessible from a web browser on any computer or mobile device, thus overcoming the cost and technical obstacles to integrating Geographic Information System technology in secondary education. It will also integrate new low-cost environmental sensors that allow students to collect and upload their own data and compare them to data visualized on the new MMW v2. This project will transform the ability of teachers throughout the nation to introduce hands-on geospatial analysis activities in the classroom, to explore a wide range of geographic, social, political and environmental concepts and problems beyond the project's specific curricular focus.

The Next Generation Science Standards state that authentic research experiences are necessary to enhance STEM learning. A combination of computational modeling and data collection and analysis will be integrated into this project to address this need. Placing STEM content within a place- and problem-based framework enhances STEM learning. Students, working in groups, will not only design solutions, they will be required to defend them within the application portal through the creation of multimedia products such as videos, articles and web 2.0 presentations. The research plan tests the overall hypothesis that students are much more likely to develop an interest in careers that require systems thinking and/or spatial thinking, such as environmental sciences, if they are provided with problem-based, place-based, hands-on learning experiences using real data, authentic geospatial analysis tools and models, and opportunities to collect their own supporting data. The MMW v2 web app will include a data visualization tool that streams data related to the modeling application. This database will be modified to integrate student data so teachers and students can easily compare their data to data collected by other students and the government and research data. All data will be easily downloadable so that students can increase the use of real data to support the educational exercises. As a complement to the model-based activities, the project partners will design, manufacture, and distribute a low-cost environmental monitoring device, called the Watershed Tracker. This device will allow students to collect real-world data to enhance their understanding of watershed dynamics. Featuring temperature, light, humidity, and soil moisture sensors, the Watershed Tracker will be designed to connect to tablets and smartphones through the audio jack common to all of these devices.

Teacher Professional Development for Technology-enhanced Inquiry to Foster Students' 21st Century Learning

This project will develop and evaluate a module for use in a 7th grade classroom that promotes student development of 21st Century skills with a particular focus on student development of scientific reasoning. The technology-enhanced curriculum will be designed to engage learners in deep and meaningful investigations to promote student learning of content in parallel with 21st century skills.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417983
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 to Fri, 08/31/2018
Full Description: 

The goal of this Exploratory Design and Development Teaching project is to develop and evaluate a module for use in a 7th grade classroom that promotes student development of 21st Century skills with a particular focus on student development of scientific reasoning. The technology-enhanced curriculum will be designed to engage learners in deep and meaningful investigations to promote student learning of content in parallel with 21st century skills. The module will be designed using principles of inquiry-based learning as well as the principles of universal design for learning (UDL). The motivation behind this project is that it will directly contribute to the limited research on the interventions that impact teachers' capacity to provide high quality 21st century STEM education to all students, with a specific focus on underrepresented minorities and those with disabilities. The classroom setting for which the curriculum will be delivered is within an urban district which includes a large number of minority students and over 20% students with specific learning disabilities. The project will catalyze students' deep understanding of content knowledge while developing 21st century skills in parallel; hence better preparing students for sustainable learning experiences into high school and beyond.

A study will be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the learning modules on classroom practices as well as student learning. A mixed methods design involving multiple measures will provide insights into changes in teachers' content knowledge, teaching practices that include a focus on 21st century learning, and fidelity of use of the TI21 framework for implementation of the learning activities. Pre- and post-testing of students using a scientific reasoning assessment and surveys on attitudes towards STEM, along with validated and widely used concept inventories, will provide further measures. As part of this exploratory project, the design and validity of instruments for use with the targeted population, which includes students with specific learning disabilities, will be further tested. This will include administering some of the assessments through web-based apps to meet the needs of these students. The learning modules, with embedded assessments and web-based apps, will provide an innovative approach in which transferable 21st century skills can be developed and measured. Outcomes of this project will be disseminated throughout the urban school system and therefore have the ability to impact thousands of other students (mostly minorities and many with disabilities) and their science, math, and technology teachers. Project outcomes will also inform the development of future science and/or modules for use in similar urban classroom settings.

Supports for Science and Mathematics Learning in Pre-Kindergarten Dual Language Learners: Designing and Expanding a Professional Development System

SciMath-DLL is an innovative preschool professional development (PD) model that integrates supports for dual language learners (DLLs) with high quality science and mathematics instructional offerings. It engages teachers with workshops, classroom-based coaching, and professional learning communities. Based on initial evidence of promise, the SciMath-DLL project will expand PD offerings to include web-based materials.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417040
Funding Period: 
Tue, 07/01/2014 to Sat, 06/30/2018
Full Description: 

The 4-year project, Supports for Science and Mathematics Learning in Pre-Kindergarten Dual Language Learners: Designing and Expanding a Professional Development System (SciMath-DLL), will address a number of educational challenges. Global society requires citizens and a workforce that are literate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but many U.S. students remain ill prepared in these areas. At the same time, the children who fill U.S. classrooms increasingly speak a non-English home language, with the highest concentration in the early grades. Many young children are also at risk for lack of school readiness in language, literacy, mathematics, and science due to family background factors. Educational efforts to offset early risk factors can be successful, with clear links between high quality early learning experiences and later academic outcomes. SciMath-DLL will help teachers provide effective mathematics and science learning experiences for their students. Early educational support is critical to assure that all students, regardless of socioeconomic or linguistic background, learn the STEM content required to become science and mathematics literate. Converging lines of research suggest that participation in sustained mathematics and science learning activities could enhance the school readiness of preschool dual language learners. Positive effects of combining science inquiry with supports for English-language learning have been identified for older students. For preschoolers, sustained science and math learning opportunities enhance language and pre-literacy skills for children learning one language. Mathematics skills and science knowledge also predict later mathematics, science, and reading achievement. What has not been studied is the extent to which rich science and mathematics experiences in preschool lead to better mathematics and science readiness and improved language skills for preschool DLLs. Because the preschool teaching force is not prepared to support STEM learning or to provide effective supports for DLLs, professional development to improve knowledge and practice in these areas is required before children's learning outcomes can be improved.

SciMath-DLL is an innovative preschool professional development (PD) model that integrates supports for DLLs with high quality science and mathematics instructional offerings. It engages teachers with workshops, classroom-based coaching, and professional learning communities. Development and research activities incorporate cycles of design-expert review-enactment- analysis-redesign; collaboration between researcher-educator teams at all project stages; use of multiple kinds of data and data sources to establish claims; and more traditional, experimental methodologies. Based on initial evidence of promise, the SciMath-DLL project will expand PD offerings to include web-based materials, making the PD more flexible for use in a range of educational settings and training circumstances. An efficacy study will be completed to examine the potential of the SciMath-DLL resources, model, and tools to generate positive effects on teacher attitudes, knowledge, and practice for early mathematics and science and on children's readiness in these domains in settings that serve children learning two languages. By creating a suite of tools that can be used under differing educational circumstances to improve professional knowledge, skill, and practice around STEM, the project increases the number of teachers who are prepared to support children as STEM learners and, thus, the number of children who can be supported as STEM learners.

Professional Development Models and Outcomes for Science Teachers (PDMOST)

The investigators propose to characterize the multitude of approaches currently employed in the professional development of K-12 teachers of science, and to measure the effectiveness of such approaches in increasing teacher knowledge in the sciences. The project will result in a website, conference presentations, and scholarly and professional publications.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417438
Funding Period: 
Mon, 09/01/2014 to Thu, 08/31/2017
Full Description: 

The investigators propose to characterize the multitude of approaches currently employed in the professional development of K-12 teachers of science, and to measure the effectiveness of such approaches in increasing teacher knowledge in the sciences. The project will study 150 professional development programs for teachers of science in grades K-12. The sample will cover grade bands K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Subject matter will include life science (biology), physical science (physics, chemistry), earth and space science. Such programs are funded through competitive federal grants for local implementation (by universities, museums, schools, and others), by state and local governments, by private institutions, and conducted by many federal agencies. To date, there has not been a national inventory and study of the effectiveness of teacher professional development programs in science, using common outcome measures of teacher instructional practice. If successful, the findings from this research will allow professional development providers and policymakers to design more effective teacher professional development programs and should provide a national landscape of teacher professional development in science.

In specific, the researchers will focus on assessing gains in teachers' subject matter knowledge and knowledge of student misconceptions, and will correlate these with professional development program design features. Teachers of students from underrepresented groups will be oversampled to ensure special analyses for this group are possible. Hierarchical linear modeling will be used in analyzing the results. The project will result in a website, conference presentations, and scholarly and professional publications.


Project Videos

2019 STEM for All Video Showcase

Title: Improving Science Teachers' Knowledge through PD

Presenter(s): Susan Sunbury, Cynthia Crockett, & Jacqueline Doyle


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

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. 

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1417838
Funding Period: 
Tue, 07/01/2014 to Fri, 06/30/2017
Full Description: 

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 problem is particularly acute at the elementary level, where many teachers have limited science background and many have not taught science before. The project will collect existing empirical literature for two science topics and synthesize it with an often-overlooked resource -- practice-based knowledge. The resulting knowledge resources will be made available to teachers on a website. The resource will support elementary teachers as they plan for science instruction, and to enable them to productively adapt their own science materials to improve student learning. The project will work with teachers in high minority schools.

The project will contribute to a developing theory of Collective Pedagogical Content Knowledge (C-PCK) which includes the research literature, practitioner literature and collective wisdom of practice. The researchers will seek to understand how C-PCK can be made more useful for teachers. The research questions are: (1) What are the strengths and weaknesses of the knowledge collection and synthesis method? (2) What factors must be taken into account in applying the knowledge collection and synthesis method across science topics? (3) What affordances and limitations does the web-based resource present for teachers primarily, and for teacher educators and instructional materials developers? (4) How does access to content-specific teaching knowledge affect teachers' planning and instruction? Content-specific teaching knowledge will be collected through literature reviews (for empirical knowledge) and a series of iterative, on-line expert panels (to gather practice-based knowledge). The two sources of knowledge will be synthesized for each of the science topics and organized in a web-based resource for teachers. A group of pilot teachers will use the resource as they plan for and teach a unit of instruction on the science topics. Project researchers will observe their instruction and interview the teachers to look for evidence of the resource facilitating their instruction. In addition, researchers will administer assessments to teachers and their students to gauge changes on content knowledge that might be attributable to the resource. Teacher feedback will be used to modify the web-based resource and maximize its usability.

Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards at the State Level: A Conference to Determine the Role of the Earth and Space Sciences Community

This conference is to develop a strategy for increasing the import of teaching Earth and Space Sciences in schools to make students ready for college and careers. The summit brings together key members of the Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) community to identify and devise ways in which they can work together to help states and school districts implement college and career readiness standards.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1440579
Funding Period: 
Tue, 07/01/2014 to Thu, 12/31/2015
Full Description: 

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) propose to host a fall 2014 summit on implementation of standards for college and career readiness at the state level. The summit brings together key members of the Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) community to identify and devise ways in which they can work together to help states and school districts implement college and career readiness standards. A needs assessment is conducted before the summit to determine the top concerns of the stakeholders and a collaborative website is created. At the conference, a collection of standards-congruent ESS educational resources are identified and assembled. The conference report describes concrete guidelines for disseminating these resources to translate the vision and structure of the standards into teaching and learning practice.

A 2.5 day working meeting for 30 experts and stakeholders consists of short plenaries to establish the context for each set of working group sessions. The proposed plenary speakers are Steven Pruitt from Achieve, Michael Wysession, one of the lead writers of the ESS portion of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and panels of science supervisors from states that have and have not adopted the standards. In the working group sessions, conferees identify products and services that the geoscience and geoscience education community can develop to help states implement the ESS portion of the standards. A key component of the Summit is action items to move the agenda of the conference forward in the states, and commitment of the participants to follow through on the various findings of the conference is emphasized. As part of the selection process individuals will be asked for a commitment from the organizations they represent to participate in follow-up actions from the Summit. The conference and its impacts will be measured by an external evaluator

This conference is to develop a strategy for increasing the import of teaching Earth and Space Sciences in schools to make students ready for college and careers.

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