Science

Developing Preservice Elementary Teachers' Ability to Facilitate Goal-Oriented Discussions in Science and Mathematics via the Use of Simulated Classroom Interactions

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In this project, we developed, piloted, and studied the use of a set of performance-based tasks delivered within a simulated classroom environment in order to improve preservice elementary teachers' ability to facilitate argumentation-focused discussions in mathematics and science. We conceptualized these simulated discussions as formative assessment opportunities, and studied how teacher educators made use of them within methods courses to support preservice teachers' learning. We also examined evidence of preservice teacher learning via pre/post measures.

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Developing Learning Environments that Support Molecular-Level Sensemaking

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Our team works with high school chemistry teachers to co-develop a suite of curricular materials that engage students in making sense of chemical phenomena in terms of atomic/molecular behavior. This suite of materials undergoes a regular cycle of development and refinement, guided by teachers’ sense of “what works” when implementing the materials and observations of classroom discourse practices. Our work investigates how to best support teachers as they design learning environments to promote student sensemaking.

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Designing for Science Learning in Schools by Leveraging Participation and the Power of Place through Community and Citizen Science (Collaborative Research: Ballard and Henson)

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This study focuses on youth community action and science in our forests. We address questions about when and where youth cultivate their agency and create change relevant to their lives through environmental science. We explore these questions through a place-based and community-lead, forest monitoring program looking at forest health and fire risk in the wildfire prone Sierra Nevada foothills. This school-based program brings together 3rd through 5th grade teachers, students, local scientists and land managers.

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CAREER: Promoting Equitable and Inclusive STEM Contexts in High School

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In this study, high school students (N = 242) completed measures of classroom inclusivity, perceived teacher discrimination, belonging, STEM classroom engagement and STEM activism orientation. Path analyses revealed direct effects of inclusion and perceived discrimination on STEM activism orientation. Further, findings demonstrated direct effects of inclusion on belonging and on belonging and both STEM classroom engagement and STEM Activism Orientation.
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Building Environmental and Educational Technology Competence and Leadership Among Educators: An Exploration in Virtual Reality Professional Development

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This exploratory project supports the professional development of secondary STEM teachers by providing multiyear training around three specific areas: (1) environmental sciences themed content; (2) technology integration in the classroom, and (3) classroom-based action research within action research communities. Using virtual reality to focus on wetlands and their connection to flooding brings locally relevant STEM concepts in a real-world context that is relatable to minoritized teachers and students living in these areas.

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Supporting Teachers in Responsive Instruction for Developing Expertise in Science (Collaborative Research: Linn)

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STRIDES supports teachers to customize the curriculum to address diverse students' evolving ideas and achieve the multi-dimensional proficiency called for by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). STRIDES catalyzes a new approach to teachers' curriculum customization. STRIDES will improve the evidence teachers have to make customization decisions by collaborating with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to advance natural language processing (NLP) methods.

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InquirySpace 2: Broadening Access to Integrated Science Practices

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Every student should have the chance to experience the exciting practice of science. But far too often, students encounter only highly structured “cookbook” labs in their science classrooms. InquirySpace combines a software environment that integrates sensors, simulations, and data exploration capabilities with instructional guidance, and helps students move from fundamental data analysis and scaffolded experiments to open experiments of their own design.

Co-PI(s): Daniel Damelin and Hee-Sun Lee, Concord Consortium; Sam Gweon, Physics Front

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Improving Multi-dimensional Assessment and Instruction: Building and Sustaining Elementary Science Teachers' Capacity Through Learning Communities (Collaborative Research: Lehman and Pellegrino)

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The NGSA project seeks to better understand how to build and sustain the capacity of elementary science teachers to instruct and formatively assess students in ways that align with the NGSS. We utilize a professional learning model that places instructionally-supportive assessments at the forefront, and centers student discourse on disciplinary knowledge and practices to engage in sensemaking and reasoning. Teacher partners co-develop multi-dimensional assessment tasks and are starting to use them formatively with their students.

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Mobilizing Teachers to Increase Capacity and Broaden Women's Participation in Physics (Collaborative Research: Hazari)

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STEP UP is mobilizing and supporting physics teachers with resources that disrupt narrow perceptions of physics and promote supportive classroom cultures to facilitate physics identity development, particularly for women. Drawing on counternarratives, the lessons/materials highlight broad physics careers pursued by diverse individuals, explicitly discuss the role of bias, and recognize those who have been invisible. The lessons/materials were found to have a positive effect on the future physics intentions of women and minoritized racial/ethnic groups.

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Geological Models for Explorations of Dynamic Earth (GEODE): Integrating the Power of Geodynamic Models in Middle School Earth Science Curriculum

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The goal of the GEODE project is to engage students in explorations around plate tectonics using both real-world data and simulations. The project produced the Seismic Explorer and Tectonic Explorer models and embedded them into a scaffolded online curriculum module that supports students' development of mechanistic and causal explanations around Earth's dynamic plate system and resulting geological formations. GEODE's tools help students connect the plate system to the thermodynamic and gravitational forces below Earth's surface

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