Science

AI-based Assessment in STEM Education Conference

The Framework for K-12 Science Education has set forth an ambitious vision for science learning by integrating disciplinary science ideas, scientific and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts, so that students could develop competence to meet the STEM challenges of the 21st century. Achieving this vision requires transformation of assessment practices from relying on multiple-choice items to performance-based knowledge-in-use tasks.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2138854
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2021 to Sun, 07/31/2022
Full Description: 

The Framework for K-12 Science Education has set forth an ambitious vision for science learning by integrating disciplinary science ideas, scientific and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts, so that students could develop competence to meet the STEM challenges of the 21st century. Achieving this vision requires transformation of assessment practices from relying on multiple-choice items to performance-based knowledge-in-use tasks. Such novel assessment tasks serve the purpose of both engaging students in using knowledge to solve problems and tracking students’ learning progression so that teachers could adjust instruction to meet students’ needs. However, these performance-based constructed-response items often prohibit timely feedback, which, in turn, has hindered science teachers from using these assessments. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has demonstrated great potential to meet this assessment challenge. To tackle this challenge, experts in assessment, AI, and science education will gather for a two-day conference at University of Georgia to generate knowledge of integrating AI in science assessment.

The conference is organized around four themes: (a) AI and Domain Specific Learning Theory; (b) AI and validity theory and assessment design principles; (c) AI and technology integration theory; and (d) AI and pedagogical theory focusing on assessment practices. It allows participants to share theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, as well as research experiences. It can also help identify challenges and future research directions to increase the broad use of AI-based assessments in science education. The conference will be open to other researchers, postdocs, and students via Zoom. It is expected that conference participants establish a network in this emergent area of science assessment. Another outcome of the conference, Applying AI in STEM Assessment, will be published as an edited volume by Harvard Education Press.

Building Insights through Observation: Researching Arts-based Methods for Teaching and Learning with Data

This project will use visualizations from an easily accessible tool from NOAA, Science On a Sphere, to help students develop critical thinking skills and practices required to effectively make meaning from authentic scientific data. The project will use arts-based pedagogies for observing, analyzing, and critiquing visual features of data visualizations to build an understanding of what the data reveal. The project will work with middle school science teachers to develop tools for STEM educators to use these data visualizations effectively.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101310
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Innovations in data collection, infrastructure, and visualization play an important role in modern society. Large, complex datasets are accessible to and shared widely with the public. However, students need to learn how to interpret and reason about visualizations of scientific data. This project will use visualizations from an easily accessible tool from NOAA, Science On a Sphere, to help students develop critical thinking skills and practices required to effectively make meaning from authentic scientific data. The project will use arts-based pedagogies for observing, analyzing, and critiquing visual features of data visualizations to build an understanding of what the data reveal. The project will work with middle school science teachers to develop tools for STEM educators to use these data visualizations effectively. This project focuses on visual thinking skills that have been found to apply in both science and art: describing, wondering, recognizing uncertainty, and interpreting with evidence.

The project will conduct foundational research to understand the ways in which arts-based instructional methods and geospatial data visualization can be successfully applied by science teachers. The research will examine: (1) the ways in which arts-based instructional methods can be successfully applied by STEM teachers; (2) critical elements in the process of learning and applying these techniques to influence teachers’ content, pedagogical, and technological knowledge; and (3) for which transferable data literacy skills these approaches show most promise with children. This project will use a design-based research framework to develop data literacy teaching approaches in partnership with middle school teachers. The research process will include data about teachers’ development and students’ learning about data literacy. Data to be collected include qualitative and quantitative information from teachers and students.

Precipitating Change in Alaskan and Hawaiian Schools: Modeling Mitigation of Coastal Erosion

This project will engage middle school students in place-based coastal erosion investigations that interweave Indigenous knowledge and Western STEM perspectives. Indigenous perspectives will emphasize learning from place and community; Western STEM perspectives will focus on systems and computational thinking.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101198
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Sun, 06/30/2024
Full Description: 

Alaska and Hawaii face similar challenges with threats caused by coastal erosion. This project will engage middle school students in place-based coastal erosion investigations that interweave Indigenous knowledge and Western STEM perspectives. Indigenous perspectives will emphasize learning from place and community. Western STEM perspectives will focus on systems and computational thinking. The project will design and implement a series of classroom investigations using universal design for learning (UDL) principles, creating a glossary, translations for Indigenous languages, and ways to assist students in understanding of Indigenous and Western science terms. The coastal erosion content will be collaboratively piloted, refined, and implemented with middle school teachers and students in Alaska and Hawaii. Project research will build on and refine a learning progression framework that describes how students develop an understanding of coastal erosion that occurs over time. Research will also examine how students make sense of and develop increasingly complex and integrated knowledge and practice in Earth science and computational thinking. Areas of knowledge and practice will include explaining and predicting events and processes in systems and developing solutions to problems. The project’s curriculum and findings will be widely disseminated to researchers and the broader body of Alaskan and Hawaiian schools and teachers, as well as the Indigenous education and science education communities, to share understanding about the project’s model and lessons.

The project will position middle school students in a culturally congruent epistemological stance (student-as-anthropologist), allowing them to build Earth science learning from both Indigenous knowledge as well as Western-style inquiry and promote their ability to apply integrated Earth science, mathematics, and computational thinking skills in the context of coastal erosion. The project will recruit 20 teachers, and the intervention is expected to be integrated into approximately 24 classrooms. Project research and evaluation will investigate how the culturally congruent and scientifically and technologically ambitious instruction prepares students to bring multiple perspectives, including Indigenous and Western science, to study and address socioscientific issues. This project will adopt a design-based implementation research approach to answer three main research questions. The research questions are: 1) What are different ways students make sense of coastal erosion? How do students’ ways of making sense reflect personal and cultural (including Indigenous) funds of knowledge and Western STEM perspectives reflective of Next Generation Science Standards-aligned three-dimensional science knowledge and practice? 2) How do culturally congruent, multi-perspective learning experiences that value both students’ home culture and Western science perspectives relate to changes in students’ science knowledge and practices integrating coastal erosion and computational thinking? 3) How do multi-perspective learning experiences influence the approaches to learning students describe when they encounter a new socioscientific issue?   Data will be analyzed using a mixed methods approach.

Supporting the Implementation of Scientific Modeling Instruction in High School Chemistry and Biology in Rural Schools

High school students in many rural school districts have limited access to advanced STEM coursework and advanced technologies, including high-speed Internet. Rural school districts face difficulties in recruiting and retaining STEM teachers. In many cases, rural STEM teachers need additional training and support. The project will identify these, and other barriers rural teachers face and create professional development for teachers.

Award Number: 
2101590
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

High school students in many rural school districts have limited access to advanced STEM coursework and advanced technologies, including high-speed Internet. Rural school districts face difficulties in recruiting and retaining STEM teachers. In many cases, rural STEM teachers need additional training and support. The project will identify these, and other barriers rural teachers face and create professional development for teachers. The training will be designed to increase their discipline specific knowledge and related skills in engaging students in using models to explore, analyze, assess, and improve their thinking about and knowledge of science. Participating teachers will receive 114 hours of formal professional development in the summer and sustained support from follow-up sessions and an innovative virtual mentoring throughout the academic year. The project will revise biology and chemistry curriculum and support 30-90 teachers annually in rural areas in implementing reform-oriented MI instruction benefiting approximately 25,000 rural students. The project will result in a network of leader teachers who can sustain project initiatives. Online STEM professional development courses and digital tools for rural teachers and teachers will be made widely disseminated. In addition, project resources and research findings will be disseminated via conference presentations and peer-reviewed research journals.

Project research is designed to generate knowledge about the development of rural science teachers' pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and the supports needed as rural teachers implement an approach to teaching called Modeling Instruction (MI). PCK refers to knowledge of and how to teach discipline-specific science concepts. MI is a pedagogical approach where students are actively engaged in using conceptual models that are created and applied to concrete physical, biological, and chemical phenomena to promote their understanding of scientific/mathematical principles. Through longitudinal mixed-methods research, the project will add new knowledge about PCK and MI. The project will investigate the progression of teachers’ PCK associated with the high-level implementation of MI that engages students in science research practices. The research of discipline specific PCK will significantly inform the curriculum and design of preservice and in-service science teacher education programs. The project will also research how various aspects of mentoring (e.g., feedback, interactions, discourse, and the modes and quantity of mentoring activities) support teachers in the effective use of PCK in the classroom. Qualitative research tools will include analysis of videos of teacher implementation of lessons, interviews with teachers focusing on the lessons, focus groups and semi-structured interviews on mentoring experiences, and analysis of teacher mentor-teacher mentee sessions and activity. The Science Instruction Practices Survey will collect quantitative data that will be used to understand each teacher’s implementation of MI, looking at the science practices that teachers in the classroom such as investigation, data collection and analysis, explanation, modeling, and science communication.

Understanding STEM Teaching through Integrated Contexts in Everyday Life (Collaborative Research: Marco-Bujosa)

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in STEM instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101144
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner. Socioscientific issues (SSI) can provide a powerful avenue for promoting the desired kinds of engagement. SSI are debatable and ill-defined problems that have a basis in science but necessarily include moral and ethical choices. SSI for economically disadvantaged, culturally diverse students in urban settings might include, for example, lead paint contamination, poor water or air quality, or the existence of “food deserts.” By integrating locally relevant SSI with the goals of social justice, the Social Justice STEM Pedagogies (SJSP) framework the project uses is intended to support students to use their scientific expertise to be agents of change. SJSP can be potentially transformative for teachers, students, schools, and the communities in which students live. For SJSP to effectively promote STEM learning, however, teachers must learn how to integrate STEM-concepts and practices into the various real-world SSI present in their students’ environment. This collaborative project is designed to implement and evaluate a comprehensive professional development plan for grades 7 –12 STEM teachers from economically disadvantaged school districts in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Teachers will develop ways to incorporate SSI into their instruction that are grounded in standards to foster students’ STEM engagement. The instructional practices enacted by teachers will enhance students’ STEM literacy while utilizing their own knowledge and culture in solving complex and ethically challenging STEM issues, thus promoting students’ abilities to be change agents.

This collaborative research project involves Arcadia University, Mercyhurst University, LaSalle University, Villanova University, and St. Joseph’s University. It is designed to investigate the effectiveness of a professional development (PD) program for STEM teachers to develop their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in teaching SSI and SJSP. Over four years, three cohorts of 25 grades 7-12 teachers will participate in about 200 hours of PD. The SSI and SJSP encompass authentic, complex real-world, STEM-based issues that are directly related to the inequities experienced by students and their communities that students can engage with in the classroom through the use of inquiry-based learning strategies. By promoting students’ engagement in and awareness of the relevance of STEM in everyday life, teacher participants in this PD will foster STEM learning, especially among students who have been historically marginalized from STEM disciplines, and who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The research plan is designed to reveal elements of the PD program that are most effective in supporting teachers’ increased capacity to design and implement units of study that incorporate scientific, social, and discursive elements of SSI. Using predominantly qualitative methods, other outcomes include how teachers’ PCK change towards teaching with SSI/SJSP; what factors support and inhibit teacher’s abilities to promote SSI/SJSP; and how justice-centered STEM lessons help students to develop moral and ethical reasoning, scientific skepticism, STEM inquiry/modeling, and SSI discourse/argumentation.

Understanding STEM Teaching through Integrated Contexts in Everyday Life (Collaborative Research: Johnson)

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in STEM instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101287
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner. Socioscientific issues (SSI) can provide a powerful avenue for promoting the desired kinds of engagement. SSI are debatable and ill-defined problems that have a basis in science but necessarily include moral and ethical choices. SSI for economically disadvantaged, culturally diverse students in urban settings might include, for example, lead paint contamination, poor water or air quality, or the existence of “food deserts.” By integrating locally relevant SSI with the goals of social justice, the Social Justice STEM Pedagogies (SJSP) framework the project uses is intended to support students to use their scientific expertise to be agents of change. SJSP can be potentially transformative for teachers, students, schools, and the communities in which students live. For SJSP to effectively promote STEM learning, however, teachers must learn how to integrate STEM-concepts and practices into the various real-world SSI present in their students’ environment. This collaborative project is designed to implement and evaluate a comprehensive professional development plan for grades 7 –12 STEM teachers from economically disadvantaged school districts in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Teachers will develop ways to incorporate SSI into their instruction that are grounded in standards to foster students’ STEM engagement. The instructional practices enacted by teachers will enhance students’ STEM literacy while utilizing their own knowledge and culture in solving complex and ethically challenging STEM issues, thus promoting students’ abilities to be change agents.

This collaborative research project involves Arcadia University, Mercyhurst University, LaSalle University, Villanova University, and St. Joseph’s University. It is designed to investigate the effectiveness of a professional development (PD) program for STEM teachers to develop their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in teaching SSI and SJSP. Over four years, three cohorts of 25 grades 7-12 teachers will participate in about 200 hours of PD. The SSI and SJSP encompass authentic, complex real-world, STEM-based issues that are directly related to the inequities experienced by students and their communities that students can engage with in the classroom through the use of inquiry-based learning strategies. By promoting students’ engagement in and awareness of the relevance of STEM in everyday life, teacher participants in this PD will foster STEM learning, especially among students who have been historically marginalized from STEM disciplines, and who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The research plan is designed to reveal elements of the PD program that are most effective in supporting teachers’ increased capacity to design and implement units of study that incorporate scientific, social, and discursive elements of SSI. Using predominantly qualitative methods, other outcomes include how teachers’ PCK change towards teaching with SSI/SJSP; what factors support and inhibit teacher’s abilities to promote SSI/SJSP; and how justice-centered STEM lessons help students to develop moral and ethical reasoning, scientific skepticism, STEM inquiry/modeling, and SSI discourse/argumentation.

Understanding STEM Teaching through Integrated Contexts in Everyday Life (Collaborative Research: Richardson)

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in STEM instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101324
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner. Socioscientific issues (SSI) can provide a powerful avenue for promoting the desired kinds of engagement. SSI are debatable and ill-defined problems that have a basis in science but necessarily include moral and ethical choices. SSI for economically disadvantaged, culturally diverse students in urban settings might include, for example, lead paint contamination, poor water or air quality, or the existence of “food deserts.” By integrating locally relevant SSI with the goals of social justice, the Social Justice STEM Pedagogies (SJSP) framework the project uses is intended to support students to use their scientific expertise to be agents of change. SJSP can be potentially transformative for teachers, students, schools, and the communities in which students live. For SJSP to effectively promote STEM learning, however, teachers must learn how to integrate STEM-concepts and practices into the various real-world SSI present in their students’ environment. This collaborative project is designed to implement and evaluate a comprehensive professional development plan for grades 7 –12 STEM teachers from economically disadvantaged school districts in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Teachers will develop ways to incorporate SSI into their instruction that are grounded in standards to foster students’ STEM engagement. The instructional practices enacted by teachers will enhance students’ STEM literacy while utilizing their own knowledge and culture in solving complex and ethically challenging STEM issues, thus promoting students’ abilities to be change agents.

This collaborative research project involves Arcadia University, Mercyhurst University, LaSalle University, Villanova University, and St. Joseph’s University. It is designed to investigate the effectiveness of a professional development (PD) program for STEM teachers to develop their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in teaching SSI and SJSP. Over four years, three cohorts of 25 grades 7-12 teachers will participate in about 200 hours of PD. The SSI and SJSP encompass authentic, complex real-world, STEM-based issues that are directly related to the inequities experienced by students and their communities that students can engage with in the classroom through the use of inquiry-based learning strategies. By promoting students’ engagement in and awareness of the relevance of STEM in everyday life, teacher participants in this PD will foster STEM learning, especially among students who have been historically marginalized from STEM disciplines, and who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The research plan is designed to reveal elements of the PD program that are most effective in supporting teachers’ increased capacity to design and implement units of study that incorporate scientific, social, and discursive elements of SSI. Using predominantly qualitative methods, other outcomes include how teachers’ PCK change towards teaching with SSI/SJSP; what factors support and inhibit teacher’s abilities to promote SSI/SJSP; and how justice-centered STEM lessons help students to develop moral and ethical reasoning, scientific skepticism, STEM inquiry/modeling, and SSI discourse/argumentation.

Understanding STEM Teaching through Integrated Contexts in Everyday Life (Collaborative Research: Macalalag)

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in STEM instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101395
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner. Socioscientific issues (SSI) can provide a powerful avenue for promoting the desired kinds of engagement. SSI are debatable and ill-defined problems that have a basis in science but necessarily include moral and ethical choices. SSI for economically disadvantaged, culturally diverse students in urban settings might include, for example, lead paint contamination, poor water or air quality, or the existence of “food deserts.” By integrating locally relevant SSI with the goals of social justice, the Social Justice STEM Pedagogies (SJSP) framework the project uses is intended to support students to use their scientific expertise to be agents of change. SJSP can be potentially transformative for teachers, students, schools, and the communities in which students live. For SJSP to effectively promote STEM learning, however, teachers must learn how to integrate STEM-concepts and practices into the various real-world SSI present in their students’ environment. This collaborative project is designed to implement and evaluate a comprehensive professional development plan for grades 7 –12 STEM teachers from economically disadvantaged school districts in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Teachers will develop ways to incorporate SSI into their instruction that are grounded in standards to foster students’ STEM engagement. The instructional practices enacted by teachers will enhance students’ STEM literacy while utilizing their own knowledge and culture in solving complex and ethically challenging STEM issues, thus promoting students’ abilities to be change agents.

This collaborative research project involves Arcadia University, Mercyhurst University, LaSalle University, Villanova University, and St. Joseph’s University. It is designed to investigate the effectiveness of a professional development (PD) program for STEM teachers to develop their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in teaching SSI and SJSP. Over four years, three cohorts of 25 grades 7-12 teachers will participate in about 200 hours of PD. The SSI and SJSP encompass authentic, complex real-world, STEM-based issues that are directly related to the inequities experienced by students and their communities that students can engage with in the classroom through the use of inquiry-based learning strategies. By promoting students’ engagement in and awareness of the relevance of STEM in everyday life, teacher participants in this PD will foster STEM learning, especially among students who have been historically marginalized from STEM disciplines, and who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The research plan is designed to reveal elements of the PD program that are most effective in supporting teachers’ increased capacity to design and implement units of study that incorporate scientific, social, and discursive elements of SSI. Using predominantly qualitative methods, other outcomes include how teachers’ PCK change towards teaching with SSI/SJSP; what factors support and inhibit teacher’s abilities to promote SSI/SJSP; and how justice-centered STEM lessons help students to develop moral and ethical reasoning, scientific skepticism, STEM inquiry/modeling, and SSI discourse/argumentation.

Teacher Collaborative for Culturally Relevant Mathematics and Science Curricula

Culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) is a framework that puts students and their experiences at the center of teaching. Culturally relevant math and science teaching (CRMST), more specifically, describes equitable science and math teaching practices that support student success in schools. This project involves elementary teachers in a 3-day conference focusing on CRP and CRMST. The conference is designed to form a teacher collaborative to share experiences and resources, learn from one another, and create their own culturally relevant science and math units for use in their classrooms.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101532
Funding Period: 
Tue, 06/15/2021 to Tue, 05/31/2022
Full Description: 

To be effective, teachers need a strong theoretical understanding of the frameworks that support success for all students, especially those students historically underserved by schools. Culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) is a framework that puts students and their experiences at the center of teaching. Culturally relevant math and science teaching (CRMST), more specifically, describes equitable science and math teaching practices that support student success in schools. This project involves elementary teachers in a 3-day conference focusing on CRP and CRMST. The conference is designed to form a teacher collaborative to share experiences and resources, learn from one another, and create their own culturally relevant science and math units for use in their classrooms. To boost teacher learning, the conference includes a variety of workshops and activities led by local and national content area experts, teacher educators, and STEM teacher-leaders who use culturally relevant science/math curricula in their classrooms. In the year following the conference, teachers will be strategically supported to continue designing and implementing CRMST through monthly teacher collaborative meetings and in-classroom support. At the end of the project year, teachers will participate in a public curriculum fair that showcases their projects and allows them to share what they have learned.

The research component of this project will use culturally relevant pedagogy and a framework that describes trajectories of development for CRMST as theoretical and analytical frameworks. In particular, the latter framework describes levels of engagement with key ideas from CRP and attends to, for example, whether teachers engage with transformative decision making, grapple with issues from an individual or structural perspective, and recognize tensions and discomfort in their learnings about CRMST. The research will focus on learning more about how teachers benefit from collaborative opportunities and how they develop understandings about CRMST.  Data sources will include: culturally relevant mathematics and science curricula (CR-MASC) units, classroom observations, field notes, and surveys collected from the teacher participants. Findings about practices and structures that support teachers’ movement towards CRMST, as well as exemplary CR-MASC units, will contribute to research and practice in teacher education aimed at improving science and math learning experiences for marginalized learners.

Accessible Computational Thinking in Elementary Science Classes within and across Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Contexts (Collaborative Research: Nelson)

This research project aims to enhance elementary teacher education in science and computational thinking pedagogy through the use of Culturally Relevant Teaching, i.e. teaching in ways that are relevant to students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The project will support 60 elementary teachers in summer professional development and consistent learning opportunities during the school year to learn about and enact culturally relevant computational thinking into their science instruction.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101039
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/15/2021 to Wed, 07/31/2024
Full Description: 

Currently, students who are white, affluent, and identify as male tend to develop a greater interest in and pursuit of science and computing-related careers compared to their Black, Latinx, Native American, and female-identifying peers. Yet, science, computing, and computational thinking drive societal decision-making and problem-solving. The lack of cultural and racial diversity in science and computing-related careers can lead to societal systems and decision-making structures that fail to consider a wide range of perspectives and expertise. Teachers play a critical role in preparing students to develop these skills and succeed in a technological and scientific world. For this reason, it is crucial to investigate how teachers can help culturally and linguistically diverse students develop a greater understanding of and interest in science and computers. This research project aims to enhance elementary teacher education in science and computational thinking pedagogy through the use of Culturally Relevant Teaching, i.e. teaching in ways that are relevant to students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The project will support 60 elementary teachers in summer professional development and consistent learning opportunities during the school year to learn about and enact culturally relevant computational thinking into their science instruction. In doing so, the project aims to increase both the quantity and quality of computing experiences for all elementary students and support NSF’s commitment in broadening participation in the STEM workforce. The project will also produce resources, measures, and tools to support elementary teachers to do this kind of work, which will be shared with other STEM researchers and teacher educators.

The goal of this research project is to design and promote teaching practices that integrate computational thinking in the elementary science classroom in culturally relevant ways. This project will seek to empower practicing elementary teachers’ approaches to meaningfully and effectively integrate and adapt computational thinking into their regular science teaching practice so that all students can access the curriculum. It will also explore the impact of these approaches on student learning and self-efficacy. The scope of this project will include working with multiple highly distinct school settings in Maryland, Arizona, and Washington DC across three years, reaching approximately 60 elementary teachers and 1,200 students. To achieve the project objectives, the research team will leverage concurrent mixed methods approaches that include teacher and student interviews, reflections, observations, descriptive case study reports as well as regression and multilevel modeling. The project’s findings will inform the fields’ understanding of: (a) teachers’ conceptualization of computational thinking; (b) the barriers elementary teachers encounter when trying to integrate computational thinking with culturally relevant teaching practices; (c) the types of support that are effective in teacher professional development experiences  and throughout the school year; and (d) the development of a cohort of teachers that can maintain integration efforts in different districts.

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