Elementary School

Paving the Way for Fractions: Identifying Foundational Concepts in First Grade (Collaborative Research: Newcombe)

The goal of this project is to investigate the extent to which individual differences in informal fraction-related knowledge in first-grade children are associated with short- and longer-term fractions and math outcomes, and to see whether there is a causal link between level of informal fraction-related knowledge and the ability to profit from fractions instruction that directly builds on this knowledge.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2000424
Funding Period: 
Mon, 06/01/2020 to Fri, 05/31/2024
Full Description: 

Although fractions represent a crucial topic in early childhood education, many students develop only a tenuous grasp of fraction concepts, even after several years of fraction instruction that is aligned with current standards. The goal of this project, led by a team of researchers at the University of Delaware and Temple University, is to answer important questions about the informal understandings of fractions young children have before they come to school and what their relations are to fraction learning in more formal instructional settings. Proficiency with fractions dramatically increases the likelihood of students succeeding in math, which in turn increases participation in the STEM workforce. Importantly, large individual differences in fraction understandings are apparent at the start of fractions instruction in the intermediate grades. Early fraction misunderstandings cascade into more severe math weaknesses in later grades, especially when instruction may shift abruptly from whole numbers to fractions. There is a critical need to understand the roots of individual differences that arise before formal instruction takes place. Young children possess important informal fraction understandings before they come to school, but the range of these abilities and their role in formal fraction learning and development is not well understood. The goal of this project is: a) to investigate the extent to which individual differences in informal fraction-related knowledge in first-grade children are associated with short- and longer-term fractions and math outcomes; and b) to see whether there is a causal link between level of informal fraction-related knowledge and the ability to profit from fractions instruction that directly builds on this knowledge. The findings from the project hold promise for informing early childhood educators how fractions can be incorporated in the first-grade curriculum in new and meaningful ways. Though the findings should be beneficial to all students, the project will specifically target members of groups underrepresented in STEM fields, including ethnic and racial minority and low-income students.

The project design includes both an observational study and an experimental study. The observational study will: (1) document individual differences in informal fraction-related knowledge in first grade; (2) determine concurrent relations between this informal knowledge and general cognitive and whole number competencies; and (3) examine whether informal fraction-related knowledge at the beginning of first grade uniquely predicts math outcomes at the end. The experimental study will explore the extent to which first graders' informal and formal fraction concepts can be affected by training. The researchers will test whether training on the number line, which is continuous and closely aligned with the mental representation of the magnitude of all real numbers, will help students capitalize on their informal fraction understandings of proportionality, scaling, and equal sharing as well as their experience with integers to learn key fraction concepts. Together, the synergistic studies will pinpoint the role informal fraction knowledge in learning key fraction concepts. All data will be collected in Delaware schools serving socioeconomically and ethnically diverse populations of students. Primary measures include assessments of informal fraction knowledge (proportional reasoning, spatial scaling, equal sharing), executive functioning, vocabulary, whole number knowledge, whole number/fraction number line estimation, formal fraction knowledge, and broad mathematics achievement (calculation, fluency, applied problems).

Understanding the Role of Lesson Study in K-12 Mathematics and Science Teacher Education

This conference will shed light on how mathematics and science teacher educators are currently using lesson study to prepare pre-service teachers. The project will improve teacher educators' understanding of how lesson study can be optimized to teach pre-service teachers which will help bring this technique to the future teachers in their programs.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2010137
Funding Period: 
Mon, 06/15/2020 to Mon, 05/31/2021
Full Description: 

This conference will shed light on how mathematics and science teacher educators are currently using lesson study to prepare pre-service teachers. Lesson study is a structured process for teachers to study content and curriculum, carefully plan lessons to test a researchable question about student learning, teach the lesson in front of other professionals who help gather data, and use that data to evaluate the efficacy of the instruction for the students. With its focus on researching the connection between lesson enactment and student learning, lesson study contains structures for connecting practice-based teacher education to schools and classrooms. By evaluating the efficacy of the instruction, the outcomes, positive or negative, can be applied to other relevant instruction. The use of lesson study in college classes for pre-service teachers is relatively new in the United States, but it is becoming more popular. Because lesson study has been used primarily for in-service professional development of teachers, little is known about how it can be optimally employed for pre-service teacher education. This project will improve teacher educators' understanding of how lesson study can be optimized to teach pre-service teachers which will help bring this technique to the future teachers in their programs. When pre-service teachers are better prepared, high quality mathematics and science instruction may be expanded to more schools, giving more K-12 students improved opportunities to learn these subjects.

This project will support twenty-four mathematics and science teacher educators to collaborate in identifying their pedagogical goals for using lesson study and the enabling and constraining factors for its implementation that they perceive. Given that universities and schools have variance in their structures and focus, teacher educators will identify any modifications they have made to the lesson study process considering their context. By collaboratively identifying pedagogical goals, enabling and constraining implementation factors, and evidence-based adjustments to the lesson study process, this project will clarify the lesson study practices of the participants. The project will yield an edited book for other teacher educators to deploy lesson study in their teacher education programs, building from what is currently known and setting a trajectory for future pre-service teacher lesson study and research. Additionally, the project will establish a baseline network of teacher educators using lesson study within teacher education that can be built upon in the future.

Synchronous Online Video-Based Development for Rural Mathematics Coaches (Collaborative Research: Amador)

This project will create a fully online video-based model for mathematics teacher professional development focused on supporting mathematics coaches in rural contexts, building on the investigators' previous work focused on online professional learning opportunities for mathematics teachers in rural contexts.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2006353
Funding Period: 
Fri, 05/15/2020 to Tue, 04/30/2024
Full Description: 

Mathematics coaching is a research-based method to improve teacher quality, yet there is little research on teaching and coaching mathematics in rural contexts. In addition, mathematics coaches in rural contexts frequently work in isolation with little access to professional learning opportunities to support their coaching practice. This project will create a fully online video-based model for mathematics teacher professional development focused on supporting mathematics coaches in rural contexts, building on the investigators' previous work focused on online professional learning opportunities for mathematics teachers in rural contexts. Results from the previous project focused on rural teachers and their coaches show that the professional development model increased connections between what teachers notice about student thinking and broader principles of teaching and learning, that teachers were able to enact stronger levels of ambitious mathematics instruction, and that teachers who received coaching showed a stronger focus on math content and instructional practice. This extension of the model to coaches includes an online content-focused coaching course, cycles of one-on-one video-based coaching, and an online video club to analyze coaching practice. The video clubs will be structured as a graduated model that will begin with facilitation by mentor coaches and move into coach participants facilitating their own sessions.

Three cohorts of 12 coach participants will be recruited, with one cohort launching each year. In the first year, coaches will participate in four 2-hour synchronous content-focused course meetings, two coaching cycles with a mentor coach, and four video club meetings. In the second year, cohorts will conduct and facilitate four video club meetings. Research on impact follows a design-based model, with iterative cycles of design and revision of the online model. An ongoing analysis of 15-20% of the data collected each year will be used to inform revisions to the model from year to year, with fuller data analysis ongoing throughout the project. Participating coaches will be engaged in a noticing interview and surveys to assess changes in their perceptions and practices as coaches. Each coach participant will record one coaching interaction as data to assess changes in coaching practices. Patterns of participation and artifacts from the online course will be analyzed. Coaching cycle meetings and video club meetings will be recorded and transcribed. The Learning to Notice framework will be used as an analytical lens for describing changes in coaching practice.

The Discovery Research preK-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Synchronous Online Video-Based Development for Rural Mathematics Coaches (Collaborative Research: Choppin)

This project will create a fully online video-based model for mathematics teacher professional development focused on supporting mathematics coaches in rural contexts, building on the investigators' previous work focused on online professional learning opportunities for mathematics teachers in rural contexts.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2006263
Funding Period: 
Fri, 05/15/2020 to Tue, 04/30/2024
Full Description: 

Mathematics coaching is a research-based method to improve teacher quality, yet there is little research on teaching and coaching mathematics in rural contexts. In addition, mathematics coaches in rural contexts frequently work in isolation with little access to professional learning opportunities to support their coaching practice. This project will create a fully online video-based model for mathematics teacher professional development focused on supporting mathematics coaches in rural contexts, building on the investigators' previous work focused on online professional learning opportunities for mathematics teachers in rural contexts. Results from the previous project focused on rural teachers and their coaches show that the professional development model increased connections between what teachers notice about student thinking and broader principles of teaching and learning, that teachers were able to enact stronger levels of ambitious mathematics instruction, and that teachers who received coaching showed a stronger focus on math content and instructional practice. This extension of the model to coaches includes an online content-focused coaching course, cycles of one-on-one video-based coaching, and an online video club to analyze coaching practice. The video clubs will be structured as a graduated model that will begin with facilitation by mentor coaches and move into coach participants facilitating their own sessions.

Three cohorts of 12 coach participants will be recruited, with one cohort launching each year. In the first year, coaches will participate in four 2-hour synchronous content-focused course meetings, two coaching cycles with a mentor coach, and four video club meetings. In the second year, cohorts will conduct and facilitate four video club meetings. Research on impact follows a design-based model, with iterative cycles of design and revision of the online model. An ongoing analysis of 15-20% of the data collected each year will be used to inform revisions to the model from year to year, with fuller data analysis ongoing throughout the project. Participating coaches will be engaged in a noticing interview and surveys to assess changes in their perceptions and practices as coaches. Each coach participant will record one coaching interaction as data to assess changes in coaching practices. Patterns of participation and artifacts from the online course will be analyzed. Coaching cycle meetings and video club meetings will be recorded and transcribed. The Learning to Notice framework will be used as an analytical lens for describing changes in coaching practice.

The Discovery Research preK-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Place-Based Learning for Elementary Science at Scale (PeBLES2)

To support equitable access to place-based science learning opportunities, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance in collaboration with BSCS Science Learning, will develop and test a model to support 3rd-5th grade teachers in incorporating locally or culturally relevant place-based phenomena into rigorously tested curricular units that meet the expectations of the NGSS. The project team will develop two units that could be used in any region across the country with built-in opportunities and embedded supports for teachers to purposefully adapt curriculum to include local phenomena.

Award Number: 
2009613
Funding Period: 
Fri, 05/15/2020 to Tue, 04/30/2024
Full Description: 

This project investigates how to design instructional resources and supporting professional learning that value rigor and standardization while at the same time creating experiences that help students understand their worlds by connecting to local phenomena, communities, and cultures. Currently, many instructional materials designed for widespread use do not connect to local phenomena, while units that do incorporate local phenomena are often developed from the ground up by community members, requiring extensive time and resources.  To support equitable access to place-based science learning opportunities, the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance in collaboration with BSCS Science Learning, will develop and test a model to support 3rd-5th grade teachers in incorporating locally or culturally relevant place-based phenomena into rigorously tested units that meet the expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The project team will develop two units and associated professional learning that could be used in any region across the country with built-in opportunities for teachers to purposefully adapt curriculum to include local phenomena.

A design based research approach will be used to: 1) iteratively design, test, and revise, two locally adaptable instructional resource packages for Grades 3-5 science; 2) examine how teachers apply unit resources and professional learning experiences to incorporate local phenomena into the curriculum and their teaching; and 3) examine how the process of curriculum adaptation can support teacher understanding of the science ideas and phenomena within the units, teacher agency and self-efficacy beliefs in science teaching, and student perceptions of relevance and interest in science learning. Participating teachers will range from rural and urban settings in California, Colorado, and Maine. Data sources will include instructional logs, teacher surveys, and student electronic exit tickets from 50 classrooms per unit as well as teacher interviews, classroom observations, and student focus groups from six exemplar case study teachers per unit. Evaluation of the project will focus on monitoring the (1) quality of the research and development components, (2) quality of program implementation to inform program improvement and future implementation, and (3) potential of scaling up the program to other sites and organizations. The design and research from this project will advance the field’s knowledge about how to design instructional materials and professional learning experiences that meet the expectations of the NGSS while also empowering teachers to adapt materials in productive ways, drawing on locally or culturally relevant phenomena.

Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling (Collaborative Research: Aguirre)

Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling is a teacher PD project focused on strengthening K-5 teaching with mathematics modeling. Building on previous foundational work around mathematics modeling and equity, this project will bring together equity oriented teaching practices and mathematical modeling to design and research the impact of a blended PD program on teacher practice. The project will include video-enhanced reflection and online mentoring in addition to face-to-face components of PD.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2008997
Funding Period: 
Fri, 05/15/2020 to Tue, 04/30/2024
Full Description: 

Students bring many mathematical assets to the classroom from their life experiences in their cultures and communities, particularly with respect to being able to model real-world situations in their everyday lives with mathematics. Many equity-related challenges in students' communities can be understood through the use of mathematics and specifically the use of mathematical modeling (the analysis of complex real-world situations using mathematical resources and tools). Supporting teachers to make use of mathematical modeling in the elementary classroom to advance issues of equity will require targeted teacher professional development (PD). Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling is a teacher PD project focused on strengthening K-5 teaching with mathematics modeling. Building on previous foundational work around mathematics modeling and equity, this project will bring together equity oriented teaching practices and mathematical modeling to design and research the impact of a blended PD program on teacher practice. The project will include video-enhanced reflection and online mentoring in addition to face-to-face components of PD. Using five pivotal spaces for elementary mathematics modeling as a framework, the project will explore the ways in which tools and structures that support practices aligned with pivotal spaces in mathematics modeling lessons can help teachers advance equitable participation and develop student competencies in mathematics modeling. The project will engage in cycles of design-based implementation research (DBIR) to study the relationships between features of the PD and changes in teacher practice, understandings, and dispositions.

The project will deploy a blended PD model that includes face-to-face sessions, coaching, and video-based reflection. Three DBIR cycles will be undertaken, starting with case study-based design cycles, focused PD cycles facilitated by project staff, and full-scale PD cycles facilitated by teacher leaders. Sites in four states have been recruited that represent a wide range of contexts and student demographics. Six professional learning modules related to elementary math modeling will be created. The project will use the lesson observation protocol known as M2C3-Scan to assess changes in teacher practice, conduct student pre and post assessments of mathematical modeling competencies for students in grades 3-5 and formative assessments of mathematical modeling competencies for all students, and assess beliefs and confidence of teachers teaching mathematical modeling. The project team will also interview teachers, collect implementation logs, and use a teacher-annotated video reflection platform to analyze changes in classroom practice. Repeated measures analyses will be conducted on student learning data, with cycles of qualitative analyses related to understand changes in teacher practices, competencies, and beliefs.

The Discovery Research preK-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling (Collaborative Research: Carlson)

Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling is a teacher PD project focused on strengthening K-5 teaching with mathematics modeling. Building on previous foundational work around mathematics modeling and equity, this project will bring together equity oriented teaching practices and mathematical modeling to design and research the impact of a blended PD program on teacher practice. The project will include video-enhanced reflection and online mentoring in addition to face-to-face components of PD.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2010202
Funding Period: 
Fri, 05/15/2020 to Tue, 04/30/2024
Full Description: 

Students bring many mathematical assets to the classroom from their life experiences in their cultures and communities, particularly with respect to being able to model real-world situations in their everyday lives with mathematics. Many equity-related challenges in students' communities can be understood through the use of mathematics and specifically the use of mathematical modeling (the analysis of complex real-world situations using mathematical resources and tools). Supporting teachers to make use of mathematical modeling in the elementary classroom to advance issues of equity will require targeted teacher professional development (PD). Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling is a teacher PD project focused on strengthening K-5 teaching with mathematics modeling. Building on previous foundational work around mathematics modeling and equity, this project will bring together equity oriented teaching practices and mathematical modeling to design and research the impact of a blended PD program on teacher practice. The project will include video-enhanced reflection and online mentoring in addition to face-to-face components of PD. Using five pivotal spaces for elementary mathematics modeling as a framework, the project will explore the ways in which tools and structures that support practices aligned with pivotal spaces in mathematics modeling lessons can help teachers advance equitable participation and develop student competencies in mathematics modeling. The project will engage in cycles of design-based implementation research (DBIR) to study the relationships between features of the PD and changes in teacher practice, understandings, and dispositions.

The project will deploy a blended PD model that includes face-to-face sessions, coaching, and video-based reflection. Three DBIR cycles will be undertaken, starting with case study-based design cycles, focused PD cycles facilitated by project staff, and full-scale PD cycles facilitated by teacher leaders. Sites in four states have been recruited that represent a wide range of contexts and student demographics. Six professional learning modules related to elementary math modeling will be created. The project will use the lesson observation protocol known as M2C3-Scan to assess changes in teacher practice, conduct student pre and post assessments of mathematical modeling competencies for students in grades 3-5 and formative assessments of mathematical modeling competencies for all students, and assess beliefs and confidence of teachers teaching mathematical modeling. The project team will also interview teachers, collect implementation logs, and use a teacher-annotated video reflection platform to analyze changes in classroom practice. Repeated measures analyses will be conducted on student learning data, with cycles of qualitative analyses related to understand changes in teacher practices, competencies, and beliefs.

The Discovery Research preK-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling (Collaborative Research: Suh)

Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling is a teacher PD project focused on strengthening K-5 teaching with mathematics modeling. Building on previous foundational work around mathematics modeling and equity, this project will bring together equity oriented teaching practices and mathematical modeling to design and research the impact of a blended PD program on teacher practice. The project will include video-enhanced reflection and online mentoring in addition to face-to-face components of PD.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2010269
Funding Period: 
Fri, 05/15/2020 to Tue, 04/30/2024
Full Description: 

Students bring many mathematical assets to the classroom from their life experiences in their cultures and communities, particularly with respect to being able to model real-world situations in their everyday lives with mathematics. Many equity-related challenges in students' communities can be understood through the use of mathematics and specifically the use of mathematical modeling (the analysis of complex real-world situations using mathematical resources and tools). Supporting teachers to make use of mathematical modeling in the elementary classroom to advance issues of equity will require targeted teacher professional development (PD). Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling is a teacher PD project focused on strengthening K-5 teaching with mathematics modeling. Building on previous foundational work around mathematics modeling and equity, this project will bring together equity oriented teaching practices and mathematical modeling to design and research the impact of a blended PD program on teacher practice. The project will include video-enhanced reflection and online mentoring in addition to face-to-face components of PD. Using five pivotal spaces for elementary mathematics modeling as a framework, the project will explore the ways in which tools and structures that support practices aligned with pivotal spaces in mathematics modeling lessons can help teachers advance equitable participation and develop student competencies in mathematics modeling. The project will engage in cycles of design-based implementation research (DBIR) to study the relationships between features of the PD and changes in teacher practice, understandings, and dispositions.

The project will deploy a blended PD model that includes face-to-face sessions, coaching, and video-based reflection. Three DBIR cycles will be undertaken, starting with case study-based design cycles, focused PD cycles facilitated by project staff, and full-scale PD cycles facilitated by teacher leaders. Sites in four states have been recruited that represent a wide range of contexts and student demographics. Six professional learning modules related to elementary math modeling will be created. The project will use the lesson observation protocol known as M2C3-Scan to assess changes in teacher practice, conduct student pre and post assessments of mathematical modeling competencies for students in grades 3-5 and formative assessments of mathematical modeling competencies for all students, and assess beliefs and confidence of teachers teaching mathematical modeling. The project team will also interview teachers, collect implementation logs, and use a teacher-annotated video reflection platform to analyze changes in classroom practice. Repeated measures analyses will be conducted on student learning data, with cycles of qualitative analyses related to understand changes in teacher practices, competencies, and beliefs.

The Discovery Research preK-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling (Collaborative Research: Turner)

Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling is a teacher PD project focused on strengthening K-5 teaching with mathematics modeling. Building on previous foundational work around mathematics modeling and equity, this project will bring together equity oriented teaching practices and mathematical modeling to design and research the impact of a blended PD program on teacher practice. The project will include video-enhanced reflection and online mentoring in addition to face-to-face components of PD.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2010178
Funding Period: 
Fri, 05/15/2020 to Tue, 04/30/2024
Full Description: 

Students bring many mathematical assets to the classroom from their life experiences in their cultures and communities, particularly with respect to being able to model real-world situations in their everyday lives with mathematics. Many equity-related challenges in students' communities can be understood through the use of mathematics and specifically the use of mathematical modeling (the analysis of complex real-world situations using mathematical resources and tools). Supporting teachers to make use of mathematical modeling in the elementary classroom to advance issues of equity will require targeted teacher professional development (PD). Advancing Equity and Strengthening Teaching with Elementary Mathematical Modeling is a teacher PD project focused on strengthening K-5 teaching with mathematics modeling. Building on previous foundational work around mathematics modeling and equity, this project will bring together equity oriented teaching practices and mathematical modeling to design and research the impact of a blended PD program on teacher practice. The project will include video-enhanced reflection and online mentoring in addition to face-to-face components of PD. Using five pivotal spaces for elementary mathematics modeling as a framework, the project will explore the ways in which tools and structures that support practices aligned with pivotal spaces in mathematics modeling lessons can help teachers advance equitable participation and develop student competencies in mathematics modeling. The project will engage in cycles of design-based implementation research (DBIR) to study the relationships between features of the PD and changes in teacher practice, understandings, and dispositions.

The project will deploy a blended PD model that includes face-to-face sessions, coaching, and video-based reflection. Three DBIR cycles will be undertaken, starting with case study-based design cycles, focused PD cycles facilitated by project staff, and full-scale PD cycles facilitated by teacher leaders. Sites in four states have been recruited that represent a wide range of contexts and student demographics. Six professional learning modules related to elementary math modeling will be created. The project will use the lesson observation protocol known as M2C3-Scan to assess changes in teacher practice, conduct student pre and post assessments of mathematical modeling competencies for students in grades 3-5 and formative assessments of mathematical modeling competencies for all students, and assess beliefs and confidence of teachers teaching mathematical modeling. The project team will also interview teachers, collect implementation logs, and use a teacher-annotated video reflection platform to analyze changes in classroom practice. Repeated measures analyses will be conducted on student learning data, with cycles of qualitative analyses related to understand changes in teacher practices, competencies, and beliefs.

The Discovery Research preK-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools. Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Responding to a Global Pandemic: The Role of K-12 Science Teachers

This project will support a national research study on how teachers are helping students respond to COVID-19. The findings will inform the development of curriculum materials for teaching about COVID-19 and help science teachers to adapt their instruction as they help to fulfill a critical public health function. This study will enable a better understanding of the role that science teachers can play in a national response, both now and in future crises.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2027397
Funding Period: 
Fri, 05/01/2020 to Fri, 12/31/2021
Full Description: 

When a global health crisis emerges, students at all levels turn to their science teachers for information and, at times, reassurance, according to researchers at Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI). Science teachers serve a critically important public health function and become an important part of the nation's response efforts. Given the magnitude of the current COVID-19 crisis, it is likely that students are bringing their questions and concerns to their science teachers. As this award is made, nearly all K-12 school buildings in the U.S. are closed, and science teachers face unprecedented challenges in carrying out the instruction for which they are responsible while simultaneously addressing students' questions about COVID-19. Moreover, they must do this within new instructional formats. Education is crucial for helping students to understand the facts about the virus, despite much conflicting information and misinformation available. Education helps students understand and actively participate in measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. This award will support a national research study on how teachers are helping students respond to COVID-19. The findings will inform the development of curriculum materials for teaching about COVID-19, which are much needed right now, and help science teachers to adapt their instruction as they help to fulfill a critical public health function. This study will enable a better understanding of the role that science teachers can play in a national response, both now and in future crises.

The research will build on a study of science teachers conducted by HRI following the Ebola outbreak of 2014. Specifically, the research will investigate (1) where teachers of science get their information about coronavirus and COVID-19; (2) what types of resources teachers find most useful; (3) what factors influence whether science teachers address COVID-19 in their instruction; and (4) how science teachers adapt their teaching in response to COVID-19. HRI will recruit a nationally representative sample of several thousand K-12 teachers of science and invite them to complete a survey about their instruction related to COVID-19, both before school buildings closed and after. Using the Theory of Planned Behavior, the survey will be constructed to identify factors that predict whether teachers take up the topic. The survey will also collect data about how teachers address the virus and its transmission with their students. HRI will disaggregate survey data by school-, class-, student-, and teacher-level variables to identify patterns in student opportunities. Survey data will be supplemented by interviews with 50 survey respondents to gather more in-depth information related to the constructs of interest. Study findings will be immediately shared through a preliminary report that focuses on the survey data; mainstream print media using press releases; and social media partnering with the National Science Teaching Association. HRI also will publish policy briefs intended as guidance for schools, districts, and states; and research articles.

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