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.
Biologically-inspired design (BID) is a way of using principles from Nature to solve engineering design challenges. It is engaging, novel, and leverages sustainable technology produced by over 3 billion years of adaptation.
The SDLC project has developed and studied curriculum modules for non-AP high school statistics to promote interest and skills in statistical thinking and data analysis among diverse high school populations. Modules engage students with social-justice-themed data investigations using large-scale socioeconomic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and student-friendly online data visualization tools. Current study findings show growth in student interest and skills in statistical thinking and data analysis following module use.
Science Coordinators Advancing a Framework For Outstanding Leadership Development (SCAFFOLD) develops and studies a PD program for District Science Coordinators (DSCs) in one Southeastern state. DSCs can have partial or full responsibility for supporting science teachers in their districts, but little is known about their training and impact on teachers. The goal is to determine the impact of DSCs on teachers and if they are in need of PD to enhance their work with teachers.
Co-PI(s): Brooke A. Whitworth, Clemson University
A challenge in teaching real-world computational thinking is that the thought process of solving a concrete problem can easily escalate into a complex mental model consisting of many abstract, intertwined moving parts that are often difficult for students to imagine and think through, preventing them from sorting out a solution and building up self-efficacy. Externalizing such a complicated mental process step by step through drawing representational diagrams piece by piece can be cognitively offloading.
The project is pursuing two coordinated goals associated with science teaching and learning in the COVID-19 pandemic: 1) create COVID-related curriculum materials and 2) conduct research on teaching and learning in the pandemic. We partnered with 12 teachers to create and enact a model-oriented, issue based curricular unit about COVID-19. Research efforts focus on how teachers enact the materials and how and where students get information about the pandemic as they are living through it.
Co-PI(s): Pa Friedrichsen and Laura Zangori, University of Missouri
The main goal of the 5DMASTERS (Making Aligned Science Tasks Equitable for Rural Students) project is to support rural science teachers to shift to assessment of studentsâ€™ learning that includes five dimensions: using disciplinary core ideas, science & engineering practices, and cross-cutting concepts, and meaningfully connecting to studentsâ€™ interests and identities. We will share results from our ethnographic study of rural teachersâ€™ instructional contexts, along with the initial design of our online professional learning course.
Every student should have the chance to experience the exciting practice of science. But far too often, students encounter only highly structured â€œcookbookâ€ 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
We share the conception, design, and some activities from a curriculum based on the use of a global climate model EzGCM in secondary geoscience classrooms. Implemented through the NSF-funded CLiMES (Climate Literacy through Modeling and Epistemology of Science) project, this curriculum facilitated in-depth understanding of climate literacy concepts through model-based reasoning.
Co-PI(s): Mark Chandler, Columbia University