High School

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

This project assesses the impact of scaling-up the teaching of physics and engineering to women students in grade levels 11 and 12, particularly in reference to retention. The aim is to mobilize high school physics teachers to "attract and recruit" female students into physics and engineering careers. The project will advance physics identity research by testing research-based approaches/interventions with larger groups of teachers and connecting research to practice in ways that are both widely deployable and practical for teachers to implement.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1720810
Funding Period: 
Mon, 05/15/2017 to Fri, 04/30/2021
Full Description: 

This project assesses the impact of scaling-up the teaching of physics and engineering to women students in grade levels 11 and 12, particularly in reference to retention. The problem of low participation of women in physics and engineering has been a topic of concern for decades. The persistent underrepresentation of women in physics and engineering is not just an equity issue but also reflects an unrealized talent pool that can help respond to current and future challenges faced by society. The aim is to mobilize high school physics teachers to "attract and recruit" female students into science (physics) and engineering careers. The fundamental issues that the project seeks is to affect increases in the number of females in physics and engineering careers using research-informed and field-tested classroom practices that improve female students' physics identity. The project will advance science (physics) identity research by testing research-based approaches/interventions with larger groups of teachers and connecting research to practice in ways that are both widely deployable and practical for teachers to implement. The project will also affect female participation in engineering since developing a physics identity is strongly related to choosing engineering. The core area teachers will be trained in addressing student identity as a physicist or engineer.

In this project, two research universities (Florida International University, Texas A&M-Commerce) and the two largest national organizations in physics (American Physical Society and American Association of Physics Teachers) will work together using approaches/interventions drawn from prior research results that will be tested with teachers in three states (24 teachers, 8 in each state) using an experimental design with control and treatment groups. The project proposes three phases: 1. Refine already established interventions for improving female physics identity for use on a massive national level which will be assessed through previously validated and reliable surveys and sound research design; 2. Launch a massive national campaign involving workshops, training modules, and mass communication approaches to reach and attempt to mobilize 16,000 of the 27,000 physics teachers nationwide to attract and recruit at least one female student to physics using the intervention approaches refines in phase 1 and other classroom approaches shown to improve female physics identity; and 3. Evaluate of the success of the campaign through surveys of high school physics teachers (subjective data) and data from the Higher Education Research Institute to monitor female student increases in freshmen declaring a physics major during the years following the campaign (objective data). The interventions will focus on developing female students' physics identity, a construct which has been found to be strongly related to career choice and persistence in physics. The project has the potential to reduce or eliminate the gender gap in the field of physics. In addition, the increase in female physics identity is likely to also increase female representation in engineering majors. Therefore, the work will lay the groundwork for adapting similar methods for increasing under-representation of females in other disciplines. The societies involved (American Physical Society and American Association of Physics Teachers) are uniquely positioned within the discipline to ensure a successful campaign of information dissemination to physics teachers nationally and under-representation of females in other disciplines as well, engineering specifically.

Investigating Productive Use of High-Leverage Student Mathematical Thinking (Collaborative Research: Van Zoest)

This project focuses on the teaching practice of building on student thinking, a practice in which teachers engage students in making sense of their peers' mathematical ideas in ways that help the whole class move forward in their mathematical understanding. The study examines how teachers incorporate this practice into mathematics discussions in secondary classrooms by designing tasks that generate opportunities for teachers to build on students' thinking and by studying teachers' orchestration of whole class discussions around student responses to these tasks.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1720613
Funding Period: 
Sat, 07/01/2017 to Mon, 05/31/2021
Project Evaluator: 
Full Description: 

The project will examine how secondary mathematics teachers respond to and use students' thinking during whole class discussion. An ongoing challenge for teachers is making the best use of students' emerging mathematical ideas during whole class discussion. Teachers need to draw on the ideas students have developed in order to create opportunities for learning about significant mathematical concepts. This study will create tasks specifically designed to generate opportunities for teachers to build on students' thinking and then use classroom observation and analysis of classroom video to develop tools to support teachers in leading whole class discussion.

The project focuses on the teaching practice of building on student thinking, a practice in which teachers engage students in making sense of their peers' mathematical ideas in ways that help the whole class move forward in their mathematical understanding. This study examines how teachers incorporate this practice into mathematics discussions in secondary classrooms by designing tasks that generate opportunities for teachers to build on students' thinking and by studying teachers' orchestration of whole class discussions around student responses to these tasks. The project engages teacher-researchers in exploring the building practice. The teacher-researchers will use the project-designed tasks in their classrooms and then engage in a cycle of analysis of their own teaching with the research team. Data collection and analysis will rely on video analysis of classrooms, teachers' reflections on task enactment, and data collected during research team meetings convened with teacher-researchers to analyze practice.

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Learning Through Collaborative Design: Professional Development to Foster Productive Epistemic Discourse in Science

This project will investigate the role of collaborative design in supporting teachers' professional growth around productive epistemic discourse in high school science classrooms. The project will examine an activity that is often used for the generation of curricular materials, collaborative design, and explore its promise in fostering biology teachers' professional growth as part of a larger professional development experience focused on epistemic practice.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1720587
Funding Period: 
Sat, 07/01/2017 to Wed, 06/30/2021
Project Evaluator: 
Full Description: 

Florida State University will investigate the role of collaborative design in supporting teachers' professional growth around productive epistemic discourse in high school science classrooms. The project, Learning Through Collaborative Design Professional Development to Foster Productive Epistemic Discourse in Science, will examine an activity that is often used for the generation of curricular materials, collaborative design, and explore its promise in fostering biology teachers' professional growth as part of a larger professional development experience focused on epistemic practice. It will establish epistemic discourse as both a means of communication and a learning outcome in high school biology classrooms. The program goals are to understand the role of collaborative designs in shaping science teachers' learning about and enactment of instruction that fosters productive epistemic discourse in science, and to produce knowledge about teacher learning that can inform the design of professional development programs around productive epistemic discourse in science. The outcomes of this research will provide insight into teacher learning around a more robust understanding of science teaching, design principles essential in creating effective approaches to professional development, and a field tested professional development experience. Both the research and the teacher professional growth provided by project will involve a total of 70 teachers and their students.

This research project will include two cycles of design and development of the professional development experience. It will include mixed methods and a longitudinal examination of teacher and student learning fostered by professional development. The research for the first phase will be qualitative in nature and will result in a series of case studies that highlight different facets of the interactions that influence teachers' learning. Following this qualitative phase, through a field study that employs multivariate analysis of covariance and hierarchical linear models analytical techniques, the effectiveness of the design and development stages will be compared to an alternative professional development experience that is similar to the project's professional development but does not include collaborative design.

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Schoolyard Scientists: An Investigation of Impacts Associated with Urban Youth Engagement in Participatory Scientific Research Activities

This project is significant because it uses the community for learning science of the environment, in an approach called Citizen Science or Participatory Science Research (PSR). The project will target learning outcomes for underrepresented middle and high school students in the urban and diverse East San Francisco Bay Area, and will refine a theory of learning that makes more explicit the connections between science practices, identity, and value and relevance.

Project Email: 
Award Number: 
1720585
Funding Period: 
Mon, 05/01/2017 to Fri, 04/30/2021
Project Evaluator: 
Full Description: 

This project is significant because it uses the community for learning science of the environment, in an approach called Citizen Science or Participatory Science Research (PSR). The project will target learning outcomes for underrepresented middle and high school students in the urban and diverse East San Francisco Bay Area. The fundamental issues that will be studied deal with particulate matter (PM) in the local area. The project will generate information that contributes to better understanding the impact of a science curriculum with PSR activities on science learning. The project will provide opportunities for students at a total of 10 different middle and high school sites to engage in a broad range of activities where the students will collect, analyze, and disseminate data generated in local urban communities. An accompanying curriculum that includes new and previously tested skills development activities also will be produced and used to aid students in connecting PSR activities to inter-related topics such as: energy generation and use, global climate, environmental degradation, and community health (asthma, in particular).

The project will refine a theory of learning that makes more explicit the connections between science practices, identity, and value and relevance. The project will yield information useful in the future development of effective learning environments in urban areas, providing positive science education experiences to challenge students' previous notions and ways of relating to science. The students will learn how to identify with science by gaining a deeper understanding of science practices. They will learn how to analyze and interpret data; construct explanations; engage in argument from evidence; and obtain, evaluate and communicate information. The students will be collecting air samples which will be analyzed using an electron microscope. In conducting their research, students will use low cost, highly accurate AirBeam particle monitors and tablet devices to measure and georeference PM concentration levels as they travel within their schools and surrounding communities. These measurements will then be used to assess ventilation conditions within school buildings, and correlated with different transit routes and transportation systems in an attempt to assess exposure patterns associated with different modes of transit in a given area. The result will be an increase in the understanding of the relevance and the value of science in everyday life. The project will also yield high quality particulate matter data that will be useful for local environmental efforts as well as to public health and atmospheric scientists.

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Investigating Productive Use of High-Leverage Student Mathematical Thinking Collaborative Research: Stockero)

This project focuses on the teaching practice of building on student thinking, a practice in which teachers engage students in making sense of their peers' mathematical ideas in ways that help the whole class move forward in their mathematical understanding. The study examines how teachers incorporate this practice into mathematics discussions in secondary classrooms by designing tasks that generate opportunities for teachers to build on students' thinking and by studying teachers' orchestration of whole class discussions around student responses to these tasks.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1720566
Funding Period: 
Thu, 06/01/2017 to Mon, 05/31/2021
Full Description: 

The project will examine how secondary mathematics teachers respond to and use students' thinking during whole class discussion. An ongoing challenge for teachers is making the best use of students' emerging mathematical ideas during whole class discussion. Teachers need to draw on the ideas students have developed in order to create opportunities for learning about significant mathematical concepts. This study will create tasks specifically designed to generate opportunities for teachers to build on students' thinking and then use classroom observation and analysis of classroom video to develop tools to support teachers in leading whole class discussion.

The project focuses on the teaching practice of building on student thinking, a practice in which teachers engage students in making sense of their peers' mathematical ideas in ways that help the whole class move forward in their mathematical understanding. This study examines how teachers incorporate this practice into mathematics discussions in secondary classrooms by designing tasks that generate opportunities for teachers to build on students' thinking and by studying teachers' orchestration of whole class discussions around student responses to these tasks. The project engages teacher-researchers in exploring the building practice. The teacher-researchers will use the project-designed tasks in their classrooms and then engage in a cycle of analysis of their own teaching with the research team. Data collection and analysis will rely on video analysis of classrooms, teachers' reflections on task enactment, and data collected during research team meetings convened with teacher-researchers to analyze practice.

Investigating Productive Use of High-Leverage Student Mathematical Thinking (Collaborative Research: Peterson)

This project focuses on the teaching practice of building on student thinking, a practice in which teachers engage students in making sense of their peers' mathematical ideas in ways that help the whole class move forward in their mathematical understanding. The study examines how teachers incorporate this practice into mathematics discussions in secondary classrooms by designing tasks that generate opportunities for teachers to build on students' thinking and by studying teachers' orchestration of whole class discussions around student responses to these tasks.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1720410
Funding Period: 
Sat, 07/01/2017 to Mon, 05/31/2021
Full Description: 

The project will examine how secondary mathematics teachers respond to and use students' thinking during whole class discussion. An ongoing challenge for teachers is making the best use of students' emerging mathematical ideas during whole class discussion. Teachers need to draw on the ideas students have developed in order to create opportunities for learning about significant mathematical concepts. This study will create tasks specifically designed to generate opportunities for teachers to build on students' thinking and then use classroom observation and analysis of classroom video to develop tools to support teachers in leading whole class discussion.

The project focuses on the teaching practice of building on student thinking, a practice in which teachers engage students in making sense of their peers' mathematical ideas in ways that help the whole class move forward in their mathematical understanding. This study examines how teachers incorporate this practice into mathematics discussions in secondary classrooms by designing tasks that generate opportunities for teachers to build on students' thinking and by studying teachers' orchestration of whole class discussions around student responses to these tasks. The project engages teacher-researchers in exploring the building practice. The teacher-researchers will use the project-designed tasks in their classrooms and then engage in a cycle of analysis of their own teaching with the research team. Data collection and analysis will rely on video analysis of classrooms, teachers' reflections on task enactment, and data collected during research team meetings convened with teacher-researchers to analyze practice.

High School Students' Climate Literacy Through Epistemology of Scientific Modeling (Collaborative Research: Chandler)

This project will focus on learning about model based reasoning in science, and will develop, implement, study, and refine a 6-week climate science module for high school students. The module will feature use of a web-based climate modeling application, and the project team will collect and analyze evidence of model-based reasoning about climate phenomena among students.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1719872
Funding Period: 
Fri, 09/01/2017 to Fri, 12/31/2021
Full Description: 

This project will focus on learning about model based reasoning in science, and will develop, implement, study, and refine a 6-week climate science module for high school students. The module will feature use of a web-based climate modeling application, and the project team will collect and analyze evidence of model-based reasoning about climate phenomena among students. Scientists routinely use data-intensive, computer-based models to study complex natural phenomena, and modeling has become a core objective of current science curriculum standards. The project will provide new insights about student use of scientific models to understand natural phenomena, and advance knowledge about curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices that promote model-based reasoning among students.

This 4-year Design and Development project will examine use of a web-based climate modeling tool designed to provide non-scientists experiences with climate modeling in high school geoscience classrooms. A theoretically-grounded and empirically tested approach to design-based research, instructional design, and assessment development will be used in an iterative cycle of instructional innovation and education research to find answers to two research questions: 1) How do secondary students develop epistemic and conceptual knowledge about climate? And 2) How do secondary science teachers support student use of climate modeling application to develop epistemic and conceptual knowledge about climate? Data associated with conceptual and epistemic knowledge, curriculum-embedded modeling tasks, interviews, and videorecorded observations of instruction will be used to study impacts of the new curriculum module on 55 high school science teachers and 3,000 students. Project participants include students from low socioeconomic populations and other groups underrepresented in STEM fields. The curriculum will also serve as a resource for an existing, online professional development course at the American Museum of Natural History that engages teachers nationwide.

Mathematics Immersion for Secondary Teachers at Scale (Collaborative Research: Cuoco)

The goal of this project will be to provide the field with a cost-effective model for intense content-based professional development in ways that have not been possible before, except through costly face-to-face models, by creating and testing design principles for blended online courses. Team members will design, implement, and research the effects of a professional development immersion experience in mathematics for practicing secondary teachers (grades 7-12).

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1719555
Funding Period: 
Sat, 07/01/2017 to Thu, 12/31/2020
Full Description: 

Current reforms in mathematics place new demands on teachers, changing the focus of the mathematics they teach focusing on what it means to do mathematics, not just learn facts and methods that are the results of the work of others. Teachers need strong professional development to meet these new demands. The goal of this project will be to provide the field with a cost-effective model for intense content-based professional development in ways that have not been possible before, except through costly face-to-face models, by creating and testing design principles for blended online courses. Team members will design, implement, and research the effects of a professional development immersion experience in mathematics for practicing secondary teachers (grades 7-12). The project will provide mathematics immersion experience to over 300 teachers at 56 sites across the country. Over the course of two years, each of 14 instructors will work with four geographically separated groups of 4-7 teachers, engaging them in mathematics as learners and facilitating conversations that connect the experience to their teaching and professional work. The project will provide the field a concrete model for modern practice-based mathematics immersion, conducted at scale. The model has the potential to broaden participation in immersive professional development experiences, offering opportunities to greater numbers of teachers and expanding the diversity of school contexts affected. The Discovery Research K-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 (RMTs). 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.

The research questions will investigate fidelity of course implementation and differences in enactment. RQ1. How well can instructors enact the blended course design with fidelity and create immersion experiences in mathematics for participating teachers? RQ2.What variations exist among instructors' enactment of the courses? What explains differences in enactment, and how do they relate to teachers' experiences in the courses? RQ3. What is the impact of the professional development on teachers' (a) mathematical habits of mind, (b) beliefs about the nature of mathematics and mathematics teaching, and (c) engagement in their professional mathematics community? RQ4. What is the impact of the professional development on teachers' instructional practices, particularly on the types of investigative mathematics learning experiences that teachers provide for students? The project will use established measures to research the effects of these experiences on teachers' content knowledge, mathematical habits of mind, beliefs about mathematics, involvement in a professional community, and teaching practices. The first two research questions will be answered through qualitative data analysis of session enactment logs, video-recorded course sessions, and interviews. The second two research questions will be addressed through repeated measures analysis, with all teachers assessed three times over the course of the project. For research question 3, the outcome measures will be total and scale scores of the measures of teachers' knowledge, preparedness to teach mathematics, and beliefs. Additionally, qualitative analysis of interview data will explore trends in the frequency and nature of teachers' engagement over time. For research question 4, the outcome measures will be teaching practices with qualitative analysis of observations and interviews.


Project Videos

2019 STEM for All Video Showcase

Title: Mathematics Immersion for Secondary Teachers (MIST)

Presenter(s): Matt McLeod, Miriam Gates, Daniel Heck, & Pippa Hoover

2018 STEM for All Video Showcase

Title: Building a Virtual Mathematics Immersion Experience

Presenter(s): Matt McLeod, Eden Badertscher, Al Cuoco, Miriam Gates, Daniel Heck, & Bowen Kerins


Mathematics Immersion for Secondary Teachers at Scale (Collaborative Research: Heck)

The goal of this project will be to provide the field with a cost-effective model for intense content-based professional development in ways that have not been possible before, except through costly face-to-face models, by creating and testing design principles for blended online courses. Team members will design, implement, and research the effects of a professional development immersion experience in mathematics for practicing secondary teachers (grades 7-12).

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1719554
Funding Period: 
Sat, 07/01/2017 to Thu, 12/31/2020
Full Description: 

Current reforms in mathematics place new demands on teachers, changing the focus of the mathematics they teach focusing on what it means to do mathematics, not just learn facts and methods that are the results of the work of others. Teachers need strong professional development to meet these new demands. The goal of this project will be to provide the field with a cost-effective model for intense content-based professional development in ways that have not been possible before, except through costly face-to-face models, by creating and testing design principles for blended online courses. Team members will design, implement, and research the effects of a professional development immersion experience in mathematics for practicing secondary teachers (grades 7-12). The project will provide mathematics immersion experience to over 300 teachers at 56 sites across the country. Over the course of two years, each of 14 instructors will work with four geographically separated groups of 4-7 teachers, engaging them in mathematics as learners and facilitating conversations that connect the experience to their teaching and professional work. The project will provide the field a concrete model for modern practice-based mathematics immersion, conducted at scale. The model has the potential to broaden participation in immersive professional development experiences, offering opportunities to greater numbers of teachers and expanding the diversity of school contexts affected. The Discovery Research K-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 (RMTs). 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.

The research questions will investigate fidelity of course implementation and differences in enactment. RQ1. How well can instructors enact the blended course design with fidelity and create immersion experiences in mathematics for participating teachers? RQ2.What variations exist among instructors' enactment of the courses? What explains differences in enactment, and how do they relate to teachers' experiences in the courses? RQ3. What is the impact of the professional development on teachers' (a) mathematical habits of mind, (b) beliefs about the nature of mathematics and mathematics teaching, and (c) engagement in their professional mathematics community? RQ4. What is the impact of the professional development on teachers' instructional practices, particularly on the types of investigative mathematics learning experiences that teachers provide for students? The project will use established measures to research the effects of these experiences on teachers' content knowledge, mathematical habits of mind, beliefs about mathematics, involvement in a professional community, and teaching practices. The first two research questions will be answered through qualitative data analysis of session enactment logs, video-recorded course sessions, and interviews. The second two research questions will be addressed through repeated measures analysis, with all teachers assessed three times over the course of the project. For research question 3, the outcome measures will be total and scale scores of the measures of teachers' knowledge, preparedness to teach mathematics, and beliefs. Additionally, qualitative analysis of interview data will explore trends in the frequency and nature of teachers' engagement over time. For research question 4, the outcome measures will be teaching practices with qualitative analysis of observations and interviews.


Project Videos

2019 STEM for All Video Showcase

Title: Mathematics Immersion for Secondary Teachers (MIST)

Presenter(s): Matt McLeod, Miriam Gates, Daniel Heck, & Pippa Hoover

2018 STEM for All Video Showcase

Title: Building a Virtual Mathematics Immersion Experience

Presenter(s): Matt McLeod, Eden Badertscher, Al Cuoco, Miriam Gates, Daniel Heck, & Bowen Kerins


Perceptual and Implementation Strategies for Knowledge Acquisition of Digital Tactile Graphics for Blind and Visually Impaired Students (Collaborative Research: Gorlewicz)

This project lays the foundation and framework for enabling digital, multimodal tactile graphics on touchscreens for individuals with visual impairments (VI). Given the low-cost, portability, and wide availability of touchscreens, this work promotes the use of vibrations and sounds on these readily available platforms for addressing the graphical access challenge for individuals with VI.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1644538
Funding Period: 
Sun, 01/15/2017 to Tue, 12/31/2019
Full Description: 

Students with disabilities often have fewer opportunities for experiential learning, an important component of quality STEM education. With continued shifts toward the use of digital media to supplement instruction in STEM classrooms, much of the content remains inaccessible, particular for students with visual impairments. The promise of technology and use of tactile graphics is an effective, emerging innovation for providing more complete access to important information and materials. Tactile graphics are images that use raised surfaces to convey non-textual information such as maps, paintings, graphs and diagrams. Touchscreen-based smart devices allow visual information to be digitally and dynamically represented via tactile, auditory, visual, and kinesthetic feedback. Tactile graphic technology embedded in touchscreen devices can be leveraged to make STEM content more accessible to blind and visually impaired students.

This project will develop a learner-centered, perceptually-motivated framework addressing the requirements for students with blindness and visual impairments to access graphical content in STEM. Using TouchSense technology, the investigators will create instructional materials using tactile graphics and test them in a pilot classroom of both sighted and BVI students. The investigators will work with approximately 150 students with visual impairments to understand the kind of feedback that is most appropriate for specific content in algebra (coordinate plane), cell biology, and geography. Qualitative research methods will be used to analyze the video-based data set.

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