Middle School

Building Environmental and Educational Technology Competence and Leadership Among Educators: An Exploration in Virtual Reality Professional Development

Principal Investigator: 

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

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

Principal Investigator: 

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

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SimSnap: Orchestrating Collaborative Learning in Biology through Reconfigurable Simulations (Collective Research: Puntambekar and Tissenbaum)

Principal Investigator: 

SimSnap enables students to investigate how different environmental and genetic factors affect the health of a variety of plants and vegetables, by allowing them to seamlessly move between individual and collaborative work with peers by snapping their tablets together (by placing them next to each other) to create a single shared simulation that spans all their devices. Students then leverage these inquiry activities to support their design and building of a real community garden.

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Science Coordinators Advancing a Framework for Outstanding Leadership Development

Principal Investigator: 

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

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Science and Engineering Education for Infrastructure Transformation

Principal Investigator: 

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.

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Preparing Teachers to Design Tasks to Support, Engage, and Assess Science Learning in Rural Schools

Principal Investigator: 

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 students’ learning that includes five dimensions: using disciplinary core ideas, science & engineering practices, and cross-cutting concepts, and meaningfully connecting to students’ interests and identities. We will share results from our ethnographic study of rural teachers’ instructional contexts, along with the initial design of our online professional learning course.

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GeoHazard: Modeling Natural Hazards and Assessing Risks

Principal Investigator: 

The goal of the GeoHazard project is to integrate Earth systems models into online curriculum modules that allow students to evaluate natural hazards, the factors that influence their formation, progression and severity and how that contributes most to the potential risks for humans. The project focuses on three common natural hazards: hurricanes, wildfires, and floods.

Co-PI(s): Hee-Sun Lee, The Concord Consortium; Scott McDonald, Pennsylvania State University; Elaine Larson, National Geographic; Carla McAuliffe, TERC

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Building Sustainable Networked Instructional Leadership in Elementary Mathematics Through a University Partnership with a Large Urban District

Principal Investigator: 

The goal of the Responsive Math Teaching project is to increase the quality of math instruction by developing the knowledge, skills, and competencies of school-based teachers and leaders and fostering a networked community across schools. Five core components guide the work:

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

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

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Investigating Impact of Different Types of Professional Development on What Aspects Mathematics Teachers Take Up And Use in Their Classroom

Principal Investigator: 

Taking a Deep Dive (TaDD): Investigating PD impact on what teachers take up and use in their classroom, is a 3-year DRK-12 Impact study within the teaching strand. This study will collect qualitative data from four large NSF funded mathematics PD projects to examine teachers' uptake of content, pedagogy and materials in order to understand and unpack what factors are associated with what teachers take up and use two to three years beyond their original PD experience.

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