Middle School

Invigorating Statistics Teacher Education Through Professional Online Learning (InSTEP)

Principal Investigator: 

InSTEP is developing an online personalized professional learning platform to support teachers' growth in providing students learning opportunities in statistics and data science using key practices and processes with data. We are creating a scalable, accessible, and flexible approach aligned with research-based principles of effective professional learning. We use design principles for online teacher learning, and our materials are based on research on students' and teachers' learning in statistics and data science education.

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Three-Dimensional Teaching and Learning: Rebuilding and Researching an Online Middle School Curriculum

Principal Investigator: 

Although several middle school science units are emerging with high ratings on an NGSS EQuIP review, few have been subjected to experimental or quasi-experimental study to examine their efficacy with teachers or students. We share the design specifications, development process, and research findings from a quasi-experimental test of a designed-for-NGSS middle school science unit. Treatment students outperformed comparison students on a test of three-dimensional learning (p = .019; d = .300).

Co-PI(s): Betty Stennett and Lindsey Mohan, BSCS Science Learning

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Developing a Suite of Standards-based Instructionally Supportive Tools for Middle School Computer Science

Principal Investigator: 

The ASSIST project will develop a set of educative resources, assessment tools and teacher professional development activities to support diverse teachers teaching a variety of computer science curricula using different programming languages. Teachers will develop knowledge of CS standards and learn to use formative assessments related to these standards to determine student understanding. Improved CS instruction that is responsive to the needs and challenges of the student population is critical to ensure more equitable participation in CS.

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Design and Development of a K-12 STEM Observation Protocol (Collaborative Research: Dare, Ring-Whalen, and Roehrig)

Principal Investigator: 

The purpose of this project is the design and development of a K-12 classroom observation protocol for integrated STEM instruction (STEM-OP). Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, the STEM-OP will be a valid and reliable instrument for use in a variety of educational contexts. The STEM-OP and associated training materials will be available for use by education stakeholders, (e.g., K-12 teachers and district administrators), through a publicly available online platform.

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Building Networks and Enhancing Diversity in the K-12 STEM Teaching Workforce

Principal Investigator: 

The goal of this planning grant, which is based on the Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). is to explicitly focus on broadening participation in the K-12 STEM teaching workforce, with the theory of action that diversifying the K-12 STEM teaching workforce would in the long term help more students see STEM as accessible to them and then be more likely to choose a STEM degree or career. This grant is also funded by NSF INCLUDES.

Co-PI(s): Helen Bond and Marilyn M Irving, Howard University; Hyunju Lee and Amy L D'Amico, Smithsonian Institution

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Building Middle School Students' Understanding of Heredity and Evolution

Principal Investigator: 

This Early-Stage Design and Development project is developing NGSS-friendly middle school curriculum units on Heredity and Evolution that build skills in constructing explanations and understanding of cause and effect and include embedded formative and summative assessment measures. We will conduct an in-depth study to elucidate how 3D learning contributes to students' conceptual understanding of heredity and evolution, and the supports middle school teachers need to enact 3D curricula and support their students.

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

Principal Investigator: 

The goal of the project is to support mathematics coaches to (a) facilitate productive planning and debriefing conversations with teachers; (b) notice salient coaching practices and their impact on teachers' thinking; and (c) use evidence of teacher learning to make decisions about their own coaching practices. We engage coaches in a three-part professional development model that includes (a) an online course on content-focused coaching, (b) one-on-one video-based coaching cycles, and (c) an online video club.

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SPIRAL: Supporting Professional Inquiry and Re-Aligning Learning through a Structured e-Portfolio System

Principal Investigator: 

The SPIRAL project seeks to develop and test a new model for vertical-team professional development, along with a set of electronic tools enabling collaboration among these teams to support instructional improvement aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). We seek to better understand how teachers use a custom-designed digital portfolio to better understand students' learning trajectories across K-8 science so as to shape their own instructional practice with relation to the spiraled NGSS.

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Teaching STEM with Robotics: Design, Development, and Testing of a Research-based Professional Development Program for Teachers

Principal Investigator: 

To lower the barriers in STEM disciplines for students, using evidence-based research, we designed and conducted a professional development program that built middle school teachers' capacity to use hands-on robotics and engineering design as the curriculum focus. Through summer workshops, teachers learned to: build and program LEGO robots; create and implement standards-aligned robotics-based STEM lessons; and develop, practice, and examine optimal pedagogical approaches for STEM learning using robotics.
 

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Environmental Innovation Challenges: Teaching and Learning Science Practices in the Context of Complex Earth Systems

Principal Investigator: 

This project investigates learning as students, supported by social media and crowdsourcing, design and test innovations focused on reducing carbon emissions. Our hypothesis is: Competitive Challenges supported by social media and crowdsourcing will engage a diverse array of students in sustained and meaningful scientific inquiry. We anticipate that team members will engage with each other and other teams, using such science practices as modeling, experimentation, error-analysis, argumentation, representation and communication.

Co-PI(s): Brian Drayton, TERC

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