Middle School

Disciplinary Experts in Science Education Research: A University of Maryland Program for Producing STEM Education Researchers

This project supports five graduate students with backgrounds in the natural and learning sciences as they achieve masters-level expertise in a science discipline and pursue coursework and complete dissertations in science education research. The program prepares them to 1) collaborate with educational and developmental psychologists and discipline-based science education researchers, and 2) to develop and teach courses that break down the traditional barriers between science teaching methods courses and science content courses for teachers.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733613
Funding Period: 
Tue, 01/01/2008 to Sat, 12/31/2011

Helping Teachers Become Cultural Relevant Teachers: Developing New Tools for a New Generation

This project involves holding a conference, Helping Teachers Become Culturally Relevant Teachers: Developing New Tools for a New Generation, where the goals are to bring together the very best researchers/practitioners in this field to present a clear theoretical underpinning of Culturally Relevant Teaching (CRT), present the most recent rigorous research to support the theory, and show clearly how CRT theory translates directly into classroom action.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0929816
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Tue, 08/31/2010

Conference 2008 -- Integrating Science and Mathematics Education Research into Teaching IV: Resources and Tool for Improved Learning

The purposes of this conference include bringing together 150 participants from all aspects of STEM education to exchange ideas about research, curriculum, and assessment; to help teachers integrate research-based instructional strategies in their teaching; and to build sustainable collaborations between participants. It includes three days of parallel presentations and discussion followed by a two-day summer academy. A focus on research-based strategies that advance the successful participation of underrepresented groups is embedded in all activities.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0736967
Funding Period: 
Thu, 05/01/2008 to Fri, 04/30/2010

When Science and Literacy Meet: Creating Support for Teachers Implementing Writing in the Science Classroom

This project proposes to create two books and a professional development manual about the roles and practice of writing-to-learn strategies in science classrooms. The books will emphasize the importance of purposeful writing as a learning tool. The first book will target K-6 teachers and the second will address the needs of 7-12 teachers.

Lead Organization(s): 
Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0537035
Funding Period: 
Thu, 09/01/2005 to Tue, 08/31/2010

An Architecture of Intensification: Building a Comprehensive Program for Struggling Students in Double-Period Algebra Classes

This project is carrying out a research and development initiative to increase the success rates of our most at-risk high school students—ninth-grade students enrolled in algebra classes but significantly underprepared for high school mathematics. It will also result in new understandings about effective approaches for teaching mathematics to struggling students and about effective ways for implementing these approaches at scale, particularly in urban school districts.

Award Number: 
0918434
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Thu, 03/01/2012
Project Evaluator: 
Inverness Research Inc.
Full Description: 

Intensified Algebra I, a comprehensive program used in an extended-time algebra class, helps students who are one to two years behind in mathematics become successful in algebra. It is a research and development initiative of the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Agile Mind, that transforms the teaching of algebra to students who struggle in mathematics. Central to the program is the idea that struggling students need a powerful combination of a challenging curriculum, cohesive, targeted supports, and additional well-structured classroom time. Intensified Algebra I seeks to addresses the need for a robust Algebra I curriculum with embedded, efficient review and repair of foundational mathematical skills and concepts. It aims to address multiple dimensions of learning mathematics, including social, affective, linguistic, and cognitive. Intensified Algebra I uses an asset-based approach that builds on students’ strengths and helps students to develop academic skills and identities by engaging them in the learning experience. The program is designed to help struggling students succeed in catching up to their peers, equipping them to be successful in Algebra I and their future mathematics and science courses.

Evaluation of the Cognitive, Psychometric, and Instructional Affordances of Curriculum-embedded Assessments: A Comprehensive Validity-based Approach

This project’s overarching goal is to evaluate the assessment components embedded within two NSF-supported mathematics curricula: Everyday Mathematics and Math Trailblazers. The investigators will apply a comprehensive validity perspective that integrates a variety of empirical evidence regarding the cognitive, psychometric, and instructional affordances of multiple assessments embedded in these curricula as part of their overall instructional design.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0732090
Funding Period: 
Tue, 01/01/2008 to Mon, 12/31/2012
Project Evaluator: 
James Minstrell

How to Run a Teacher's Circle

This project is preparing teams to bring together research mathematicians and middle school teachers of mathematics through the use of Teacher's Circles. These Circles are groups of mathematicians and school mathematics teachers that meet regularly to do mathematics. Such Circles have been shown to be mathematically stimulating for both the teachers and the mathematicians and the students of both benefit from the relationship.

Award Number: 
0824511
Funding Period: 
Thu, 05/01/2008 to Thu, 04/30/2009
Full Description: 

This project is preparing teams to bring together research mathematicians and middle school teachers of mathematics through the use of Teacher's Circles. These Circles are groups of mathematicians and school mathematics teachers that meet regularly to do mathematics. Such Circles have been shown to be mathematically stimulating for both the teachers and the mathematicians and the students of both benefit from the relationship.

The project is forming new Teacher's Circles in many different geographical locations across the U.S. To accomplish this goal, the project first brings together a collection of teams to attend one of two five-day workshops, one held in Palo Alto, California, and one held in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2008, to learn how to run a Teacher's Circle and to plan the launch of each team's own Teacher's Circle in the summer of 2009. Each team consists of at least one mathematician, at least two middle school teachers, and at least one administrator/recruiter/fund-raiser, all from the same geographic area. During the workshops, the morning activities will simulate actual Teacher's Circles and the afternoon activities will be devoted to planning the launch of the new Teacher's Circles.

Broader Impact: The proposed workshops will lead to the formation of as many as 10 - 14 new Teacher's Circles around the U.S. Each of those will lead to a program that will enhance the knowledge base, the mathematical confidence, the ability to tackle new problems, and the willingness to take risks in up to 25 middle school teachers. These 300 teachers each meet with up to 100 middle school students per day; the net impact of the new Teacher's Circles will be to enhance the mathematical experiences of up to thirty thousand middle school students per year.

Ecology Disrupted: Using Museum-based Science and Educational Technology to Link Real World Environmental Issues to Basic Ecological Principles

This project uses media such as Science Bulletin Snapshots to engage students with current research and to foster scientific understanding and civic engagement. Through environmental case studies, students learn to develop hypotheses, analyze scientific data, and make conclusions. To address the objectives, the project will create inquiry-based case studies to situate several central ecological principles, as determined by national and state standards, into the context of environmental issues.

Award Number: 
0733269
Funding Period: 
Sat, 09/01/2007 to Mon, 08/31/2009
Full Description: 

Our project asks whether media-rich curriculum materials that immerse middle school students in real, current scientific research can improve students' understanding of science content, and their understanding and appreciation of science as a way to learn about the natural world.  We are using Science Bulletins, digital media stories about current science produced by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City to develop middle and high school case study units on contemporary issues in ecology for students underserved in their connection to nature. We developed two problem-based modules that use current scientific data to link ecological principles to real-world environmental issues. Each unit is constructed around a question linking the ecological topic with human daily life. One unit asks the question, 'How do snowy and icy roads put the Baltimore area's water supply at risk?' The other asks the question, 'How does being able to drive between Los Angeles and Las Vegas in under five hours put the bighorn sheep at risk?' The students must use source material to develop hypotheses to address these questions. They then analyze real data to test their hypotheses. Finally, they watch and analyze Museum media to connect the questions that they investigated to broader ecological principles and issues. Additionally, students are asked at the beginning and the end of these units to self-assess their understanding of the science content, the nature of scientific inquiry, and their place in the natural world.

Learning Science as Inquiry with the Urban Advantage: Formal-Informal Collaborations to Increase Science Literacy and Student Learning

This project hypothesizes that learners must have access to the real work of scientists if they are to learn both about the nature of science and to do inquiry themselves. It explores the question "How can informal science education institutions best design resources to support teachers, school administrators, and families in the teaching and learning of students to conduct scientific investigations and better understand the nature of science?"

Award Number: 
0918560
Funding Period: 
Tue, 09/01/2009 to Sat, 08/31/2013
Project Evaluator: 
Learning Innovations at WestEd
Full Description: 

The American Museum of Natural History and Michigan State University propose a research and development project focused on DR-K12 challenge #2 and the hypothesis that learners must have access to the real work of scientists if they are to learn both about the nature of science and to do inquiry themselves. The overarching questions that drive this project are: How can informal science education institutions best design resources to support teachers, school administrators, and families in the teaching and learning of students to conduct scientific investigations and better understand the nature of science? How are these resources then used, and to what extent and in what ways do they contribute to participants’ learning? How are those resources then used for student learning? Answering these questions will involve the use of existing and new resources, enhancement of existing relationships, and a commitment to systematically collect evidence. Urban Advantage (UA) is a middle school science initiative involving informal science education institutions that provides professional development for teachers and hands-on learning for students to learn how to conduct scientific investigations. This project will (1) refine the UA model by including opportunities to engage in field studies and the use of authentic data sets to investigate the zebra mussel invasion of the Hudson River ecosystem; (2) extend the resources available to help parents, administrators, and teachers understand the nature of scientific work; and (3) integrate a research agenda into UA. Teaching cases will serve as resources to help teachers, students, administrators, and families understand scientific inquiry through research on freshwater ecosystems, and—with that increased understanding—support student learning. Surveys, observations, and assessments will be used to document and understand the effects of professional development on teachers, students, administrators, and parents. The study will analyze longitudinal, multivariate data in order to identify associations between professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators, and parents, their use of resources to support their own learning and that of students, middle school teachers’ instructional practices, and measures of student learning.

STEM Fusion

This project revises and tests integrated STEM modules and an accompanying professional development component that promote differentiated instruction in order to facilitate high school teachers' instruction of 21st century skills and integrated STEM content. STEM Fusion is a multi-tiered project focusing on the refinement of draft professional resources and the development of teacher skills related to differentiated instruction within integrated STEM instruction.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
0733198
Funding Period: 
Wed, 08/15/2007 to Sat, 07/31/2010
Full Description: 

This project revises and tests integrated STEM modules and an accompanying professional development component that promote differentiated instruction in order to facilitate high school teachers' instruction of 21st Century skills and integrated STEM content. STEM Fusion is a multi-tiered project focusing on the refinement of draft professional resources and the development of teacher skills related to differentiated instruction within integrated STEM instruction.

Project goals include: refining, testing, and finalizing draft curriculum modules in science, mathematics, and engineering; developing, refining, and testing a professional development process that promotes the effective curricular integration of science, technology, engineering and math content into real-world applications; and the use of pedagogical strategies that promote differentiated instruction and standards-based curriculum; and disseminating widely models of effective STEM integration utilizing differentiated instruction in the classrooms through the NSDL database, WVDE communication channels, and a STEM Fusion Web portal.

High school teachers will participate in revising draft modules and testing an implementation model that increases the focus on content and pedagogical knowledge. The STEM Fusion modules will utilize differentiated instruction to assist teachers in diagnosing the differences in readiness, interests and learning styles of all students in the class, using a variety of performance indicators and formative assessments. Participating teachers will apply critical math, science, and technology knowledge while they test and revise tiered lessons during summer learning experiences and in their classrooms. The curriculum, aligned with current West Virginia and national science, technology, engineering, mathematics standards, as well as with 21st Century skills, will be refined, pilot tested, further refined, and field tested. An integral part of the professional development component and the STEM Fusion curriculum will be effective strategies for teaching special needs, ESL, and advanced students. Teachers will be supported by content-expert facilitators, who will guide the module revision and implementation process and group reflection.

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