Teachers

Supporting Playful Learning in Elementary Mathematics Classrooms

Previous research has shown that play is an important vehicle for exploration, understanding, and learning because play involves many of the same features as sophisticated disciplinary engagement in mathematics. Despite work documenting the value of play broadly, little research has directly addressed how play could be supported or the value of doing so in mathematics classrooms.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101356
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2021 to Thu, 07/31/2025
Full Description: 

Previous research has shown that play is an important vehicle for exploration, understanding, and learning because play involves many of the same features as sophisticated disciplinary engagement in mathematics. Despite work documenting the value of play broadly, little research has directly addressed how play could be supported or the value of doing so in mathematics classrooms. The purpose of this project is to investigate play in early elementary math education through a four-year longitudinal study that documents teacher learning and connects teacher practice with in-depth qualitative analyses of children over multiple years. The researchers will partner with kindergarten teachers for three consecutive years. Teachers will experience professional development where they will engage in play as learners and learn how to design tasks that incorporate play. Subsequently, the teachers will implement strategies in their kindergarten classrooms. The teachers will implement this model for three years, and each year the project will add new kindergarten teachers.

The longitudinal design will also support looking at play in relation to grade level. Teachers will participate in summer professional development as well as grade-specific video clubs where teachers will observe and annotate videos of their practice. Similarly, this project will explore children’s experiences over time by following a cohort of children in classrooms that integrate play for three consecutive years, and in relation to teachers’ experience by contrasting kindergarteners over consecutive years. In so doing, this project will develop three in-depth accounts using qualitative methods: 1) How kindergarten teachers learn to integrate play into their instruction and how their teaching changes over time; 2) How the task of integrating play changes with respect to different grades and different content; and 3) How the relationship that children develop with mathematics might be transformed by experiencing playful mathematics learning over their early elementary careers. In this exploratory analysis, the researchers will employ qualitative methods, including video, video club, and in-class observations and teacher interviews and analytic methods including emergent coding, and coding schemes from research on high-quality mathematics teaching.  The data collected through this project will offer insight into children’s trajectories of participation across the first three years of elementary school and shed light on how children’s relationship with the discipline of mathematics could be transformed.

Using Natural Language Processing to Inform Science Instruction (Collaborative Research: Linn)

This project takes advantage of language to help students form their own ideas and pursue deeper understanding in the science classroom. The project will conduct a comprehensive research program to develop and test technology that will empower students to use their ideas as a starting point for deepening science understanding. Researchers will use a technology that detects student ideas that go beyond a student's general knowledge level to adapt to a student's cultural and linguistic understandings of a science topic.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101669
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Often, middle school science classes do not benefit from participation of underrepresented students because of language and cultural barriers. This project takes advantage of language to help students form their own ideas and pursue deeper understanding in the science classroom. This work continues a partnership among the University of California, Berkeley, Educational Testing Service, and science teachers and paraprofessionals from six middle schools enrolling students from diverse racial, ethnic, and language groups whose cultural experiences may be neglected in science instruction. The partnership will conduct a comprehensive research program to develop and test technology that will empower students to use their ideas as a starting point for deepening science understanding. Researchers will use a technology that detects student ideas that go beyond a student's general knowledge level to adapt to a student's cultural and linguistic understandings of a science topic. The partnership leverages a web-based platform to implement adaptive guidance designed by teachers that feature dialog and peer interaction. Further, the platform features teacher tools that can detect when a student needs additional help and alert the teacher. Teachers using the technology will be able to track and respond to individual student ideas, especially from students who would not often participate because of language and cultural barriers.

This project develops AI-based technology to help science teachers increase their impact on student science learning. The technology is aimed to provide accurate analysis of students' initial ideas and adaptive guidance that gets each student started on reconsidering their ideas and pursuing deeper understanding. Current methods in automated scoring primarily focus on detecting incorrect responses on test questions and estimating the overall knowledge level in a student explanation. This project leverages advances in natural language processing (NLP) to identify the specific ideas in student explanations for open-ended science questions. The investigators will conduct a comprehensive research program that pairs new NLP-based AI methods for analyzing student ideas with adaptive guidance that, in combination, will empower students to use their ideas as starting points for improving science understanding. To evaluate the idea detection process, the researchers will conduct studies that investigate the accuracy and impact of idea detection in classrooms. To evaluate the guidance, the researchers will conduct comparison studies that randomly assign students to conditions to identify the most promising adaptive guidance designs for detected ideas. All materials are customizable using open platform authoring tools.

Using Natural Language Processing to Inform Science Instruction (Collaborative Research: Riordan)

This project takes advantage of language to help students form their own ideas and pursue deeper understanding in the science classroom. The project will conduct a comprehensive research program to develop and test technology that will empower students to use their ideas as a starting point for deepening science understanding. Researchers will use a technology that detects student ideas that go beyond a student's general knowledge level to adapt to a student's cultural and linguistic understandings of a science topic.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101670
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Often, middle school science classes do not benefit from participation of underrepresented students because of language and cultural barriers. This project takes advantage of language to help students form their own ideas and pursue deeper understanding in the science classroom. This work continues a partnership among the University of California, Berkeley, Educational Testing Service, and science teachers and paraprofessionals from six middle schools enrolling students from diverse racial, ethnic, and language groups whose cultural experiences may be neglected in science instruction. The partnership will conduct a comprehensive research program to develop and test technology that will empower students to use their ideas as a starting point for deepening science understanding. Researchers will use a technology that detects student ideas that go beyond a student's general knowledge level to adapt to a student's cultural and linguistic understandings of a science topic. The partnership leverages a web-based platform to implement adaptive guidance designed by teachers that feature dialog and peer interaction. Further, the platform features teacher tools that can detect when a student needs additional help and alert the teacher. Teachers using the technology will be able to track and respond to individual student ideas, especially from students who would not often participate because of language and cultural barriers.

This project develops AI-based technology to help science teachers increase their impact on student science learning. The technology is aimed to provide accurate analysis of students' initial ideas and adaptive guidance that gets each student started on reconsidering their ideas and pursuing deeper understanding. Current methods in automated scoring primarily focus on detecting incorrect responses on test questions and estimating the overall knowledge level in a student explanation. This project leverages advances in natural language processing (NLP) to identify the specific ideas in student explanations for open-ended science questions. The investigators will conduct a comprehensive research program that pairs new NLP-based AI methods for analyzing student ideas with adaptive guidance that, in combination, will empower students to use their ideas as starting points for improving science understanding. To evaluate the idea detection process, the researchers will conduct studies that investigate the accuracy and impact of idea detection in classrooms. To evaluate the guidance, the researchers will conduct comparison studies that randomly assign students to conditions to identify the most promising adaptive guidance designs for detected ideas. All materials are customizable using open platform authoring tools.

DataX: Exploring Justice-Oriented Data Science with Secondary School Students

This project will develop an integrated, justice-oriented curriculum and a digital platform for teaching secondary students about data science in science and social studies classrooms. The platform will help students learn about data science using real-world data sets and problems. This interdisciplinary project will also help students meaningfully analyze real-world data sets, interpret social phenomena, and engage in social change.

Award Number: 
2101413
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Fri, 06/30/2023
Full Description: 

Understanding data is critical for informed citizens. Data science is a growing and emerging field that can incorporate statistics, mathematics, and computer science to develop disciplinary knowledge and address societal challenges. This project will develop an integrated, justice-oriented curriculum and a digital platform for teaching secondary students about data science in science and social studies classrooms. The platform will help students learn about data science using real-world data sets and problems. This project includes science and social studies teachers in the design of the resources and in testing them in secondary school classrooms. Research and development in data science education is needed to understand how students can learn more about the use of data in meaningful and authentic ways. This interdisciplinary project will also help students meaningfully analyze real-world data sets, interpret social phenomena, and engage in social change.

During a two-year project period, we aim to iteratively advance three design components of the DataX program: (a) a justice-oriented data science curriculum integrated in secondary science and social studies; (b) a web-based learning platform that extends the Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP) to support collaboration and sophisticated data practices; and (c) pedagogical practices that involve learners to work collectively as community. The guiding research question is: What scaffolds and resources are necessary to support the co-development of data, disciplinary, and critical literacies in secondary classrooms? To address this, the project will use participatory design research with science and social studies teachers to develop and test the curriculum, the learning platform, and the pedagogical practices. The data collected will include qualitative sources gathered from participatory design workshops and classrooms, as well as quantitative data from questionnaires and system logs. Using the data, we examine students' data science skills, data dispositions, and social participation in collaborative data investigations.

A Researcher-Practitioner Partnership to Assess the Impact of COVID-19 Recession on NGSS Implementation

This project will investigate how NGSS has been implemented in California schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Through a state-wide survey, analysis of administrative data, interviews and case studies, this project will assess the impact of COVID-19 on NGSS implementation on a large scale, and more importantly, the extent to which high minority, high-poverty districts are disproportionately affected. It will also identify policy options available to state and school districts.

Award Number: 
2128789
Funding Period: 
Tue, 06/01/2021 to Tue, 05/31/2022
Full Description: 

Today 44 states serving 71 percent of U.S. students have education standards influenced by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Local implementation is the key to the success of NGSS, yet little is known about the extent to which NGSS have been implemented in K-12 schools during COVID-19. Policymakers, educational leaders, and researchers urgently need data to know whether and how NGSS implementation is taking hold in their schools in light of changes due to COVID-19 so that they may design better supports for implementation in anticipation for school reopening for in-person learning in September 2021. This project will investigate how NGSS has been implemented in California schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Through a state-wide survey, analysis of administrative data, interviews and case studies, this project will assess the impact of COVID-19 on NGSS implementation on a large scale, and more importantly, the extent to which high minority, high-poverty districts are disproportionately affected. It will also identify policy options available to state and school districts. By collecting critical and timely data, this project will contribute new knowledge to understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on NGSS implementation. This knowledge is a necessary step towards policy and practice solutions that support schools and teachers in continuing implementation of NGSS and expanding educational opportunities to underrepresented minorities, English learners, and students with disabilities in post-COVID-19.

The goals of the project are to (1) assess the impacts of COVID-19 on NGSS implementation in California; (2) examine whether and how high-minority, high-poverty districts are impacted more acutely than other districts; and (3) identify policies and programs state and local districts could prioritize to mitigate the impacts. A mixed methods approach will be used to answer research questions related to the above goals. Specifically, a survey of all school districts in California will be conducted. Text mining of school district administrative data will also be performed. Qualitative methods will include interviews and case studies. Extensive outreach efforts, including one-on-one briefings with the members of the legislative and executive branches, will also take place throughout the year. A researcher-practitioner partnership will be formed through engaging the California State Department of Education in allocating resources for NGSS implementation and local school districts in developing guidelines to support teachers in NGSS-aligned instruction. Project findings will be widely disseminated through online resources and digital libraries to school districts, science teachers, and curriculum developers. Project findings will inform state policymaking and increase the partnerships between research institutions and state government.

Developing the Pedagogical Skills and Science Expertise of Teachers in Underserved Rural Settings

The project will develop and research an innovative model for rural science teacher professional development via technology-mediated lesson study (TMLS). This approach supports translating professional learning into classroom practice by developing a technology-based, social support system among rural teachers.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101383
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

Rural science teachers are often isolated and have few opportunities for meaningful collaboration with fellow teachers, an important source of professional learning. The project will develop and research an innovative model for rural science teacher professional development via technology-mediated lesson study (TMLS). This approach supports translating professional learning into classroom practice by developing a technology-based, social support system among rural teachers. The project will host summer workshops for high school biology and chemistry teachers from four rural Utah regions to learn about 3D science teaching. (3D science teaching incorporates core ideas science disciplines, science research practices, and concepts cutting across disciplines to help students meet performance expectations by engaging with authentic science phenomena.) In the workshops, participants will collaborate with the project team and teachers of the same subject from the same region of the state to co-design 3D science lessons that align with state and national education standards. Building on relationships developed during the workshops, the regional teacher teams will engage in a novel form of professional learning: technology-mediated lesson study. (Lesson study is an instructional inquiry model where teachers work face-to-face in small collaborative groups to craft, deliver, observe, and refine teaching practice.) This project will develop capacity for science teaching for 88 rural science teachers in four regions of the state, who will reach approximately 10,000 rural Utah students each year. Many of the students are members of the sovereign Ute, Paiute, Goshute, Navajo (Diné), and Shoshone Nations. The science lesson plans participants design will be made available to all Utah teachers, and shared with a national audience through a website that shares peer-reviewed science lesson plans. Project research and resources will be further disseminated through conference presentations and publications in peer-reviewed and practitioner journals.

The project will research how TMLS supports teachers in the process of translating professional learning into practice and investigate the impact of changing teachers’ social support network to include teachers of the same subject from other rural schools. The project will study the effects of co-design activities and TMLS cycles on teachers’ changing capacity, practice, and social support system using mixed-methods research. Changes in capacity and practice will be examined qualitatively through interviews, video observations of classroom teaching, and TMLS meetings. The effects of TMLS on teachers’ social support system will be analyzed quantitatively using social network analysis to identify individuals who act as information hubs for 3D science teaching. These teachers will be interviewed to better understand their social interactions. Using design-based implementation research, the project will iteratively improve the professional learning experience collaboratively with the science teacher leaders who participate in the project.

COVID Connects Us: Nurturing Novice Teachers’ Justice Science Teaching Identities

In COVID Connects Us, the project team investigates the challenges of learning how to support justice-centered ambitious science teaching (JuST). The project team will partner with networks of secondary science teachers as they first implement a common unit aimed at engaging youth in science and engineering practices in ways that are culturally sustaining, focused on explanation-construction and intentionally anti-oppressive.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101217
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Sun, 06/30/2024
Full Description: 

This project relates to two contemporary concerns in the US: the devastation felt by racial and ethnic minoritized communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges states face as they strategically navigate the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. These concerns necessitate a shift in the culture of science classrooms to align with the following findings from current research on learning: (a) students are best motivated when they need to explain real world events and solve problems that are meaningful to them; (b) when students develop explanations of these real-world events or societal problems and are allowed to participate in creative ways, they can develop deep understandings of core science ideas similar to that of scientists and engineers; and (c) students need to develop a critical lens about what science is studied, how it is studied, and who is left out of what is studied to understand how science is impacted by issues of power and to engage in more just forms of participation. Realizing these cultural transformations in science classrooms will require teachers to develop professional identities that are justice-, student- and culture-centered. In COVID Connects Us, the project team investigates the challenges of learning how to support justice-centered ambitious science teaching (JuST). The project team will partner with networks of secondary science teachers as they first implement a common unit aimed at engaging youth in science and engineering practices in ways that are culturally sustaining, focused on explanation-construction and intentionally anti-oppressive. The teachers will then use their shared experiences to revise future instruction in ways that are justice-centered and that engage students in the ways research suggests is important for their learning.

The goals of this three-year project center on developing and understanding core culture-setting teaching routines that can serve as powerful footholds to realize cultural shifts in science classrooms. The project team will collect and analyze teacher narratives to study the impact of two core and focal teacher supports on participating teachers’ professional identity development as practitioners of JuST practices. The supports include 1) a culture setting unit that all teachers will implement on the science of COVID; and 2) teachers’ engagement in a network of learning communities. During each of the first two academic years of the project, about 20 learning communities made up of four teachers in three different sites will engage in design-based implementation research cycles. These learning communities will collectively study videos of their teaching and samples of student-work to understand and address the challenges of JuST practices. Expected contributions of the study include: (a) a set of JuST routines that teachers find to be effective across curricular units; (b) exemplar JuST units including, but not limited to, the initial unit on the science of COVID; (c) research-based findings about how science educators develop critical consciousness related to disciplinary racism and practices that support students’ in developing the same; and d) vignettes and in-depth case studies of teachers’ development of JuST identities.

Teaching Amidst Uncertainty: Developing Mathematics Teachers' Groupwork Monitoring Practices

This study addresses two open questions in mathematics education and teacher learning research related to groupwork monitoring. Using contemporary information visualization techniques and open-source tools, alongside a video-based coaching activity, teachers will a) analyze classroom video records featuring group math discussions and b) uncover and investigate their specific interactions with student groups as well as their overall approach to this important phase of their lessons.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2100784
Funding Period: 
Sun, 08/01/2021 to Thu, 07/31/2025
Full Description: 

Decades of research shows that students learn best and instruction is more inclusive when students have opportunities to talk about mathematics. For this reason, many conceptually-oriented mathematics instructional approaches emphasize peer-to-peer discussion. Yet research diverges around questions of how teachers should manage such discussions, an instructional practice referred to as groupwork monitoring. There is contradictory guidance on issues of teacher involvement: should teachers stand back to support student autonomy or involve themselves frequently to support productive sensemaking? This study addresses two open questions in mathematics education and teacher learning research related to groupwork monitoring. The first question centers on groupwork monitoring itself: How can teachers foster productive mathematical talk among students? The second question touches on an underdeveloped topic in teacher education: in what ways can teacher preparation and professional development support teachers in learning effective group work monitoring. Many teacher education strategies–such as rehearsing routines or learning curriculum–aim for teachers to learn well-structured, predictable aspects of instruction, yet there are not clear approaches in helping teachers learn to support more interactive and emergent aspects of mathematics teaching. This Design and Development project addresses these challenges by studying experienced and accomplished secondary mathematics teachers’ learning about groupwork monitoring in a large urban school district. Using contemporary information visualization techniques and open-source tools, alongside a video-based coaching activity, teachers will a) analyze classroom video records featuring group math discussions and b) uncover and investigate their specific interactions with student groups as well as their overall approach to this important phase of their lessons. Through these tools, teachers will develop strategic and integrated understandings of effective groupwork monitoring strategies. As a result of this work, teachers and researchers will be able to better connect teachers’ monitoring choices to students’ peer-to-peer math talk.

To investigate how experienced secondary mathematics teachers learn about groupwork monitoring, the project will develop rich visualization tools to analyze classroom discussions, engage teachers in analytical activities, and study resultant teacher and student learning. In Phase 1, the project team will build on existing visualization tools to develop efficient processes for producing interactive visualizations of monitoring that provide new ways to link classroom video to teachers’ overall interactional patterns. In Phase 2, 12-16 experienced secondary mathematics teachers in six school-based teams will engage over a two-year period with teacher professional development designed to enhance their sensemaking about monitoring, both individually and in teams. The enhanced video feedback system will allow teachers to guide, document, and investigate their evolving sensemaking. In Phase 3, individual and team learning portraits of productive math talk will be developed from the rich corpus of classroom and teacher sensemaking data. At the same time, the corpus will be analyzed using quantitative methods to investigate the conditions under which different teacher monitoring moves support or impede students’ productive math talk. The primary research products will be: 1) novel, open-source tools that dynamically visualize teachers’ monitoring work over a lesson, coordinated with specific teacher-group interaction; 2) a framework for mathematics teachers’ monitoring; 3) a theory about teachers’ learning of responsive and situated practices, of which monitoring is an example; and 4) stronger empirical evidence to guide mathematics teachers’ monitoring practices.

Building a Flexible and Comprehensive Approach to Supporting Student Development of Whole Number Understanding

The purpose of this project is to develop and conduct initial studies of a multi-grade program targeting critical early math concepts. The project is designed to address equitable access to mathematics and STEM learning for all students, including those with or at-risk for learning disabilities and underrepresented groups.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101308
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

A critical goal for the nation is ensuring all students have a successful start in learning mathematics. While strides have been made in supporting at-risk students in mathematics, significant challenges still exist. These challenges include enabling access to and learning of advanced mathematics content, ensuring that learning gains don’t fade over time, and providing greater support to students with the most severe learning needs. One way to address these challenges is through the use of mathematics programs designed to span multiple grades. The purpose of this project is to develop and conduct initial studies of a multi-grade program targeting critical early math concepts. The project is designed to address equitable access to mathematics and STEM learning for all students, including those with or at-risk for learning disabilities and underrepresented groups.

The three aims of the project are to: (1) develop a set of 10 Bridging Lessons designed to link existing kindergarten and first grade intervention programs (2) develop a second grade intervention program that in combination with the kindergarten and first grade programs will promote a coherent sequence of whole number concepts, skills, and operations across kindergarten to second grade; and (3) conduct a pilot study of the second grade program examining initial promise to improve student mathematics achievement. To accomplish these goals multiple methods will be used including iterative design and development process and the use of a randomized control trial to study potential impact on student math learning. Study participants include approximately 220 kindergarten through second grade students from 8 schools across three districts. Study measures include teacher surveys, direct observations, and student math outcome measures. The project addresses the need for research developed intervention programs focused on advanced whole number content. The work is intended to support schools in designing and deploying math interventions to provide support to students both within and across the early elementary grades as they encounter and engage with critical mathematics content.

Learning about Viral Epidemics through Engagement with Different Types of Models

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for supporting student learning about viral outbreaks and other complex societal issues. Given the complexity of issues like viral outbreaks, engaging learners with different types of models (e.g., mechanistic, computational and system models) is critical. However, there is little research available regarding how learners coordinate sense making across different models.

Award Number: 
2101083
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

The project will develop new curriculum and use it to research how high school students learn about viral epidemics while developing competencies for scientific modeling. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for supporting student learning about viral outbreaks and other complex societal issues. Given the complexity of issues like viral outbreaks, engaging learners with different types of models (e.g., mechanistic, computational and system models) is critical. However, there is little research available regarding how learners coordinate sense making across different models. This project will address the gap by studying student learning with different types of models and will use these findings to develop and study new curriculum materials that incorporate multiple models for teaching about viral epidemics in high school biology classes. COVID-19 caused devasting impacts, and marginalized groups including the Latinx community suffered disproportionately negative outcomes. The project will directly recruit Latinx students to ensure that design products are culturally responsive and account for Latinx learner needs. The project will create new pathways for engaging Latinx students in innovative, model-based curriculum about critically important issues. Project research and resources will be widely shared via publications, conference presentations, and professional development opportunities for teachers.

The project will research three aspects of student learning: a) conceptual understandings about viral epidemics, b) epistemic understandings associated with modeling, and c) model-informed reasoning about viral epidemics and potential solutions. The research will be conducted in three phases. Phase 1 will explore how students make sense of viral epidemics through different types of models. This research will be conducted with small groups of students as they work through learning activities and discourse opportunities associated with viral epidemic models. Phase 2 will research how opportunities to engage in modeling across different types of models should be supported and sequenced for learning about viral epidemics. These findings will make it possible to revise the learning performance which will be used to develop a curricular module for high school biology classes. Phase 3 will study the extent to which students learn about viral epidemics through engagement in modeling practices across different models. For this final phase, teachers will participate in professional development about viral epidemics and modeling and then implement the viral epidemic module in their biology classes. A pre- and post-test research design will be used to explore student conceptual understandings, model-informed reasoning, and epistemic understandings.

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