Teachers

Co-developing a Curriculum Coherence Toolkit with Teachers (Collaborative Research: Drake)

This project will investigate the factors that influence curriculum coherence and how teachers in Grades 3-5 respond to these factors as they make decisions about their mathematics curriculum.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1908165
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Wed, 06/30/2021
Full Description: 

One important aspect of any mathematics curriculum is its coherence, or the mathematical connections across lessons. This coherence links lessons and activities so that mathematical ideas, representations, practices, skills, and ways of thinking build upon each other to help students construct mathematical meaning and enhance their learning. When teachers relied predominantly on published curriculum materials, curricular coherence was largely provided by the curriculum authors. However, many of today's teachers are no longer given a foundational textbook or single set of resources. Further, teachers have unprecedented access via the internet and social media to lessons and activities produced by many different curriculum developers (including other teachers). As a result, the important task of building curricular coherence becomes the responsibility of the classroom teacher. And yet, very little is known about how teachers think about curricular coherence or how their decisions about lessons and activities reflect the coherent mathematical story they hope to students will learn in their classrooms. This project will investigate the factors that influence curriculum coherence and how teachers in Grades 3-5 respond to these factors as they make decisions about their mathematics curriculum. A national survey of 300 Grades 3-5 teachers will be conducted in in the first phase of the project and the work will continue with small groups of four case study teachers in each of four different districts across four states. Case study participants will work with project researchers to co-develop a set of tools for supporting curriculum coherence. The structure of the project and the selection of case study participants will facilitate the collaborative co-development of tools across institutions and across geographic and curricular contexts, supporting the use of the tools across a wide range of contexts. The outcomes of this study will contribute to broader impacts by developing understandings of curriculum coherence that are robust across a range of curricular, policy, and district/school contexts, with implications that support the participation of students in diverse mathematics classrooms. The survey findings and the coherence toolkit co-developed with teachers will be disseminated widely through conference presentations, including teacher-oriented conferences, through journal publications, and through making survey data available to other researchers.

The research objectives of this study are to explore 1) patterns of Grade 3-5 teacher curricular resource use across a range of curriculum contexts, 2) teacher decisions about curriculum coherence, and 3) how curriculum toolkits co-developed with teachers might support teachers in making decisions related to curriculum coherence. Given the potential variation among and within states and districts in terms of contextual factors impacting curriculum use, teachers will be surveyed about their contexts, available resources, and curricular decision-making. Survey data will be analyzed using primarily descriptive analyses. Following the survey, in-depth case studies of teacher curricular resource use in contexts that vary along two dimensions (autonomy to select curricular resources and the complexity of curricular influences, including the number of resources available) will be developed. Case study data, including interviews, video-recorded co-design groups, and curriculum use artifacts, will be analyzed using methods of discourse analysis, thematic analysis, and document analysis and synthesized within and across cases. By selecting cases along these dimensions, a set of tools will be co-developed to support teachers as they navigate diverse curricular contexts to enact a coherent curriculum for students.

Co-developing a Curriculum Coherence Toolkit with Teachers (Collaborative Research: Wood)

This project will investigate the factors that influence curriculum coherence and how teachers in Grades 3-5 respond to these factors as they make decisions about their mathematics curriculum.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1907831
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Wed, 06/30/2021
Full Description: 

One important aspect of any mathematics curriculum is its coherence, or the mathematical connections across lessons. This coherence links lessons and activities so that mathematical ideas, representations, practices, skills, and ways of thinking build upon each other to help students construct mathematical meaning and enhance their learning. When teachers relied predominantly on published curriculum materials, curricular coherence was largely provided by the curriculum authors. However, many of today's teachers are no longer given a foundational textbook or single set of resources. Further, teachers have unprecedented access via the internet and social media to lessons and activities produced by many different curriculum developers (including other teachers). As a result, the important task of building curricular coherence becomes the responsibility of the classroom teacher. And yet, very little is known about how teachers think about curricular coherence or how their decisions about lessons and activities reflect the coherent mathematical story they hope to students will learn in their classrooms. This project will investigate the factors that influence curriculum coherence and how teachers in Grades 3-5 respond to these factors as they make decisions about their mathematics curriculum. A national survey of 300 Grades 3-5 teachers will be conducted in in the first phase of the project and the work will continue with small groups of four case study teachers in each of four different districts across four states. Case study participants will work with project researchers to co-develop a set of tools for supporting curriculum coherence. The structure of the project and the selection of case study participants will facilitate the collaborative co-development of tools across institutions and across geographic and curricular contexts, supporting the use of the tools across a wide range of contexts. The outcomes of this study will contribute to broader impacts by developing understandings of curriculum coherence that are robust across a range of curricular, policy, and district/school contexts, with implications that support the participation of students in diverse mathematics classrooms. The survey findings and the coherence toolkit co-developed with teachers will be disseminated widely through conference presentations, including teacher-oriented conferences, through journal publications, and through making survey data available to other researchers.

The research objectives of this study are to explore 1) patterns of Grade 3-5 teacher curricular resource use across a range of curriculum contexts, 2) teacher decisions about curriculum coherence, and 3) how curriculum toolkits co-developed with teachers might support teachers in making decisions related to curriculum coherence. Given the potential variation among and within states and districts in terms of contextual factors impacting curriculum use, teachers will be surveyed about their contexts, available resources, and curricular decision-making. Survey data will be analyzed using primarily descriptive analyses. Following the survey, in-depth case studies of teacher curricular resource use in contexts that vary along two dimensions (autonomy to select curricular resources and the complexity of curricular influences, including the number of resources available) will be developed. Case study data, including interviews, video-recorded co-design groups, and curriculum use artifacts, will be analyzed using methods of discourse analysis, thematic analysis, and document analysis and synthesized within and across cases. By selecting cases along these dimensions, a set of tools will be co-developed to support teachers as they navigate diverse curricular contexts to enact a coherent curriculum for students.

Co-developing a Curriculum Coherence Toolkit with Teachers (Collaborative Research: Newton)

This project will investigate the factors that influence curriculum coherence and how teachers in Grades 3-5 respond to these factors as they make decisions about their mathematics curriculum.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1907808
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Wed, 06/30/2021
Project Evaluator: 
Full Description: 

One important aspect of any mathematics curriculum is its coherence, or the mathematical connections across lessons. This coherence links lessons and activities so that mathematical ideas, representations, practices, skills, and ways of thinking build upon each other to help students construct mathematical meaning and enhance their learning. When teachers relied predominantly on published curriculum materials, curricular coherence was largely provided by the curriculum authors. However, many of today's teachers are no longer given a foundational textbook or single set of resources. Further, teachers have unprecedented access via the internet and social media to lessons and activities produced by many different curriculum developers (including other teachers). As a result, the important task of building curricular coherence becomes the responsibility of the classroom teacher. And yet, very little is known about how teachers think about curricular coherence or how their decisions about lessons and activities reflect the coherent mathematical story they hope to students will learn in their classrooms. This project will investigate the factors that influence curriculum coherence and how teachers in Grades 3-5 respond to these factors as they make decisions about their mathematics curriculum. A national survey of 300 Grades 3-5 teachers will be conducted in in the first phase of the project and the work will continue with small groups of four case study teachers in each of four different districts across four states. Case study participants will work with project researchers to co-develop a set of tools for supporting curriculum coherence. The structure of the project and the selection of case study participants will facilitate the collaborative co-development of tools across institutions and across geographic and curricular contexts, supporting the use of the tools across a wide range of contexts. The outcomes of this study will contribute to broader impacts by developing understandings of curriculum coherence that are robust across a range of curricular, policy, and district/school contexts, with implications that support the participation of students in diverse mathematics classrooms. The survey findings and the coherence toolkit co-developed with teachers will be disseminated widely through conference presentations, including teacher-oriented conferences, through journal publications, and through making survey data available to other researchers.

The research objectives of this study are to explore 1) patterns of Grade 3-5 teacher curricular resource use across a range of curriculum contexts, 2) teacher decisions about curriculum coherence, and 3) how curriculum toolkits co-developed with teachers might support teachers in making decisions related to curriculum coherence. Given the potential variation among and within states and districts in terms of contextual factors impacting curriculum use, teachers will be surveyed about their contexts, available resources, and curricular decision-making. Survey data will be analyzed using primarily descriptive analyses. Following the survey, in-depth case studies of teacher curricular resource use in contexts that vary along two dimensions (autonomy to select curricular resources and the complexity of curricular influences, including the number of resources available) will be developed. Case study data, including interviews, video-recorded co-design groups, and curriculum use artifacts, will be analyzed using methods of discourse analysis, thematic analysis, and document analysis and synthesized within and across cases. By selecting cases along these dimensions, a set of tools will be co-developed to support teachers as they navigate diverse curricular contexts to enact a coherent curriculum for students.

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Using Animated Contrasting Cases to Improve Procedural and Conceptual Knowledge in Geometry

This project aims to support stronger student outcomes in the teaching and learning of geometry in the middle grades through engaging students in animated contrasting cases of worked examples. The project will design a series of animated geometry curricular materials on a digital platform that ask students to compare different approaches to solving the same geometry problem. The study will measure changes in students' procedural and conceptual knowledge of geometry after engaging with the materials and will explore the ways in which teachers implement the materials in their classrooms.

Award Number: 
1907745
Funding Period: 
Thu, 08/01/2019 to Sun, 07/31/2022
Full Description: 

This project aims to support stronger student outcomes in the teaching and learning of geometry in the middle grades through engaging students in animated contrasting cases of worked examples. Animated contrasting cases are a set of two worked examples for the same geometry problem, approached in different ways. The animations show the visual moves and annotations students would make in solving the problems. Students are asked to compare and discuss the approaches. This theoretically-grounded approach extends the work of cognitive scientists and mathematics educators who have shown this approach supports strong student learning in algebra. The project will design a series of animated geometry curricular materials on a digital platform that ask students to compare different approaches to solving the same geometry problem. The study will measure changes in students' procedural and conceptual knowledge of geometry after engaging with the materials and will explore the ways in which teachers implement the materials in their classrooms. This work is particularly important as geometry is an understudied area in mathematics education, and national and international assessments at the middle school level consistently identify geometry as a mathematics content area in which students score the lowest.

This project draws on prior work that documents the impact of comparison on students' learning in algebra. Providing students with opportunities to compare multiple strategies is recommended by a range of mathematics policy documents, as research has shown this approach promotes flexibility and enhances conceptual knowledge and procedural fluency. More specifically, the approach allows students to compare the effectiveness and efficiency of mathematical arguments in the context of problem solving. An initial pilot study on non-animated contrasting cases in geometry shows promise for the general approach and suggests that animating the cases has the potential for stronger student learning gains. This study will examine the extent to which the animated cases improve students' conceptual and procedural knowledge of geometry and identify factors that relate to changes in knowledge. The project team will develop 24 worked example contrasting cases based on design principles from the prior work in algebra. The materials will be implemented in four treatment classrooms in the first cycle, revised, and then implemented in eight treatment classrooms. Students' written work will be collected along with data on the nature of the classroom discussions and small-group interviews with students. Teachers' perspectives on lessons will also be collected to support revision and strengthening of the materials. Assessments of students' geometry knowledge will be developed using measures with demonstrated validity and reliability to measure changes in student learning.

Developing Organizational Capacity to Improve K-8 Mathematics Teaching and Learning

This project will develop and test a leadership model to improve K-8 mathematics teaching and learning by involving stakeholders across the K-8 spectrum. The project will support teachers, teacher leaders, and administrators in collectively identifying and addressing problems of practice in the teaching and learning of mathematics, and in turn develop plans to improve school and district organizational capacities to support stronger mathematics teaching.

Award Number: 
1907681
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Sun, 06/30/2024
Full Description: 

The Developing Organizational Capacity to Improve K-8 Mathematics Teaching and Learning is a 4-year implementation and improvement project. The project will develop and test a leadership model to improve K-8 mathematics teaching and learning by involving stakeholders across the K-8 spectrum. The project will support teachers, teacher leaders, and administrators in collectively identifying and addressing problems of practice in the teaching and learning of mathematics, and in turn develop plans to improve school and district organizational capacities to support stronger mathematics teaching. At the heart of the project is the Elementary Mathematics Leadership (EML) model, which is designed to improve stakeholder understandings of effective math teaching practices. The EML model involves collaboratively identifying classroom-based problems of practice with school and district personnel, designing and implementing professional development aligned with the problems of practice, and iterating those cycles of development, implementation, and revision to assess the model's effectiveness.

The EML model operates at the teacher, school, and district level using a design-based implementation research approach. At the district level, leadership teams in conjunction with researchers will identify problems of practice for which work on those problems will lead to a more coherent mathematics instruction in the district. Following this, professional development and coaching at the teacher level will be designed and implemented to target the problem of practice, with a focus on big ideas within the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. This phase of the model also includes professional development aimed at school leaders and district administrators to strengthen organizational capacity to support and lead change related to the problem of practice. The final phase of the model calls on researchers, district, and school personnel to engage in an annual redesign of the intervention, making use of data gathered during the school year and evidence about what is happening in classrooms. This design acknowledges the broader policy context in which schools and districts operate as they work towards instructional change. To evaluate the effectiveness of the overall EML model, the project will collect a wide variety of data, including student achievement outcomes using standardized tests; assessments of teachers' mathematical knowledge, instructional practices, and efficacy measures; and measures of leader, administrator, and organizational capacities to support high-quality mathematics instruction. Four districts will be recruited to participate, enacting the model in pairs with a staggered start for one pair of districts to be able to measure treatment effects, using a variation of a switching replications design. Classroom practice and teacher outcomes will be assessed using a variety of MKT assessments, the Mathematical Quality of Instruction (MQI), and the Instructional Quality Assessment (IQA). School level outcomes will be collected via a leadership assessment and interview data, and district level outcomes will be assessed through the use of interview and documentary data. Analysis will include a statistical analysis of the EML model using hierarchical linear modeling, MANOVA/ANOVA, and regression as appropriate at the level of students and teachers, and qualitative analysis and descriptive statistics will be used at the school and district level due to small sample size.

Co-developing a Curriculum Coherence Toolkit with Teachers (Collaborative Research: Olson)

This project will investigate the factors that influence curriculum coherence and how teachers in Grades 3-5 respond to these factors as they make decisions about their mathematics curriculum.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1907650
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Wed, 06/30/2021
Full Description: 

One important aspect of any mathematics curriculum is its coherence, or the mathematical connections across lessons. This coherence links lessons and activities so that mathematical ideas, representations, practices, skills, and ways of thinking build upon each other to help students construct mathematical meaning and enhance their learning. When teachers relied predominantly on published curriculum materials, curricular coherence was largely provided by the curriculum authors. However, many of today's teachers are no longer given a foundational textbook or single set of resources. Further, teachers have unprecedented access via the internet and social media to lessons and activities produced by many different curriculum developers (including other teachers). As a result, the important task of building curricular coherence becomes the responsibility of the classroom teacher. And yet, very little is known about how teachers think about curricular coherence or how their decisions about lessons and activities reflect the coherent mathematical story they hope to students will learn in their classrooms. This project will investigate the factors that influence curriculum coherence and how teachers in Grades 3-5 respond to these factors as they make decisions about their mathematics curriculum. A national survey of 300 Grades 3-5 teachers will be conducted in in the first phase of the project and the work will continue with small groups of four case study teachers in each of four different districts across four states. Case study participants will work with project researchers to co-develop a set of tools for supporting curriculum coherence. The structure of the project and the selection of case study participants will facilitate the collaborative co-development of tools across institutions and across geographic and curricular contexts, supporting the use of the tools across a wide range of contexts. The outcomes of this study will contribute to broader impacts by developing understandings of curriculum coherence that are robust across a range of curricular, policy, and district/school contexts, with implications that support the participation of students in diverse mathematics classrooms. The survey findings and the coherence toolkit co-developed with teachers will be disseminated widely through conference presentations, including teacher-oriented conferences, through journal publications, and through making survey data available to other researchers.

The research objectives of this study are to explore 1) patterns of Grade 3-5 teacher curricular resource use across a range of curriculum contexts, 2) teacher decisions about curriculum coherence, and 3) how curriculum toolkits co-developed with teachers might support teachers in making decisions related to curriculum coherence. Given the potential variation among and within states and districts in terms of contextual factors impacting curriculum use, teachers will be surveyed about their contexts, available resources, and curricular decision-making. Survey data will be analyzed using primarily descriptive analyses. Following the survey, in-depth case studies of teacher curricular resource use in contexts that vary along two dimensions (autonomy to select curricular resources and the complexity of curricular influences, including the number of resources available) will be developed. Case study data, including interviews, video-recorded co-design groups, and curriculum use artifacts, will be analyzed using methods of discourse analysis, thematic analysis, and document analysis and synthesized within and across cases. By selecting cases along these dimensions, a set of tools will be co-developed to support teachers as they navigate diverse curricular contexts to enact a coherent curriculum for students.

Building Professional Capital in Elementary Science Teaching through a District-wide Networked Improvement Community Model

This project will focus on a networked improvement community (NIC) model of professional learning that shifts K-5 science instruction from traditional approaches to a three-dimensional design as outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards. The project will feature a multi-level model involving university educators and researchers and school district practitioners in an effort to co-defined problems of practice valuable to both parties.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1907471
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Thu, 06/30/2022
Full Description: 

This project will focus on a networked improvement community (NIC) model of professional learning that shifts K-5 science instruction from traditional approaches to a three-dimensional design as outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards. The need to make this shift stems from the school district's decision to address inequities in science as some schools offer minimal to no science instruction during the elementary years. The NIC model will draw on expertise from school personnel and university partners to ensure that students will have access to and benefit from authentic model-based inquiry daily in the early grades. This model embraces the challenges of scale and sustainability by targeting the design and substance of professional learning and its organization within the district, balancing integration with existing system infrastructure, and shifting the system based on theory-driven practices. To prepare teachers for this major change, professional development will shift from: (1) training on the use of kit-based curricular materials to professional learning grounded in NGSS-inspired sets of practices and tools; (2) working as individual practitioners to teaching as collaborative investigations; (3) using centralized efforts to distributed knowledge-building and leadership; (4) learning science as decontextualized facts to deep engagement with real-world phenomena; and (5) teaching lessons as prescribed by curriculum to a focus on responsive teaching and building on students' funds of knowledge. The NIC model will provide a pathway for integrating and implementing these shifts via a multilevel, knowledge-building, problem-solving system. This system will go beyond a single focus on improving students' understanding of science content to incorporating teaching practices that advances knowledge about student's written and spoken scientific language and use of explanations and arguments. Through the NIC model all K-5 elementary students in the district will benefit from a rigorous and equitable approach to science learning.

This project will feature a multi-level model involving university educators and researchers and school district practitioners in an effort to co-defined problems of practice valuable to both parties. A mixed methods research design will examine how the NIC model develops professional capital through changes in implementation over multiple iterations. These changes will be captured through short and long-term instruments. Regarding the shorter term, practical measures sensitive to change and directly tied to small manageable, short-term goals will provide quick responses to everyday real-time questions. These measures will help assess specific improvement goals using language relevant and meaningful to researchers and practitioners. For longer term goals, in-depth case studies, interviews, observations, pre-posttests, surveys, and questionnaires will collect data on several variables critical to documenting improvements at the teacher and student levels. Both sets of data will generate knowledge about ambitious and equitable science teaching practices with a focus on students' cultural and linguistic resources and experiences. Through such pathways, knowledge will be generated on teachers' and students' growth as active builders and collaborators in the development of improved learning and experiences. The outcomes will identify critical facets that support advances and sustainability that illuminate variations within the district to better understand what works, for whom, and under what conditions. the research findings will also be used to inform decision making about teaching science at the elementary grades and to further refine equity-based practices, resources, and tools for building on students' funds of knowledge vital to supporting, sustaining, and scaling educational outcomes for all students in the district and beyond.

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

This project will engage teams of students and teachers of grades 7-12 in four competitive Challenges to design innovative strategies for carbon mitigation in areas such as transportation, agriculture or energy use. The project expands the typical boundaries of schools by enabling teams of students in multiple locations to collaborate in model-based reasoning through online discussion forums, using social media, and crowdsourcing ideas to construct possible solutions to environmental challenges. Project research will examine the impacts of the project on student learning and engagement.

Project Email: 
Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1908117
Funding Period: 
Thu, 08/01/2019 to Mon, 07/31/2023
Project Evaluator: 
Full Description: 

Current priorities in science education include efforts to engage students in scientific reasoning and using the knowledge and practices of science to understand natural phenomena and constructively respond to local and global challenges. This project responds to these priorities by engaging teams of students and teachers of grades 7-12 in four competitive Challenges to design innovative strategies for carbon mitigation in areas such as transportation, agriculture or energy use. The project expands the typical boundaries of schools by enabling teams of students in multiple locations to collaborate in model-based reasoning through online discussion forums, using social media, and crowdsourcing ideas to construct possible solutions to environmental challenges. Project research will examine the impacts of the project on student learning and engagement.

This early stage Design and Development study is guided by the hypothesis that competitive challenges supported by social media and crowdsourcing will engage a diverse array of students in sustained and meaningful scientific inquiry. Over a period of four years, the project will design and refine four Challenges that will engage approximately 1,000 students of ages 13-17. Project research is guided by three overarching questions related to the design of the Challenges, the influence of school contextual factors, and student learning and self-efficacy. The questions are: (1) How do features of the challenge environment support the work of teams, and the participation of students from communities historically underserved in STEM? (2) What structures within the school ecosystem support or raise obstacles to team work? And (3) Does participation in a Challenge result in the intended student outcomes. Intended outcomes include: a) Learning of basic concepts related to the science of the project focus; b) Engagement in learning disciplinary core ideas, cross-cutting concepts and science and engineering practices; c) Persistence in completing a Challenge; and d) self-efficacy in STEM. Students and their teachers will cross disciplinary boundaries as they choose concepts from chemistry, engineering, mathematics, biology, and social science to support their innovations.Teachers, students, staff members and advisors will comment and provide quidance to the teams on a range of issues through crowdsourcing. Design research will be used to examine how features of the Challenge environment supports the work of teachers and teams, and implementation research will focus on participant learning at the individual and team levels. The project will engage at least 25 teams of 3-4 students each, and researchers will track team activity during all phases of the Challenge process. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative analyses will be used to examine outcomes, and data for girls and others from underserved populations will be disaggregated for separate analyses.

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Professional Development for Teaching and Learning about Energy and Equity in High School Physics (Collaborative Research: Scherr)

This project will research and develop instructional materials and conduct professional development for teachers to help students understand energy flow. The project will create a model for secondary science teacher professional development that integrates science concepts with equity education.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1907815
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Fri, 06/30/2023
Full Description: 

This project will research and develop instructional materials and conduct professional development for teachers to help students understand energy flow, an important scientific concept with economic and social implications. This energy learning is the foundation for informed decision-making about sustainable and just use of energy resources. Energy issues are not only issues of science and technology, but must be integrated with civics, history, economics, sociology, psychology, and politics to understand and solve modern energy problems. Placing the scientific concept of energy in this social context presents an opportunity to advance science education as equitable and culturally responsive.

This project will create a model for secondary science teacher professional development that integrates science concepts with equity education. This model promotes a key epistemological issue: that science concepts are not culture-free or socially neutral ideas, but rather are concepts created and sustained by people in specific times and places for the purposes of (1) addressing specific social needs and (2) empowering people or groups of people. The two major components of the project are (1) the professional development experience, including both an intensive in-person summer workshop and an online professional learning community, and (2)an energy and equity portal, including an instructional materials library, an action research exchange, and a community forum for teacher discussions. The portal will provide technical resources to support the PLC, including support for sharing instructional materials and reporting on action research. The research plan includes exploratory, development and application phases. The researchers will identify teacher learning in the first iteration of PD, collect and analyze the instructional artifacts to inform how teacher engage with, participate in, and build an understanding energy as a historically and politically situated science concept. A team of scholar-videographers will observe, taking real-time field notes and making daily memos. The research team will use the instructional artifacts, video recordings, field notes, and memos as a basis for analysis through the next academic year. The result will be a nationally significant community of teacher-leaders and library of research-tested instructional materials that are responsive to students' scientific ideas, relevant to socio-political concerns about energy sustainability, respectful of students' cultures, and open to all students no matter their cultural background. Teachers participating in the project will learn to explain how scientific concepts of energy reflect culturally specific values, analyze socio-politically relevant energy scenarios, learn the historic and present-day inequities in the energy industry and in science participation, and be supported in preparing instruction for secondary students that is culturally responsive and relevant to their students' communities.

Professional Development for Teaching and Learning about Energy and Equity in High School Physics (Collaborative Research: Mason)

This project will research and develop instructional materials and conduct professional development for teachers to help students understand energy flow. The project will create a model for secondary science teacher professional development that integrates science concepts with equity education.

Partner Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
1907950
Funding Period: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 to Fri, 06/30/2023
Full Description: 

This project will research and develop instructional materials and conduct professional development for teachers to help students understand energy flow, an important scientific concept with economic and social implications. This energy learning is the foundation for informed decision-making about sustainable and just use of energy resources. Energy issues are not only issues of science and technology, but must be integrated with civics, history, economics, sociology, psychology, and politics to understand and solve modern energy problems. Placing the scientific concept of energy in this social context presents an opportunity to advance science education as equitable and culturally responsive.

This project will create a model for secondary science teacher professional development that integrates science concepts with equity education. This model promotes a key epistemological issue: that science concepts are not culture-free or socially neutral ideas, but rather are concepts created and sustained by people in specific times and places for the purposes of (1) addressing specific social needs and (2) empowering people or groups of people. The two major components of the project are (1) the professional development experience, including both an intensive in-person summer workshop and an online professional learning community, and (2)an energy and equity portal, including an instructional materials library, an action research exchange, and a community forum for teacher discussions. The portal will provide technical resources to support the PLC, including support for sharing instructional materials and reporting on action research. The research plan includes exploratory, development and application phases. The researchers will identify teacher learning in the first iteration of PD, collect and analyze the instructional artifacts to inform how teacher engage with, participate in, and build an understanding energy as a historically and politically situated science concept. A team of scholar-videographers will observe, taking real-time field notes and making daily memos. The research team will use the instructional artifacts, video recordings, field notes, and memos as a basis for analysis through the next academic year. The result will be a nationally significant community of teacher-leaders and library of research-tested instructional materials that are responsive to students' scientific ideas, relevant to socio-political concerns about energy sustainability, respectful of students' cultures, and open to all students no matter their cultural background. Teachers participating in the project will learn to explain how scientific concepts of energy reflect culturally specific values, analyze socio-politically relevant energy scenarios, learn the historic and present-day inequities in the energy industry and in science participation, and be supported in preparing instruction for secondary students that is culturally responsive and relevant to their students' communities.

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