December 2020 Newsletter

NSF program officer and DRK-12 program lead, Michael Steele, opens our year-end newsletter with a message for the DRK-12 community. 

To the Discovery Research PreK-12 PI Community,

What a long, strange year it’s been! I want to start by thanking you all for your contributions, service, and perseverance in supporting the STEM education research community. This has been a challenging year to engage in STEM education research and development with our institutional capacities limited by COVID-19, PreK-12 schools adapting to emergency remote learning and a variety of instructional models to support students, and teachers challenged to learn new modes of engagement in the midst of their already-busy lives. I appreciate the work that all of you have done in adapting to new challenges and circumstances and keeping at the heart of our collective work the goal of improving STEM education for students and teachers across the nation.

We also recognize the changes to the educational landscape brought about by increased local and national attention to social injustice. We appreciate the efforts that many projects are making to connect to issues of justice and equity in their work. In concert with the global health pandemic, 2020 has brought into stark relief the inequities in our educational systems, particularly related to STEM. I’d like to challenge our community to continue to think about ways to support more equitable outcomes for PreK-12 students and their teachers in the context of STEM education as we consider both our current projects and our future work.

As our education and research landscapes continue to change and evolve, I’d like to encourage you to stay in touch with your DRK-12 program officer about your project plans. We are happy to help think together with you about sensible adaptations to your research that move you towards your research goals in ways that are sensitive and responsive to the current state of PreK-12 education locally and nationally. And as you begin thinking about your next DRK-12 submission, please be in touch with us! Program officers are always happy to think through research ideas together with you and provide feedback to strengthen your proposals.

Thanks also to the CADRE team for their work in supporting the DRK-12 PI community. We all were disappointed to not be able to hold our scheduled PI meeting this past summer, but CADRE has been working hard to plan for a 2021 virtual PI meeting for us to share our work, network with colleagues, and learn from one another. I’m indebted to their flexibility and thoughtfulness as we explore new ways for us to convene.

Be well, and thank you for all that you do for our STEM students and teachers,
Mike Steele
Program Lead, Discovery Research PreK-12

Most Popular DRK-12 News and Resources in 2020

We're looking back on DRK-12 work in 2020 and sharing some of the most popular content.

Most Visited Spotlights

COVID-19 and
Online Learning

Modeling in Science &
Mathematics Education

Visual Representations
in Mathematics

Most Clicked Newsbites

  1. Special Issue on Computational Thinking from a Disciplinary Perspective | Journal of Science Education and Technology | Authors: Several former and current DRK-12 awardees. 
  2. A Tool for Visualizing and Inquiring into Whole-Class Sensemaking Discussions | Research in Science Education | Authors: Carolyn Colley and Mark Windschitl
  3. Consequences of Curricular Adaptation Strategies for Implementation at Scale | Science Education | Authors: Brian Drayton, Debra Bernstein, Christian Schunn, and Susan McKenney

Popular Social Media Posts

  1. Featured #onlinelearning resource: Seismic Explorer. Explore the pattern of earthquakes on Earth, including magnitude, depth, location, and frequency: @ConcordDotOrg @NSF_EHR #NSFfunded #STEMEd #Edchat #NGSSchat #remotelearning #EarthScience
  2. Featured #onlinelearning resource: Data Nuggets. Free data activities for students of all ages: @Data_Nuggets @NSF_EHR #NSFfunded #STEMEd #Edchat #NSFSTEM #remotelearning
  3. Today's featured #NewDRK12Award: Locally Adaptable Instructional Materials and Professional Learning Design for Place-based Elementary Science #NSFfunded #EdResearch #STEMEd @NSF @KateCookWhitt @mmsa_org

Most Viewed DRK-12 Videos in the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase

Formative Assessment
with a Bang!

Culturally Responsive
Indigenous Science

A Medical Mystery: Middle School
Body Systems for the NGSS

Most Viewed DRK-12 Project Resources

  1. Supporting Sense-making with Mathematical Bet Lines | Publication
  2. Productive Struggle for All: Differentiated Instruction | Publication
  3. Building Statistical Thinking with Social Justice Investigations and Social Science Data | Poster

Find a compilation of 2020 DRK-12 publications in our Reading List.

Most Viewed DRK-12 Community Voices Blogs

What Black Women Are Trying to Teach Us: Transforming Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work in K-12 STEM Education Research, Practice, and Policy

Removing the Shield


Critically Examining Whiteness in Culturally Responsive Education



Most Clicked Project Tip of 2020: It's a Tie!

Implications of COVID-19 on NSF-Funded Projects
NSF announced measures to provide "administrative relief" to projects affected by COVID-19. Read more.

Research Instruments
If you’re looking for repositories of STEM education research instruments, try these curated by STELAR, CAISE, Horizon Research, and OERL. CADRE also has compendiums of teacher and student instruments. 


Read this month's roundup of news from NSF, NSF networks, and DRK-12 projects and awardees.

News from NSF

News from NSF Networks

News from DRK-12 Projects and Awardees

Awards & Recognition


Do you have news to share? Email

Upcoming Opportunities

The following funding and publication opportunities, listed by deadline, may be of interest to you and your DRK-12 project members.


For more NSF funding opportunities, see CADRE's list of Upcoming NSF DRL Solicitation Deadlines.


For other publication opportunities, including those with ongoing submissions, see CADRE's list of Publications for STEM Educators, Policymakers, and Researchers.
For job, funding, and capacity-building opportunities for doctoral students, postdocs, and other early career scholars, visit our Early Career News & Opportunities page.

In Case You Missed It

Highlights from recent newsletters and announcements:

A complete archive of our newsletters and announcements is available on

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