Projects

07/01/2023

One of the most persistent challenges in education is the gap between research and classroom practice, meaning that research-informed recommendations and practices that could support students’ mathematics learning do not always reach the classroom. Improving how mathematics-focused education research is communicated to a teacher audience—using strategies that are useful and valuable from the teacher perspective—is one key avenue for mitigating consequences of the research-practice gap. This project will develop, assess, and refine innovative key abstracts (i.e., concise, infographic-type resources) for communicating mathematics-focused practitioner articles with a teacher audience. Teacher perspectives will be embedded throughout the project to inform key abstract design. The project also involves a collaboration with the university disability center to provide funded research opportunities in STEM education to university students with disabilities.

07/01/2023

This project will provide rural STEM middle school teachers and career counselors professional development and the support needed to collaborate with each other and local community assets in designing, integrating, and implementing effective STEM content and career development activities. Local teams will co-develop project-based learning units that incorporate a place-based education perspective involving STEM assets, careers, and stakeholders from the local communities for middle school rural youth that intentionally infuse STEM careers in their area with STEM content.

07/01/2023

Despite growing interest in supporting the integration of computational thinking (CT) in elementary education, there is not an agreed-upon definition of CT that is developmentally appropriate for early childhood, nor is there a clear understanding of how young children’s CT develops and which kinds of instructional approaches and practices truly support the development of CT. Early elementary educators need feasible research-based, developmentally appropriate CT curricula. This project will contribute to this critical STEM educational need by working with a design team of 5 elementary teachers to develop a research-based integrated mathematics and CT curriculum.

07/01/2023

This project will investigate the potential of a novel approach to mathematics intervention that leverages the affordances of technology and evidence-based pedagogy to improve mathematics learning for middle school students. The mathematics intervention entitled EMPIRES is a collaborative activity set in Ancient Mesopotamia that offers a multifaceted approach in which (1) rich, narrative math problems increase conceptual comprehension; (2) animated representations of mathematics concepts support mathematical understanding; (3) multiplayer collaboration leads to peer instruction and modeling; (4) simulations offer exciting challenges that increase mathematics resiliency; and (5) a bridge curriculum aids transfer of learning to multiple contexts, including traditional standardized tests.

07/01/2023

This project will develop a standards-aligned engineering professional learning model for elementary teachers of multilingual learners. This interdisciplinary approach is innovative in its effort to provide teachers with sustained time to reflect on what they believe about language, their teaching of linguistically and racially minoritized students, and their interactions with multilingual students around engineering content. Using a participatory and collaborative approach, experts in literacy, language, and engineering will work with elementary teachers to develop strategies for how teachers can view students’ multilingualism as an asset to engineering.

07/01/2023

One crucial predictor of success in STEM disciplines is spatial reasoning ability, which involves mentally manipulating and representing objects in space. However, STEM courses often neglect the purposeful development of spatial reasoning skills, and limited knowledge exists on effective training methods. This project aims to address this gap by: 1) identifying neural and cognitive processes associated with successful mental rotation, a fundamental aspect of spatial reasoning; 2) assessing the responsiveness of these processes to training; and 3) measuring the transfer of training effects to real-world STEM problems, specifically focusing on introductory chemistry.

06/15/2023

Acquiring scientific knowledge and skills requires persisting through challenges, yet it has become increasingly common for parents in the United States to step in and solve problems for their children. This type of over-engaged parenting leads preschool-age children to have lower persistence, lower executive function, and worse reading and math achievement in grade school across socioeconomic backgrounds. Prior work leaves open major theoretical and practical questions about the beliefs that drive over-engaged parenting and children’s response to it. Our research aims to fill these gaps by examining the causes and consequences of over-engaged parenting so that we can better understand how caregivers can support children's scientific success upon school entry.

06/01/2023

The goal of this project is to investigate the integration of computational thinking (CT) into elementary school curricula by studying how teachers develop expertise in integrating CT activities that align with interdisciplinary standards and existing curricula. Leveraging an asset-based approach, the project will provide opportunities to broaden participation in computer science education through building a community of practice for teachers and designing CT-infused curricula.

06/01/2023

This project will develop, enact, and study a critical climate technology journalism curriculum to support multilingual sixth grade students’ knowledge and practices in engineering. Synthesizing expertise in climate technology, communication, and multilingual education, the project will engage students in investigating, designing, and communicating critical engineering knowledge about community-based technological systems. Students will learn engineering as they construct and convey messages about climate technology in their community for an audience of family members, community groups, and civic leaders.

06/01/2023

Promoting equity-focused mathematics education requires models that will prepare and support mathematics pre-service teachers (PSTs) who will question existing norms and advocate for all their students. This project will develop a model of support for middle and high school mathematics PSTs to support them in becoming critical mathematics teachers (CMTs), teachers who address the needs of diverse students, are mindful of achievement disparities, and aware of their own biases. The main objective of the project is to develop a cohesive system of support for middle and high school PSTs to become CMTs.

06/01/2023

The goal of this project is to investigate the integration of computational thinking (CT) into elementary school curricula by studying how teachers develop expertise in integrating CT activities that align with interdisciplinary standards and existing curricula. Leveraging an asset-based approach, the project will provide opportunities to broaden participation in computer science education through building a community of practice for teachers and designing CT-infused curricula.

05/01/2023

Elementary students need opportunities to see science as meaningful and relevant to their lives. One way to increase this relevance is with learning experiences that are grounded in community-based questions and inquiries that students identify and carry out themselves. An important contribution of this project is investigating how culturally relevant and community-based science curriculum helps to affirm and develop Black students’ science identities in an urban, elementary classroom. This project will partner with third, fourth and fifth-grade elementary teachers to create and to investigate such learning experiences.

04/01/2023

Videos of teaching have become a popular tool for facilitating teacher learning, with the potential to powerfully impact teacher practice. However, less is known about specific mechanisms through which teachers learn from video. The goal of this study is to build foundational knowledge about teacher learning by using video clips of science instruction within a professional development (PD) context. 

03/01/2023

Realizing the potential of preschool to address historical inequities demands a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the varied ways opportunities to learn play out for individual children within and across classrooms. The goal of this project is to illuminate the variability in opportunities for mathematics learning in early childhood through capturing the experiences of individual children over time. The goal is to understand how these children navigate opportunities to participate in mathematical activity, their perspectives of what knowing and doing mathematics entails, and the resources they draw upon to engage in mathematical practices.

02/15/2023

This project examines middle school students’ graph literacy from an asset-based perspective, documenting the ways in which students think about graphs (i.e., their cognitive strategies and intuitive insights), and the ways in which instruction can build upon that thinking in order to support the development of graph literacy. Drawing from students’ graphical representations of real-life contexts (e.g., population growth) that span various mathematical domains, this program of research will develop a holistic theoretical framework that can inform mathematics instruction in multiple content areas.

12/15/2022

The purpose of this project is to further develop, refine, and evaluate a research-based STEM learning tool (i.e. block play) that tests theories of mathematical learning. The first objective is to empirically evaluate the impacts of different types of block play on children’s mathematics. The second objective is to evaluate the extent to which children’s mathematical language (spatial and quantitative), spatial skills, and executive function are mechanisms that link block play with children’s mathematical learning. Results from this study will contribute to the theoretical understanding of how and why block play may influence the development of early mathematics, a key component of STEM and school readiness, and will advance the research base about low-cost, feasible, and effective strategies for improving children's mathematics learning.

10/01/2022

This comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis synthesizes evidence surrounding math and science remote education programs from the past 15 years. The goal is to understand the effectiveness of math and science remote education programs; how their effectiveness varies by program characteristics (e.g., fully online vs. hybrid, synchronous vs. asynchronous, and student-instructor ratio); and whether their effects vary with student sample characteristics.

10/01/2022

Through this project, the North Carolina State University Data Science Academy will identify the key success components of a model for the recruitment and mentoring of a diverse cohort of postdoctoral fellows who will enter their professions with expertise in data science education research. This model is intended to train and support scholars who have differing levels of experience and strengths in STEM, STEM education, education research, or data science.

09/01/2022

This project aims to restructure middle school science education around Grand Challenges (GCs) such as pandemics, climate events, and diminishing biodiversity. Anchoring science education around grand challenges can motivate students learning and provide a meaningful context for science curriculum and assessment. By engaging in the units around GCs, middle school science teachers and students will have opportunities to work with real data, engage in argumentation based on evidence, and take part in solutions to the grand challenges.

09/01/2022

EarthX is a design-based research project that supports the integration of Earth science into high school biology, chemistry, and physics courses in Baltimore City Public Schools, while also supporting the district’s transition to three-dimensional (3D), ambitious and equitable science teaching aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). EarthX builds on the success of the Integrating Chemistry and Earth Science (ICE) DRK-12 project, which developed innovative chemistry course curriculum materials and PD strategies, to support Earth science integration into biology and physics course curriculum development and 3D teaching. EarthX will develop, test, and refine embedded and unit assessments for all three courses, along with providing an online system for assessment administration; real-time reporting to teachers and students; and provision of data to PD leaders, administrators, and researchers for multiple purposes. Assessments will be 3D, featuring core concepts from both Earth science and the course discipline combined with a science or engineering practice and a crosscutting concept.

09/01/2022

The project is designing a web-based, district-led professional development implementation, focusing on improving mathematics discourse practices in K-2 classrooms, with particular attention to emergent multilingual learners. Building on two prior NSF-funded projects, the All Included in Mathematics K-2 New Extensions professional learning program will develop and research the impact of an augmented model for mathematics professional development on K-2 student learning through the addition of supports for coaches and leaders to the existing professional development model.

09/01/2022

The project continues and completes the development and refinement of an electronic Test of Early Numeracy (e-TEN) in English and Spanish, focused on number and operations for young learners. The assessment incorporates a learning trajectory approach that describes students' development of the understanding of numbers. The electronic assessment allows for the test to adapt to students' responses and incorporate games increasing children's engagement with the tasks.

09/01/2022

This project will explore how children in grades K-2 understand visual representations of algebraic concepts. For instance, children might create tables or graphs to organize information about the relationship between two quantities. They might use graphs and diagrams to explain their mathematical thinking and develop their understanding of relationships in numbers and operations. The project will use data gathered in K-2 classrooms and via interviews with children to describe their use of the visual representations. This exploratory project aims to develop learning trajectories as cognitive models of how children in grades K–2 understand visual representations for algebraic relationships.

09/01/2022

This project addresses tools to support students in reading and evaluating a variety of sources to compare various claims addressing socioscientific issues. It draws on literacy concepts from science education and social studies to develop and implement scaffolding tools that can support students' understanding of the links among data, evidence, and claims while considering the trustworthiness and plausibility of sources. The project will design and test such instructional scaffolds with the goal of helping middle and high school science and social studies students to deepen their evaluation skills as they make reasoned evaluations as expected of citizens in a functional democratic society.

09/01/2022

This project addresses tools to support students in reading and evaluating a variety of sources to compare various claims addressing socioscientific issues. It draws on literacy concepts from science education and social studies to develop and implement scaffolding tools that can support students' understanding of the links among data, evidence, and claims while considering the trustworthiness and plausibility of sources. The project will design and test such instructional scaffolds with the goal of helping middle and high school science and social studies students to deepen their evaluation skills as they make reasoned evaluations as expected of citizens in a functional democratic society.