This project aims to deepen understanding of how to support and develop early childhood science learning by articulating science and engineering practices observed in children’s play. It also aims to develop early childhood educators’ abilities to identify and support nascent science and engineering practices with young children. Through this project early childhood educators will engage in professional learning using a refined version of the Science and Engineering Practices Observation Protocol (SciEPOP), an observation tool that allows researchers to identify and describe high-quality play-based engagement with science and engineering practices. Through video-rich professional learning along with peer-based coaching, early childhood educators will grow in their ability to prepare play environments, identify nascent science and engineering practices, enhance and extend investigations through play, and record and reflect upon this learning.
This project addresses the need to make science relevant for school students and to support student interpretation of large data sets by leveraging citizen science data about ecology and developing instruction to support student analyses of these data. This collaboration between Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Bowdoin College and Vanderbilt University engages middle-school students in building and revising models of variability and change in ecosystems and studies the learning and instruction in these classroom contexts.