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.
Katahdin Cook Whitt
To support equitable access to place-based science learning opportunities, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance in collaboration with BSCS Science Learning, will develop and test a model to support 3rd-5th grade teachers in incorporating locally or culturally relevant place-based phenomena into rigorously tested curricular units that meet the expectations of the NGSS. The project team will develop two units that could be used in any region across the country with built-in opportunities and embedded supports for teachers to purposefully adapt curriculum to include local phenomena. In-person and virtual professional learning experiences will further help teachers who have limited district support for science to incorporate place-based approaches. Participating teachers will range from rural and urban settings in California, Colorado, and Maine to ensure the end products of this project are relevant, scalable, appropriate for a wide range of students across the country.