STEM pattern

STEM pattern

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Addressing Disciplinary Content and Practices within STEM Integration

Addressing Disciplinary Content and Practices within STEM Integration

Over the past decade, there has been an increasing focus on integrated STEM learning environments, where students are typically asked to engage with more than one STEM discipline in order to solve a specific problem situated within a real-world context. Breaking away from the traditional instructional model of siloed courses and learning experiences within science and mathematics departments, schools and teachers are seeking new models for implementing STEM integration, including innovative solutions involving collaborating teachers, block scheduling, and creating new integrated STEM courses. However, many questions still remain about what the best curricular and instructional practices are for STEM integration, as well as how teachers can overcome barriers to effectively implementing these types of experiences for students.

As part of the Trustey STEM Teaching Fellows program, teachers receive professional development around STEM Integration during their first two summer institutes. This study explores several facets of this work, including what obstacles teachers are most likely to face when conceptualizing, implementing, and assessing STEM integration, how both disciplinary content and practices can be woven together in these experiences, and how situating STEM Integration within a social justice-oriented context can impact learning outcomes.

AP-TIP IN

AP-TIP IN

Given the exceptional impact among initial AP-TIP IN cohorts and its long-term investment in young talent in the state of Indiana, the Indiana Advanced Placement Teacher Investment Program (AP-TIP IN) received funding support from the Lilly Endowment to further develop and expand AP-TIP IN’s program in Indiana, and provide time to implement a longitudinal sustainability plan. This plan consists of four concurrent components: (1) implement the AP-TIP IN program in new schools; (2) communicate results to stakeholders and the public; (3) obtain governmental agency support; and (4) develop partnerships. This comprehensive strategy will result in a fully-supported program that fosters STEM-focused, college and career readiness program at Indiana schools through public-private partnerships.

AP-TIP IN- Cohorts 4 and 5

AP-TIP IN- Cohorts 4 and 5

AP-TIP IN received funds from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to implement its professional development and support programs at 17 Indiana high schools representing 16 school corporations.

AP-TIP IN will support schools to grow their AP MSE programs using a tool, will provide professional development events to aid teachers to hone both content and pedagogical content knowledge in AP MSE courses, and will provide Content Staff mentoring and support such that teachers are more effectively able to teach AP MSE courses at program schools. The outcomes expected are an increased number of students who participate in AP MSE courses, an increased number of students who earn AP MSE qualifying scores, and the development of AP MSE teachers who are highly qualified and successful at teaching their AP MSE courses.

Core Practices: UPTAKE

Core Practices: UPTAKE

Research on teaching practice has recently gained attention as an effective lever for improving student engagement and achievement. Recent studies have shown that even more than years of teaching experience or degree held, the instructional practice that occurs in K-12 classrooms is the best predictor of student learning. Given the limited amount of time and resources available for preparing new teachers, identifying and helping novices take up a small set of effective, content-specific practices, has great potential for improving the education of students in our nation's schools.

This program of researching draws on the emerging work of core instructional practices. Fueled by work with the Core Practice Consortium (https://www.corepracticeconsortium.com/), this series of studies focuses specifically on how science teachers learn and engage core practices like facilitating sensemaking discussions and how students participate in these experiences.

Engineering is Elementary Curriculum Analysis

Engineering is Elementary Curriculum Analysis

Engineering is Elementary (EiE) is one of the most comprehensive curriculum packages available for young learners. With 20 units spanning different engineering disciplines and science content areas, EiE has introduced over 10 million students in grades 1-5 to engineering design. In this study, we explore the types of design activities embedded within the each of the EiE units, as well as the amount and type of STEM integration present across the entire curriculum package.

GRADIENT

GRADIENT

Exploring the gender differences in how children develop early interest and understanding in engineering can provide useful information for the ongoing efforts to address the low numbers of women who pursue engineering careers. By the time girls reach middle school, they are already much less likely to be interested in STEM careers than boys are, especially in fields that are math-intensive such as physics and engineering. This lack of interest has been shown to be commonly connected to two things: a narrow, inaccurate view of the engineering profession, and the perceived misalignment between what engineers do and what girls value in future careers.

Informal learning environments, where learners spend a great deal of time and have more freedom in choosing the topics they study and immerse themselves in, have been shown to be powerful and transformative contexts in which young people cultivate lifelong interest and understanding around STEM topics over time. Institutions for informal science learning, such as science and technology centers, are wildly popular and visited by over 50 million people in the United States every year. These settings often allow for parents and children to collaboratively engage in STEM learning, which may be particularly important in fields like engineering where parents have been shown to play a critical role in career choice.

The Gender Research on Adult-child Discussions within Informal ENgineering environmenTs (GRADIENT) project seeks to explore the development of early engineering interest and understanding for girls by closely examining parent-child conversation within museum-based informal engineering learning settings. In particular, the study context focuses on a pre-school program where parents and children can play with engineering-focused toys and engage in different aspects of the engineering design process. The study investigates how the structure of the activities and the conversations between parents and children during these experiences can support or inhibit the development of engineering interest and understanding for young girls. Findings from the study will seek to highlight productive ways of fostering early engineering learning that can be informative for both STEM educators and parents.

Head Start on Engineering

Head Start on Engineering

Head Start on Engineering (HSE) is a collaborative, NSF-funded research and practice project designed to develop and refine a theoretical model of early childhood, engineering-related interest development. The project focuses on Head Start families with four-year-old children from low-income communities and is being carried out collaboratively by researchers, science center educators, and a regional Head Start program. The ultimate goal of the HSE initiative is to advance the understanding of and capacity to support early engineering interest development for young learners, especially for children from low-income families and traditionally underserved communities. Building on prior work that examined the conversations of parents and young children engaged in engineering design (Dorie, Carella, & Svarovsky, 2014; 2015), the beginning stages of HSE explore the perceptions, interactions, and interest development of young children and their parents while engaged in activities that incorporate elements of the engineering design process. We specifically focus on parent-child interactions because of role that early interest (Maltese & Tai, 2010) and parents (Mannon & Schreuders, 2007) play in the occupational choices of populations traditionally underrepresented in STEM (Eccles et al., 1999).

HSE project launched in October 2016 and began offering programming and resources for families in December. For the first two years of the project, the team has worked with teachers at one Head Start location to plan, gather input from families, and test new programs and activities. In the fall of 2016, the team offered two full-day professional development workshops for staff, during which teachers learned about engineering, explored examples of engineering and design in their own lives, tested new activities for families and young children, and provided input on future programs. In January 2017, a group of Head Start families was recruited to participate in five months of program and research activities, including parent nights, home visits, take-home activity kits, and a field trip to OMSI. A second iteration of the project commenced in the fall of 2017, with another cohort of family participants engaging in programming starting in January 2018.

Instructional Coaching in Chilean Mathematics Classes

Instructional Coaching in Chilean Mathematics Classes

Over the past thirty-five years, the Chilean education system has seen a number of transformations in response to changes in government. While the most recent reforms have had some positive impact on Chilean students' achievement on international test scores, such as PISA , there is still room for growth. Moreover, there is limited opportunity for Chilean in-service teachers, who serve students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, to engage in research-based, efficacious professional development opportunities that meet the diverse learning needs of these students.

Through this study, we are investigating the impacts of introducing Chilean teachers to the differentiated instruction teaching philosophy through an instructional coaching model. Using this model, instructional coaches work with faculty and staff in one under-resourced school in a rural town, located 2 hours from the major metropolitan area, Santiago. The instructional coaching is centered on building school community and addressing the unique needs of students through differentiated instruction. We are interested in learning whether this professional development model changes mathematics teacher practices and beliefs, and has an impact on student achievement, engagement or self-efficacy. We are also interested in identifying the critical components of the model that influence its efficacy.

Over the course of the three-year project, instructional coaches are working closely with the PI on developing the coaching model and associated differentiated instruction resources. Coaches will work in schools with teachers while data is collected. The first year of the study will include relationship building, resource, and instrument development. Year 2 will involve in-depth coaching and data collection. During the final year, coaches will not work with teachers and we will collect data to examine the impact of the previous year's coaching. Data analysis will employ mixed-methods using a convergent parallel design.

https://www.tandemprofesores.cl/

Making Connections

Making Connections

In recent years, Making – a do-it-yourself, grassroots approach to designing and constructing real things through creativity, problem-solving, and tool use – has received increasing attention as a fruitful vehicle for introducing young people to the excitement of science and engineering and to career skills in these fields. Maker Faires attract hundreds and thousands of people to engage in Making activities every year, and the popularity of these events, as well as the number of museums and libraries that are beginning to provide opportunities for the public to regularly engage in these types of activities, are skyrocketing. However, Maker programs tend to draw audiences that are predominantly white, middle class, male, well educated, and strongly interested in science, despite the fact that the practices of Making can be found within all communities and cultures.

Making Connections, a multi-year research and development study, is developing and studying new ways to engage a broader audience in meaningful Maker experiences. This study draws and builds on existing theoretical frameworks to examine how community engagement techniques can be used to co-design and implement culturally-relevant marketing, activities, and events focused on Making that attract families from underrepresented audiences and ultimately engage them in meaningful informal STEM learning. The project is also exploring new approaches in museums’ cross-institutional practices that can strengthen the quality of their community-engagement. Ultimately, the findings from Making Connections have the potential to transform how children begin to cultivate a lifelong interest in engineering at a young age, which may ultimately encourage more young people of color to pursue engineering careers in the future.

Quality Assessment in Science (QAS)

Quality Assessment in Science (QAS)

The Quality Assessment in Science Professional Development (QAS PD) project is a joint research endeavor between researchers and teacher educators at the University of Notre Dame and Stanford University investigating teachers' conceptions and practices across a year-long intervention using portfolios of assessment and data-use artifacts. This work builds on previous iterations of QAS Notebook studies in collaboration with Felipe Martinez (PI) at UCLA and Brian Stecher (Co-PI) at RAND Corporation, funded in part by the Spencer Foundation and the W.T. Grant Foundation.

In this current studies, we use the Notebook as a means for professional development. Teams of middle school science teachers from four schools in two states were trained to reflect on artifacts in these portfolios - assessment tasks, student samples, and annotations of the artifacts - in light of nine dimensions of effective practice. Drawn from the literature, the nine Dimensions used during the PD and the professional learning communities (PLCs) include:

Dimension 1: Setting Clear Learning Goals

Dimension 2: Aligning Assessments to Goals

Dimension 3: Assessing Frequently

Dimension 4: Varying Assessment

Dimension 5: Assessing with Appropriate Cognitive Complexity

Dimension 6: Reflecting Math/Science Practices

Dimension 7: Involving Students in Own Assessment

Dimension 8: Providing Specific Feedback

Dimension 9: Using Evidence of Student Thinking to Adapt Instruction

Participating teachers collected an initial 10-day Notebook prior to an intensive professional development where they were introduced to and used the Dimensions to reflect on their own practice (Figure 1). During the school year, teachers met in PLCs on a monthly basis, collecting shorter 5-day Notebooks and reflecting on specific Dimensions. A final Notebook was collected one year after the initial baseline collection.