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The Successful STEM Resource Library includes programs and projects featured at STEM Smart workshops, as well as briefs based on research and recommendations from the National Research Council reports, Successful K-12 STEM Education and Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education.

PEEP features a chicken, named Peep, a robin (Chirp), and an irascible, endearing duck (Quack), as well as an extended family of friends and (occasional) foes. The show takes place in and around a large urban park—a place of great wonder and mystery, and a place Peep, Quack, and Chirp are forever eager to explore. Airing in both English (on public television) and Spanish (on VMe), each televised half-hour contains two animated stories that highlight specific science or math concepts and two...
ASSET Inc. is an education improvement not-for-profit organization in Pennsylvania that supports school districts and charter and private schools in implementing a standards-based science education program through teacher professional development aligned with hands-on, minds-on curriculum materials for grades K−8. The ASSET program is designed to help classroom teachers and their students meet and exceed the benchmarks set by national standardized tests. The curriculum focuses directly on what...
We present a new approach to teaching core biology concepts (inheritance and evolution) involving engaging engineering design challenges that students solve using a combination of inexpensive hands-on materials, basic mathematics, and simple simulations.
The NSF-sponsored Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems Engineering Research Center (BMES ERC) at the University of Southern California (USC) has developed an extensive K–12 outreach program. The Center’s various outreach initiatives have brought the excitement of scientific discovery to hundreds of elementary and secondary school students as well as to their teachers and extended family members. Leveraging the substantial resources and human capital of the BMES ERC, educational curricula that are...
Broadening Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC) is the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education National Center for Computing and Information Technologies. BATEC’s efforts in curriculum, outreach, and research reflect the demands of the 21st century workplace.
Broadening Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC) is the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) National Center for Computing and Information Technologies. BATEC’s efforts in curriculum, outreach, and research reflect the demands of the 21st century workplace.
With systematic structure, organized tools, proper resources, and hands-on real-world experiences, engineering-based learning (EBL) can be an effective teaching and learning model for high school STEM courses. EBL combines well-known tools from science and engineering to create a pedagogical process to enhance student-centered learning across multiple STEM disciplines. Unlike project-based learning (PBL), EBL is a systematic method for students and teachers to find an appropriate solution to a...
The Southwest Career and Technical Academy (CTA), an Apple Distinguished School, is a Clark County School District (CCSD) public magnet school in its fourth year of operation that has 1,400 students enrolled in 11 different career and technical education (CTE) program areas. The school is divided into two smaller personalized learning communities—the Design Academy and the Professional Service Academy. Within the Design Academy, the Southwest CTA offers the following areas of specialization:...
Music contributes substantially to every culture on Earth, and the enjoyment of music is universal. Historically, the primary exposure to music has been through live performance, providing audiences an opportunity for interaction with the musicians and music, but today the vast majority of music is experienced through recordings. And though recent digital audio technologies have had a tremendous impact on the world of recorded music, its fundamental nature remains unchanged: once a recording is...
More than 60 percent of all students entering higher education in the United States are required to complete remedial or developmental courses as a first step towards earning associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. A staggering 70 percent of these students never complete the required mathematics courses, blocking their advancement in higher education and entry into a wide array of technical and occupational careers. Recognizing the grave consequences around these alarming statistics, the Carnegie...
Several government funded projects are developing facet-based, diagnostic formative assessments to support teachers in understanding and addressing their students’ conceptual strengths and weaknesses and to promote students’ conceptual change in science at the middle school level, high school level and beyond. These projects bring together experts in assessment, science education, science teaching, and science content from SRI International, FACET Innovations, Sonoma State University,...
“Providing a richness of resources unavailable in any classroom, informal science institutions across the country have developed exemplary partnerships with public schools—and have room for more.” Read this brief to explore how out-of-school learning can complement and enhance what is being taught in the classroom.
DSST’s (Denver School for Science and Technology) Stapleton High is the founding school in a network of public charter schools. DSST Public Schools currently operates five STEM open-enrollment charter schools, four middle schools, and two high schools, serving almost 2,000 students in Denver, Colorado.
Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs), funded by the National Science Foundation, are environmental laboratories established to study the chemical, physical and biological processes that shape the Earth’s surface. Little is known about how these processes are coupled and at what temporal and spatial scales. CZO research seeks to understand these couplings through monitoring and modeling at the watershed scale. As part of this research initiative, CZO sites are encouraged to bring research to K–12...
Workers in STEM fields play a direct role in driving economic growth. Yet, because of how the STEM economy has been defined, policymakers have mainly focused on supporting workers with at least a bachelor’s degree, overlooking a strong potential workforce of those with less than a BA.
These Education Development Center (EDC) projects—a logic-building algebra intervention curriculum, a professional development program, and a set of mathematical puzzle apps—build essential algebraic habits of mind that, in alignment with the Common Core Mathematical Practice Standards, include abstracting regularity from repeated reasoning, using general purpose tools strategically to organize mathematical thinking, seeking and using structure, communicating with precision, and puzzling and...
Our Mathematics and Science Partnership focuses on enhancing environmental literacy in K–12 schools and beyond through research on student and teacher learning, professional development informed by the research, and institutional reform. We work at the critical education juncture of middle school through high school (grades 6–12). The project connects the research strengths in the environmental sciences and education of our partner universities and sites within the NSF-funded Long Term...
On a broad, national level, DeafTEC: Technological Education Center for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students, a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) National Center of Excellence, serves as a resource for high schools and community colleges that educate deaf and hard-of-hearing (deaf/hh) students in STEM-related programs and for employers hiring deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. DeafTEC is also establishing a model within targeted regions of the country to...
The Concord Consortium is a nonprofit R&D organization in Concord, Mass., dedicated to transforming education through technology. Our free, deeply-digital tools and learning activities capture the power of curiosity and create revolutionary new approaches to science, math, and engineering education that bring out the inner scientist in everyone. Since 1994, we have been pioneers in probeware, models and simulations, data collection with mobile computing, online assessment and teacher...
Design Squad is an NSF-funded digital hub for middle school children that includes (1) television episodes and short videos streamed on pbskids.org, (2) an online community of young engineers, and (3) hands-on engineering activities. Designed to increase children’s understanding of engineering, the Emmy and Peabody Award–winning television series follows two teams of teens as they design and build projects for real-world clients—from constructing cardboard furniture for IKEA to designing peanut...
The PBS TV series and website Design Squad, and its spin off series Design Squad Nation, are designed to get its viewers involved in engineering through an integrated media experience and grassroots outreach campaign. Design Squad is a reality competition series where six teenagers learn to think smart, build fast, and contend with a wild array of engineering challenges. With Design Squad Nation, engineer co-hosts Judy and Adam travel across the country, working side by side with kids to turn...
The overall goal of this research project is to understand what it takes to support mathematics teachers in improving the quality of their mathematics instruction at the scale of large, urban US districts.The project has two major phases.The data we collect (in both phases) allow us to document (1) teachers’ instructional practices, visions of high-quality instruction, mathematical knowledge for teaching, and views of students’ mathematical capabilities; (2) mathematics coaches’ practices,...
Building upon previous collaborative work with small humanoid robots, this project is embarking on an ambitious new research project involving multiple adult-sized humanoids. There is an overwhelming disparity in terms of resources devoted to humanoids research in the United States versus research in other countries that have heavily invested in this area of robotics. The goal of this ambitious five-year project is to rapidly advance U.S. humanoid research by developing a common open platform....
The Center for Aviation and Automotive Technology Education using Virtual E-Schools (CA2VES) is funded through the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program and represents a partnership among the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development, technical colleges, school districts, and local industry. During 2013, South Carolina’s manufacturing industry had more than 7,000 job openings, but many of these well-paying jobs went unfilled due to a lack of...
The e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS) program for beginning science, math, and special education teachers was developed based on the New Teacher Center’s expertise, research and practitioner literature on professional development, online learning, and mentoring. eMSS offers a variety of science, math, and special education curriculum options for beginning teachers that are designed to support teachers’ immediate short-term needs, inquiry into teaching practice, and understanding of content...
The mission of the EAST-2 Alliance is to increase the number and quality of students with disabilities who enroll and receive degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and ultimately enter STEM disciplines. EAST-2 achieves this mission by involving students, transforming the academic and professional environments in which they function, and catalyzing STEM activities in southern Maine. EAST-2 has designed a model that includes the creation of a pipeline of supports...
Over the past decade, researchers in The Distributed Leadership Studies (DLS) at Northwestern University have been developing a framework for examining school leadership and management with an emphasis on their relations to classroom instruction. Drawing on theoretical and empirical work in distributed cognition and socio-cultural activity theory, our distributed perspective involves two aspects: principal plus and practice. The principal plus aspect acknowledges that the work of leading and...
The Institute for P–12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University carries out basic research, applied research, and evaluation on teacher professional development and student learning with engineering in formal and informal settings. Through a National Science Foundation Discovery Research K–12 (DR K–12) project, we have sought to investigate the impact of elementary engineering teacher professional development (TPD) on teachers’ and students’ knowledge, attitudes, and...
Engaging Youth through Engineering (EYE) is a partnership-driven K–12 economic development initiative underway in Mobile, Ala., that is spearheaded by a local nonprofit education entity in collaboration with a large urban school system, higher education, and area business and industry. Its purpose is to produce high school graduates eager and able to meet the growing demand for tech-savvy workers who are also innovative problem solvers. EYE uses engineering design challenges to bring practical...
Engineering design is not simply a useful tool for teaching science and mathematics content, but it is also a unique discipline in which science and mathematics are employed as tools for solving design challenges. With generous support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in partnership with national organizations including NASA, the UTeachEngineering program at the University of Texas, Austin, has undertaken to demonstrate how rigorous engineering content can be deployed in secondary...
By the end of 2012, states will be considering a final draft of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in an effort to develop common core educational standards to complement those in English language arts and mathematics that have already been adopted by 46 states. Although the public release of the NGSS is not due for a few months, a preview can be seen in A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts, published by the National Research Council in...
The Next Generation Science Standards integrate engineering practices as a core method for learning science and as a 21st century skill set that all students must develop. Engineering is transforming our world, serving as the core of the innovation economy and touching all aspects of our lives. But the gap between where we need to go and classroom reality is particularly salient in high school biology, where memorization is king and engineering practices and outcomes are largely absent, even...
Children are born engineers—they are fascinated with building, with taking things apart, and with how things work. However, K-12 educational settings have traditionally done little to develop children’s engineering and technological literacy. The Engineering is Elementary (EiE) project fosters engineering and technological literacy among elementary school students and educators. EiE has created a research-based, standards-driven, and classroom-tested curriculum that integrates engineering and...
The Engineering is Elementary (EiE) project fosters engineering and technological literacy among elementary school students and educators. EiE has created a research-based, standards-driven, and classroom-tested curriculum that integrates engineering and technology concepts and skills with elementary science topics. EiE lessons not only promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning in grades 1–5, but also connect with literacy and social studies. To date, EiE has...
“Engineering is taught only sporadically in K-12 schools, despite growing evidence that engaging in engineering education leads to improved student learning and achievement in mathematics and science, in part by connecting these subjects to real-world problems.” Read this brief to learn more about the increasing efforts to integrate engineering into the K-12 curriculum.
The Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science (IWITTS) offers products and services that help technology and science educators increase the number of women and girls enrolled in their classes and encourage those students to stay enrolled. In 2006, IWITTS was awarded a five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant from the Research on Gender in Science and Engineering program to fund the CalWomenTech (CWT) project. Between 2006 and 2011, seven California community colleges...
Exploring Computer Science (ECS) is a computer science (CS) curriculum designed in response to research findings about the severe limitations of Advanced Placement CS in engaging more than a narrow band of students. ECS is a year-long college-preparatory course, consisting of six units, including problem-solving, Web design, introduction to programming, robotics and data analysis. Designed to introduce students to the foundational, creative, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and problem-solving...
According to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), personal digital fabrication will offer revolutionary changes for manufacturers and the everyday consumer. In fact, personal fabrication was featured in SME’s 2009 Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture list. Advanced manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printers, are transforming engineering education; within the past few years, desktop manufacturing systems have become affordable at the K–12 level. The FabLab...
If you are proposing to conduct research and development (R&D) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, your work will benefit from effective partnerships with schools and school districts. While almost every education R&D project requires contact with schools, this brief makes the case for partnership. By this we mean a relationship that is long-term, usually involves formal organizational commitments, draws on both partners’ expertise, and has benefits...
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a set of science education standards being developed based on a vision for science education established by the Framework for K–12 Science Education published by the National Research Council in 2012. Publication of the framework was the first of a two-step process to produce a set of Next Generation Science Standards for voluntary adoption by the states. The NGSS are currently being developed by a team of writers including researchers, education...
FLEXE is a science education project that helps students gain an understanding of local and extreme environments, the interconnected Earth system and the process of science. As part of the project, students collect data in their local environment and compare them with equivalent data from partner schools and from an extreme environment, namely the deep sea. Hydrothermal vents and cold seeps are among the extreme environments being compared. Students participate in three main activities: (1)...
GEAR UP is a national initiative that seeks to increase the number of students in specific target populations who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The Pennsylvania Academy for the Profession of Teaching and Learning, part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, provides services for nearly 14,000 students in the Harrisburg School District and the School District of Philadelphia through...
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act incentives drove healthcare providers to adopt electronic patient record software systems. The resulting demand for IT professionals in healthcare was rapid and has continued to increase, illuminating the lack of a coherent entry sequence for job seekers in the field. Due to the unique, stringent patient security requirements and the singular nature of information technology at the point of patient wellness and care activities, health IT has emerged as a...
This PIRE project is a collaborative project that engages each member’s unique resources, including electro-mechanical design (Korean collaborators), virtual HUBO (Bryn Mawr), online HUBO and co-op program (Drexel), mini-HUBO (Virginia Tech), advanced locomotion (UPenn) and human-robot interaction (Swarthmore). Humanoids are bipedal robots engineered to mimic human locomotion, balance, and coordination. The Honda ASIMO, Sony QRIO, and KAIST HUBO are adult-sized humanoids that have captured...
Illinois Pathways, funded through Race to the Top, was recently launched by Governor Quinn to support P–20 education and workforce training systems that enable learners to explore their academic and career interests in STEM fields. In addition, Illinois Pathways is set to launch the first STEM Learning Exchanges later this year, a new and innovative network of statewide public-private partnerships organized by career cluster that work to coordinate planning and investment to support local STEM...
The goal of Illustrative Mathematics is to clarify the meaning and intent of the Common Core State Standards by publishing tasks and tools that support implementation of the CCSS. Illustrative Mathematics is a growing community of mathematics teachers, mathematics educators, and mathematicians that provides leadership and guidance by illustrating the mathematics that students should experience in a faithful implementation of the CCSS.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) integration at the K–12 level is gaining national and international attention. Many U.S. national documents have laid the foundation for the connections between the disciplines. Engineering can be considered the integrator in STEM integration. However, a clear definition or tradition of what constitutes a quality engineering education at the K–12 level has not been established. At the college level, the Accreditation Board for Engineering...
While the need for more experts and innovators in STEM fields is critical to the success of our nation and is increasing (National Science Board, 2012), the number of students pursuing and completing degrees in these fields is decreasing (National Academies of Science, 2011; National Science Board, 2012). Implementation of programs that will transform education and enhance the pipeline from grade school to university to the workforce is imperative (National Research Council, 2011). The Prime...
“For effective K–12 STEM instruction to become the norm, schools and districts must be transformed.” Read this brief to learn more about curriculum and instructional methods that engage students in the learning process.
To stay strongly aligned with college credit policies and to prepare AP students for college and subsequent STEM careers, the AP Program recently redesigned several science courses. The purpose of such a redesign is to help students increase depth of understanding of essential concepts and develop capacity to use critical skills by limiting breadth of content covered. Additionally, the purpose of the AP Science redesign included the goal of preparing students for success in college-level...
The NSF-funded MSP institute is a project that supports outstanding middle school teachers in their quest to become mathematics specialists. Each teacher participates in coursework that leads to a master’s degree and certification as a mathematics specialist. Following the certification, each of the participants will serve as a specialist within their home school districts, coaching other teachers. The research questions addressed by the project are (1) Can we prepare mathematics specialists...
The Institute for Chemistry Literacy through Computational Science (ICLCS) is a National Science Foundation-funded MSP program designed to increase the chemistry literacy and chemistry-related pedagogical skills of rural Illinois high school teachers through the use of authentic and near-authentic computational simulation resources. As a true partnership with K-12 education, the ICLCS is an example of how higher education and K-12 schools can work together to improve student success. For the...
There is a growing demand for engineering education in the pre-college classroom, particularly in ways that work with other aspects of curricula. Integrating Engineering and Literacy (IEL) projects use children’s texts as contexts for students’ initiation and early progress in practices of engineering. In particular, we focus on students’ (1) recognizing and scoping problems, with attention to the “client’s” situation, (2) conceptualizing and planning possible solutions, and (3) fabricating,...
The 2012 Science Standards will place an emphasis on data collection and explanations. This session will provide a free iPhone app that supports grades 4–12 students in data collection and explanation building about biodiversity in schoolyards in the Great Lakes region. The session will provide inquiry activities and Web resources that guide students to construct explanations to questions such as, What habitats are in my schoolyard? and Which zone in the schoolyard is the most diverse?
IQWST, as the “next generation” of middle school curricula, was designed to enable teachers with diverse knowledge and experiences to teach science effectively to students with a variety of backgrounds and strengths. IQWST materials align with national standards, are rooted in principles of project-based scientific inquiry, focus on science’s “big ideas,” and employ research-based practices to promote students’ science content and science literacy learning. This coordinated sixth- to eighth-...
Our research focuses on university/public school partnerships to develop effective mathematics programs for all students. Through National Science Foundation funding, New Mexico State University (NMSU) has engaged in the Gadsden Mathematics Initiative (GMI), Scaling up Mathematics Achievement (SUMA) and currently the Leadership Institute for Teachers. Through our research efforts, we better understand what it takes to build viable sustainable learning systems and how to support English language...
The NRC report, Successful K–12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics recommends that schools and districts provide professional development for instructional leaders that will support their efforts to create school conditions conducive to STEM learning. The Lenses on Learning professional development materials support K–12 principals, teacher leaders, and district leaders to develop their instructional leadership for mathematics...
The recent NRC report emphasizes the important role that school leaders play in promoting and supporting STEM learning in their schools. They play a role in setting a vision for STEM learning and teaching, identifying and hiring highly qualified teachers, providing and/or identifying relevant professional development opportunities, and establishing and sustaining school structures that support high-quality instruction. EDC has been engaged in a long-standing program of research and development...
The long-term goal of the Living in Relations project is to improve science learning and school achievement for Native American children. Data from our project’s studies of children’s understandings of biology indicate that Native American children begin school with an advanced understanding of biology compared to their non-Native peers. This finding is also supported by early positive performance on standardized tests. However, this early overachievement is not sustained and leads to...
The mission of the Loudoun County Public Schools Academy of Science (AOS) is to provide an academic environment where students are encouraged to develop creative scientific endeavors of their own design, while having the opportunity to pursue a rich, well-rounded high school experience.
The LPPSync project (Learning Progress Profiles Synchronized for Networked Wireless Devices) at North Carolina State University is developing an Interactive Diagnostic Assessment System for K–8 mathematics. LPPSync integrates empirically validated mathematics learning trajectories with corresponding diagnostic assessments that focus on critical topics of rational number reasoning—the foundation of algebraic preparation. The environment is delivered through Web-browsers on mobile devices (...
The Maker Movement is inspiring thousands of young people across the nation to tinker with and tackle problems involving design, engineering, and programming. There is a strong sense that young makers are accomplishing much more than producing objects—they also seem to be acquiring a host of valuable knowledge and skills. Because making is a relatively recent phenomenon, there are not yet frameworks in place for identifying and documenting these benefits to youth. What are makers learning? How...
A contentious debate is occurring in the educational community over the role in pre-school and kindergarten of early direct academic instruction vs. a less structured environment incorporating more play. New research is addressing this question by showing that structured play with arts & crafts and games may build foundational skills that are critical to later math achievement. Skill deficits in these foundational skills may be the source of math achievement gaps for children at risk that...
Co-curricular programs complement the formal curriculum and often have sessions outside of the regular school day. A review of evaluation reports from afterschool Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs, both co-curricular and extra-curricular, by the Afterschool Alliance found that students attending these programs had improved attitudes toward STEM fields and careers; increased STEM knowledge and skills; and had a higher likelihood of graduating and pursuing a STEM...
One of the country’s most successful programs of its kind, Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) provides academic support for thousands of educationally disadvantaged students so they can excel in math and science and graduate with baccalaureate degrees in science, engineering, computer science, and other math-based fields.
The need for research-based recommendations for mathematics instruction for English learners (ELs), aligned with the <em>Common Core State Standards (CCSS), cannot be overstated. The recommendations focus on improving mathematics learning and teaching through language for all students, and especially for ELs. Although it is difficult to make generalizations about the instructional needs of all students who are learning English, instruction should be informed by knowledge of students’...
Metro Early College High School opened its doors six years ago with 96 freshmen representing the 15 school districts in Franklin County, Ohio. Today, Metro, still a lottery-based public STEM school, offers students an accelerated course load with problem-based real-world experiences. After students complete the Core coursework, they select a themed Learning Center that is taught by Metro teachers in conjunction with experts in that field. Here, students begin to explore college coursework, as...
Model My Watershed is a three-year project aimed at developing, testing, and disseminating a watershed-modeling toolset for secondary students. Designed to build on Google Earth, this tool provides a dynamic interface where students can add data, modify environmental conditions, work in a collaborative online learning environment, and be exposed to STEM careers. The design is based on the belief that students should have an authentic, exciting, intuitive, and interactive tool set that allows...
The Franklin Institute is committed to engaging teachers, students, and families in science learning. Parent Partners in School Science (PPSS) was developed by The Franklin Institute, in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia, as a science education and parent involvement program, with the goal of connecting a child’s home and school life through science learning. Through events and take-home activities, adults and children think about their everyday lives like scientists—...
Opened in 2009, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® School…Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Learning is designed to be a unique and comprehensive STEM middle school that promotes problem-based learning. The Akron STEM School is unique in its ability to partner not only with local businesses and institutions, but also with national organizations. Instruction by local engineers and world-renowned inventors is built into the curriculum. Every part of the school...
The world economy is rapidly outpacing America’s development of STEM talent. Our students must learn more, do more, and create more. To meet this challenge, thousands of STEM professionals are ready to join forces with new and accomplished teachers to develop the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders we need to thrive in a global economy.
Kansas is one of 26 lead states that have been actively involved with the development of the NGSS and one of 45 states involved with the Building Capacity for State Science Education project of the Council of State Science Supervisors. Now that these standards are nearly complete, it is time to think deliberately about implications for adoption and implementation— 25 STRAND: Supportive Infrastructure for STEM Learning PRESENTER: Matt Krehbiel, Kansas State Department of Education Prepared for...
The National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) are a group of interdisciplinary centers located at universities all across the United States, each in close partnership with industry. ERC innovations in research and education are expected to impact curricula at all levels, from pre-college to lifelong learning, and to be disseminated to and beyond their academic and industry partners. A vital part of ERC education programs are outreach efforts to bring...
Current data on school readiness and early math and science achievement indicate we are not giving young children the support they need to be “STEM Smart".
The Pathways Professional Development Model for Precalculus Level Mathematics (P3DM) has developed resources including student curricula (e.g., in-class student activities, an online interactive textbook, online videos), teacher materials (e.g., teacher notes, exemplary lecture videos, and dynamic computer applets for use in instruction), and workshops designed to support teachers in engaging their students in genuine inquiry and mathematically substantive conversations.
The STeLLA professional development program engages fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade teachers in using two powerful and often neglected lenses to analyze videocases of science teaching: the Student Thinking Lens and the Science Content Storyline Lens. Focusing on deep analysis of these two lenses and associated teaching strategies, teachers learn to be more analytical in planning, enacting, and reflecting on their practice. Through this analysis work, they deepen their science content knowledge...
MESA initiative has a 40-year history of successfully engaging and sustaining minority and disadvantaged students’ participation in STEM coursework, from elementary school to college campuses. Temple University has been awarded the national license to coordinate MESA in Pennsylvania, joining prestigious institutions like the University of California, University of Washington, the Johns Hopkins APL, University of Denver, and others offering statewide STEM initiatives to underrepresented groups....
PTR is a teacher preparation program for STEM professionals and recent graduates who want to teach mathematics and science in Philadelphia’s high-needs schools. For a full year, PTR participants work alongside experienced math/science teachers while taking courses at University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education to earn both a master’s degree as well as Pennsylvania teacher certification. Participants commit to teach in Philadelphia public schools for at least three years after the...
To address the need for outdoor environments that are intentionally designed to elicit STEM learning while inspiring free play, the University of Cincinnati’s Arlitt Child and Family Research and Education Center and Cincinnati Nature Center partnered to create the Cincinnati Nature PlayScape Initiative. The premises and practices embraced by the initiative were derived from existing research and practice in the fields of early education, biological sciences, and environmental psychology....
“Recent research emphasizes that teacher quality alone cannot improve student achievement at scale. School leadership, staff collaboration, and a positive climate are among essential organizational elements that contribute to meaningful change.” Read this brief to learn more about suggested methods for properly supporting STEM educators.
“The majority of U.S. students, particularly low-income and minority youth, lacks foundational skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.” Read this brief to find out more about the efforts that are making change across the nation.
PARCC is an alliance of 24 states working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts and mathematics, anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. The CCSS call on students to have not only solid content knowledge but also the skills to apply their knowledge in ways demanded by colleges, careers and citizenship in the 21st century. Measuring the full breadth of the CCSS will require new kinds...
Industry is increasingly looking to high schools, community colleges, and four-year universities to graduate problem solvers—individuals who skillfully communicate and apply their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and other disciplines to solve real-world problems. Yet instructor-centered pedagogical methods paired with text-based exercises often do not address the interdisciplinary, ill-defined, and ambiguous problems graduates will face when entering the...
Standards-based reform holds great promise for increasing the rigor and quality of mathematics education for students with disabilities. The recently released Common Core Standards in Mathematics (2010) and those of the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (2000) clearly recognize that all students, including those with disabilities, “must have the opportunity to learn and meet the same high standards if they are to access the knowledge and skills necessary in their post-school lives...
Administrators and leaders of professional development have, in recent years,developed professional learning communities (PLCs)—one of the most common professional development strategies in use today across education at large. And leaders in STEM education have universally advocated their use—the Successful K–12 STEM Education report specifically urges considering “factors that strengthen and sustain learning communities.” There are exciting rationales for PLCs, such as the desire to morph...
Mathematics INstruction using Decision Science and Engineering Tools (MINDSET), a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project (DRL-0733137), is a collaboration between educators, engineers and mathematicians at three universities to achieve the following goals: (1) Enhancement of students’ mathematical ability, especially their ability to formulate and solve multi-step problems and interpret results; (2) Improvement in students’ attitude toward mathematics; and (3) Adoption of the...
Project-based Inquiry Science (PBIS) is a recently published middle school science curriculum that emphasizes learning science and engineering through projects. Funded by the National Science Foundation and published by It’s About Time, PBIS materials are aligned with the National Science Education Standards and with most state standards documents. PBIS is becoming the middle school science curriculum for students across the country, as it incorporates research-based pedagogies into the...
The Math and Science Partnership Knowledge Management and Dissemination (MSP-KMD) was funded as a Research, Evaluation, and Technical Assistance project to support knowledge management within the MSP program and to disseminate information to the broader mathematics and science education community. The overall goal of MSP-KMD was to synthesize findings in the K–12 arena in a small number of important areas, articulating the contribution of the MSP program to the knowledge base and identifying “...
“When students from non-mainstream backgrounds receive equitable learning opportunities, they are capable of attaining science outcomes comparable to their mainstream peers. The same is true for mathematics and, presumably, for other STEM subjects, as well.” Read this brief to dive further into what can be done to improve the academic achievement of students from all backgrounds.
The Ramps and Pathways project reflects an approach to engaging young children with physical science and engineering that is both developmentally appropriate and intellectually rigorous. It capitalizes on young children’s intrinsic desire to make something interesting happen; specifically, it engages children in designing, building, and using increasingly more complex ramp structures on which to move spheres and other objects. In doing so, it engages children in the design process: ask a...
Real World Externships were developed as a solution to the often heard question of students, "When am I ever going to use this?" Teachers of secondary mathematics, science, and technology may not experience or become knowledgeable about the applications of their disciplines in industry through the course of standard teacher preparation. A bridge is needed to connect educators to the private sector. That is the impetus behind this program. Real World Externships provide educators with...
The Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (RCNGM) is a National Science Foundation-funded Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) Center of Excellence developed by the Connecticut College of Technology (COT) in 2004 to develop a response to workforce needs for all 12 community colleges in Connecticut. The goals of the RCNGM are the creation of articulation pathways, student recruitment and retention, curriculum development, and professional development. Through open meetings of...
This program of research, funded by the NSF, has shown that individual differences in early spatial skills are important factors, both in students’ early acquisition of arithmetic and their later math reasoning skills. Spatial skills consist of the ability to use mental pictures for solutions to problems—such as interpreting graphs, charts, and maps, and understanding geometry and measurement problems. It is particularly important to study the relation between spatial skills and math...
Pressure is on public schools to prepare all students for college and to encourage more students to enter careers in science and math. These challenges require a dramatic change in educational practice, as less than half of students in typical schools graduate with sufficient skills to be likely to succeed in college, and few students enter careers in STEM. Schools are being asked to raise the skills of the lowest-achieving students to levels that were previously achieved by the highest-...
Over a period of several years, Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) has successfully partnered with key leaders to establish the Arizona STEM Network to drive access to effective STEM education for all Arizona students by creating a culture of achievement. As part of this work, SFAz has led a number of projects focused on implementing and sustaining Engineering Pathways, a model that links student experiences across education sectors (K–12 through postsecondary) to engage and excite students...
The engineering design approach for teaching science concepts has led to middle school student knowledge gains in core science concepts when compared with a scripted inquiry approach. By blending math and science disciplines, engineering design provides a strong mechanism to facilitate integrated instruction and connections among concepts and to the real world, building student understanding and appreciation for both content areas. While empirical research validates the use of engineering...
Closing the achievement gap in our nation between native English speakers and English language learners will require educators to address the needs of the English language learners. Along with being the fastest growing segment of the school population, English language learners are also among the most academically vulnerable students in schools today (Wong-Fillmore & Snow, 2000). In science achievement, in particular, English language learners score significantly below their native English-...
CyGaMEs invites youth ages nine and older to play its award-winning, online, instructional videogame Selene to learn the Solar System’s basic geological processes: “Blast away at what will quickly become a full-fledged, pockmarked moon like our own. Replicate the Moon’s 4.5-billion-year history. Follow with our MoonGazers hands-on activities.” Prepared with new knowledge that makes Moon viewing meaningful, Selene players go outside to explore the Moon from their own backyards. CyGaMEs, a...
Pre-college teachers and administrators hold many theories about how best to interest and prepare students for success as STEM majors in college. Effective or not, based in fact or in faith, these beliefs play out in our nation’s classrooms. While many research studies have shown large and statistically significant effects of particular interventions or innovations, most often they examine small, homogeneous populations such as single schools or classrooms. Our research team has utilized...
SimCalc has pursued a mission of “democratizing access to the mathematics of change and variation,” which translates to introducing students in grades 6–12 to the powerful ideas underlying calculus while simultaneously enriching the mathematics already covered at those grade levels. SimCalc signature MathWorlds software gives students the ability to sketch graphs and see resulting motions. In addition to MathWorlds, the digital textbook, Dynabook, combines elements from SimCalc, Geometer’s...
A series of national reports urge science education to go beyond emphasis on basic science facts to support science learning that results in deep understanding of scientific ideas and an ability to engage meaningfully in the practices of science (Bransford et al., 2000; Duschl et al., 2007). Inquiry practices—asking questions, finding ways to explore them empirically, investigating and evaluating competing alternative models, arguing from evidence—are judged to be severely lacking in the...
The inclusion of engineering into the Next Generation Science Standards leaves both science education and engineering educators with cause for both excitement and alarm. Science education watchers, for example, fear loss of science instruction time and obfuscation of the nature of science, while teachers may assume that “build a bridge Fridays” will provide sufficient science instruction for an entire week. Engineering counterparts fear that a focus on student competition to build structures...
“Specialized schools still represent a tiny fraction of U.S. public education. However, they may not only produce better results than traditional programs; they also can serve as models for schools seeking to improve.” Read this brief to investigate further into what we can learn from specialized STEM-focused learning institutions.
SpelBots are a team of female, African American students who conduct robotics research, compete in worldwide robotics and computer science competitions, and conduct K–12 outreach. The long-range vision of this project is to leverage the SpelBots activities to provide career role models in cutting-edge computer science and robotics from underrepresented communities. This project will bring attitude-changing computer science and robotics showcase presentations to underrepresented students and...
The Milwaukee Mathematics Partnership (MMP) comprises the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), and the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC). As an initiative of the Milwaukee Partnership Academy, a community-wide PK-16 collaborative, the MMP began in fall 2003 with a five-year $20 million award from the NSF Mathematics and Science Partnership program. The MMP involves mathematics and mathematics education faculty in collaboration with PK-12 educators...
The National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEd) is funded by the National Science Foundation; an Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) initiative. MatEd is developing an online collection (www.materialseducation.org) of instructional materials that can easily be integrated into a variety of courses, classroom settings, and industry. The MatEd collection is expanding rapidly, providing material for science labs, hands-on demonstrations, modules, and papers. MatEd’s...
In the context of a federally funded research and development project, the UW Institute for Science and Math Education is collaborating with Sammamish High School, a comprehensive high school serving a socially and economically diverse community in suburban Seattle, to transform that school’s curriculum into a problem-based, STEM-rich experience for all students. STEM opens up opportunities to explore the relevance of subject matter to students, contemporary disciplines, and the workplace. To...
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale ecological observation platform. NEON contributes to global understanding and decisions in a changing environment using scientific information about continental-scale ecology obtained through integrated observations and experiments. NEON is dedicated to engaging and supporting a variety of audiences in learning about and using ecological data. NEON’s education goals include (1) promoting and facilitating public...
Studio STEM is a three-year afterschool and summer program aimed at educational and workforce needs. The project uses a design-based science approach to scaffold youth to learn about energy conservation. An interdisciplinary curriculum is infused with digital tools and social media to enhance and extend the experience.
Carey’s career has been dedicated to understanding the human capacity for conceptual representations. We are the only animal that can ponder the causes and cures of global warming or pancreatic cancer, yet we share many cognitive resources with other animals. What makes possible the human conceptual repertoire? As a matter of logic, answering this question requires specifying the innate representations infants use to make sense of their world, describing them in detail, characterizing the adult...
By engaging in deeper learning, students go beyond rote learning of facts and procedures to understand underlying principles. They know when and how to transfer their knowledge and skills to solve new problems and navigate new situations. This type of learning will be needed to meet the goals set by the new state standards for English language arts, mathematics, and science. And as technology reduces workplace needs for routine skills, success in coming years will demand people who can apply...
The SciMath-DLL project aims to provide inservice teachers with the classroom-based supports they need to improve practice. It involves the design, development, and preliminary testing of an inservice professional development approach that integrates high-quality math and science instructional offerings with supports for DLLs. Our project aims to enhance teacher knowledge and classroom interactions around mathematics and science, improve classroom supports for DLLs, and illustrate that rich...
Next Generation Preschool Math (NGPM) is an NSF-funded collaboration between researchers, media developers, and teachers that aims to develop preschool classroom activities and innovative tablet-based games to help preschool children learn sophisticated mathematics concepts crucial to early school success. As part of this effort, the NGPM team is addressing one of the most salient controversies facing preschool educators today: What, if any, are the most appropriate roles for technology in the...
Building on years of successful research and development, WISE (The Web-based Inquiry Science Environment) is a powerful, open-source online learning environment that supports guided inquiry, embedded assessments, peer collaboration, interactive computer models, and teacher customization (Lee, Linn, Varma& Liu, 2010; Gerard, Spitulnik, & Linn, 2010). WISE 4.0 has been developed since 2008 and publicly available in 2010. It allows curriculum designers, researchers, and teachers worldwide...
With funding from the NSF, the Building Blocks project achieved its goal of helping children find the mathematics in, and develop the mathematics from, their everyday activities—from art and stories, to puzzles and games. Comprised of print materials, software, and more, Building Blocks is designed to help children learn number concepts, such as counting, basic arithmetic, and spatial and geometric concepts and processes. Building Blocks helps all children learn to mathematize their informal...
The Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program (ChiS&E) envisions producing a generation of young minority Chicago adults prepared to take their place in this new global economy and compete successfully with children in any place in the America and the world. We realize that a dream without a plan is just a wish. By employing our theory of change that focuses on developing the early interest of African-American and Latino children in STEM and deeply engaging their parents in the...
The Development of Model-Based Reasoning project team conducted research on the origins and development of modeling in students from kindergarten through middle school. The research goal of the project, which is now completed, was to track the growth of students’ capability and propensity to take a modeling stance toward the world as they conducted long-term studies of local ecosystems (a pond, a restored prairie, a school forest) near their school. There was also an associated professional...
The FabLab Classroom is exploring use of digital fabrication to allow students to create digital designs that are realized as physical objects, such as model satellites (in collaboration with NASA), wind turbines, and speaker systems.
This project introduces fourth- and fifth-grade students and teachers to engineering design and associated science and mathematics concepts by developing and implementing a new, scalable, personal fabrication laboratory—the Classroom FabLab—and supporting curricular activities. Cornell University is developing the Fab@School 3-D fabricator to support the project. The goal is to develop an open-source fabricator for schools that can be assembled in an afternoon for less than $1,000 in materials...
In October 2011, WestEd and University of California Berkeley’s Career Academy Support Network (CASN) received a three-year collaborative ITEST Strategies grant to improve learning and workforce development in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and in information and communication technology (ICT)—especially for underserved students. The proposed strategy integrates the hands-on science pedagogy of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program...
The GLOBE California Academy Program (CAP) engages students in research related to climate change together with career development activities. Teachers are supported by professional development and other forms of support in career academies that focus on the growing renewable energy and clean technology workforce sector.
Philadelphia AMP, now in its 17th year of operation, represents a diverse tri-state partnership of public and private, two- and four-year, research and non-research, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and majority institutions. Established with funding from the National Science Foundation in 1994, the Alliance’s mission is to substantially increase the quantity and quality of African American, Hispanic, and Native American students earning baccalaureate and advanced degrees in...
The Greater Philadelphia SeaPerch program focuses on increasing the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline through an innovative underwater robotics program for middle and high school students. Students learn about STEM disciplines, with a focus on naval engineering, by building an underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle) called the SeaPerch. The culminating event is the Greater Philadelphia SeaPerch Challenge, jointly hosted by The American Society of Naval...
The context of this ongoing study is a large-scale Math Science Partnership project (funded by the NSF) that aims to expand the minority-student pipeline into science fields in higher education. The project includes two different early-college/dual-enrollment programs for high school students, following different instructional models, which have been running for the past four years.
MSPGP worked with college faculty and expert teachers to design and implement comprehensive research-based strategies to improve learning for secondary and post-secondary students. Over five years, the MSPGP brought together 4,000 teachers and faculty from 46 school districts and 13 institutions of higher education in the Greater Philadelphia region. The MSPGP utilized a novel "Core Connector" organizational structure that provided a way to facilitate and grow partnerships between...
The Developmental Technology (DevTech) Research Group examines the role of computational technologies that are developmentally appropriate for young children and that help them learn about new things in new ways. DevTech is exploring the notion of what is "developmentally appropriate" in the light of the opportunities for inquiry and active construction of knowledge offered by new technologies that engage children in programming activities. Through NSF funding, the DevTech Research...
Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI), with funding from the National Science Foundation, conducted the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education (NSSME). The 2012 NSSME, the fifth in a series of surveys dating back to 1977, was designed to provide up-to-date information and to identify trends in the areas of teacher background and experience, curriculum and instruction, and the availability and use of instructional resources.
The New Tech Network (NTN), a national nonprofit organization, engages with public school districts and charter school organizations to develop innovative schools. NTN schools are centered around a culture that empowers, teaching that engages, and technology that enables so that students graduate ready for college and career. Student achievement is the measure of our success.
This project investigated the scale-up of an innovative integration of technology, curriculum, and teacher professional development aimed at improving mathematics instruction in grades 7 and 8. The SimCalc approach integrates teacher professional development, curriculum and software called SimCalc MathWorlds.
Wheaton High School (WHS), a diverse suburban school located in Maryland just outside Washington, D.C., is organized into small learning communities called Academies, each of which has a college and career readiness focus. The Bioscience Academy and the Engineering Academy are State Certified Project Lead The Way (PLTW) programs. The Bioscience Academy has been recognized by the Washington Post as one of the top programs in the area and the Engineering Academy was recognized as one of the top...
Engineering design is not simply a useful tool for teaching science and mathematics content, but a unique discipline in which science and mathematics are employed as tools for solving design challenges. The UTeachEngineering project at The University of Texas, in partnership with NASA, has undertaken to demonstrate how rigorous engineering content can be deployed in secondary classrooms by developing and piloting Engineer Your World, a year-long high school engineering course built on a...
In 2000, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), began work on the NSF-funded project The Tool Kit for Early Childhood Science Education. That work—a collaboration between teachers, professional developers, scientists, and science educators—resulted in the Young Scientist Series, a comprehensive curriculum designed to improve science teaching and learning for children ages 3–5. Each curriculum unit includes a teacher’s guide and multimedia professional development materials. The units include...
TJHSST is the product of a partnership between Fairfax County Public Schools and local business to improve education in science, mathematics, and technology. This unique public school offers a comprehensive program that focuses on scientific, mathematical, and technological fields. The core skills and values infused throughout the curriculum emphasize and promote critical inquiry and research, problem-solving skills, intellectual curiosity, and social responsibility. Requirements for the TJHSST...
Doppler On Wheels (DOW) is an educational and research facility funded by the National Science Foundation. DOW demonstrates how cutting edge meteorological systems are provided to educational and research projects. DOW provides mobile Doppler weather radars that explore rare, short-lived, and small-scale phenomena, focusing on severe weather including hurricanes, tornadoes, and lake-effect snows. The DOW systems include two mobile X-band Doppler on Wheels and the 6–12 beam “Rapid Scan DOW.” The...
UIC College Prep High School (UICCP) opened its doors in Chicago in 2008. The school was established in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and is one of 10 campuses of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, a highly regarded local charter school network. The school's academic focus is on mathematics and science, with a special emphasis on the health sciences. UICCP’s curriculum includes four years of mathematics and science. It also includes a unique four-year...
The goal of Urban Advantage (UA) is to improve students’ understanding of scientific knowledge and inquiry through collaborations between public school systems and informal science education institutions, such as museums, gardens, zoos, and science centers. UA designs and shapes learning experiences to align with the science standards and assessments in school systems. In addition, both students and teachers are provided opportunities to engage in authentic science—conducting investigations in...
The state-led Common Core State Standards Initiative represents the leading wave of a sea change in public education aimed at putting United States education and students on par with those of leading countries—intensifying educational standards, improving coherence among the state education systems, improving instruction, and developing and deploying new approaches to curriculum and in-class and summative assessment. Educators across the country are discovering that the Common Core State...
Computational thinking practices are critical to enable next-generation advances in all STEM disciplines. Yet, while STEM disciplines ubiquitously require core competencies, almost none do so in computing. The NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate supported the College Board in the development of a new Advanced Placement course appropriate for all STEM students: CS Principles. The curriculum targets students’ development of computational thinking skills by focusing on...
Three projects based out of Indiana University—Spark to Flame, Assessment of Multinational Interest in STEM, and Undergraduate Scientists: Measuring the Outcomes of Research Experiences—are trying to gain a deeper understanding on the experiences that generate and maintain interest in STEM across the K–20 spectrum and in both formal and informal settings.
Perhaps the greatest challenge required by <em>The Next Generation Science Standards is the creation of coherence—coherence in order to develop deeper learning from grade to grade, and coherence in the support systems of curriculum, assessment, and professional development. To help students develop scientifically sound ideas and practices, curricula need to support deep restructuring of their knowledge. This requires that the core ideas of science are addressed with coherence from one...
Washington State LASER is a public-private partnership using a collaborative model for catalyzing and sustaining research-based inquiry for grades K–12 at the school, district, region, and state levels. Key elements of support include ongoing professional development, effective program and student assessment, a network of science materials centers, and the development of strong administrative and community supports. Washington State LASER is an “opt in” program. Based on a distributed...
The West Philly EVX Team includes students from the West Philadelphia High School Auto Academy and The Sustainability Workshop, both in Philadelphia, Pa. The West Philly Hybrid X Team has been building and competing with alternative fuel vehicles for the past 13 years. The car on display is the EVX GT, a hybrid sports car that the team built for the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE competition. In 2011, the team and the GT won Green Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International in New York. This...
The session will discuss how the NRC Science Education Framework and Next Generation Science Standards call for changes in science teaching and curriculum materials. The Framework and NGSS present two major evolutions in standards that challenge current widely used curriculum materials and the way science is often taught in classrooms: (1) organizing learning around core explanatory ideas; and (2) engaging students in scientific and engineering practices to develop and apply these explanatory...
Project Exploration’s youth programs allow students to explore a variety of scientific disciplines alongside scientists. Project Exploration targets students who are open-minded and curious, regardless of academic standing. All of the youth programs are free, eliminating the cost barrier that prevents low-income students from accessing dynamic out-of-school time science programs. Project Exploration works with more than 300 Chicago Public School students each year.
The mission of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) is two-fold: to provide a high-quality educational program for young children and to advance educational opportunities for all children by sharing SEEC’s expertise on a national level, thereby furthering the education mandate of the Smithsonian Institution (SI).