Resources from STEM Smart Workshops

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.
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 ( 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 goals are to advance materials technology education nationally; disseminate industry-approved core competencies for technicians who handle materials; facilitate industry, education, and community collaborations to meet materials technology workforce needs; and provide easy and direct access to Web-based resources and professional development opportunities. MatEd is housed at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Washington, and is creating a national network by partnering with industry, high schools, and higher education institutions, including other NSF ATE-funded centers and projects.
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 privilege what is, in fact, relevant to students, we must first unveil it. In this session, we are sharing work related to our efforts to collaborate with teachers and students to elicit student voice to inform curriculum design.
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 understanding of ecological science, and (2) providing tools for students, educators, scientists, and decision makers to use NEON data to make informed decisions about ecological issues. Citizen science programs are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of both the science and education communities. NEON’s Project BudBurst ( is a continental-scale citizen science project focused on plant phenology. The educational goals of Project BudBurst are to (1) increase awareness of climate change, (2) educate citizen scientists about the impacts of climate change on plants and the environment, and (3) increase science literacy by engaging participants in the scientific process. Plants are readily accessible in nearly every neighborhood, park, and wild area across the continent, so people can make observations whether they live near an inner city park or in the rural countryside. Students have the opportunity to participate in data collection, data entry, simple analysis, and interpretation. Project BudBurst is Internet-based, and all aspects of the program—including data, educational resources, and training materials—are open and freely available to anyone that wants to participate.
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 state, characterizing the differences between the initial state and the final state, and then characterizing the learning mechanisms that allow the child to navigate the differences.
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 their knowledge and skills effectively to changing situations rather than rely solely on well-worn procedures. But, creating school environments that support deeper learning and the transferable knowledge and skills that result—known as “21st century competencies”—will require changes in teaching methods, curricula, and assessments.
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 math and science learning experiences contribute to improved classroom quality.
This brief gives an overview—and by no means a comprehensive one—of several NGSS-aligned projects in the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development.
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 preschool classroom and how can technology, if used appropriately, provide unique affordances for teaching and early learning?
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 to design, customize, share, and enact their digital curricula using the WISE platform. Students observe, analyze, experiment, and reflect as they navigate WISE projects. Teachers guide and evaluate the process using a suite of classroom-based and online tools.