Exemplary Programs in Successful STEM Education

The following resources are examples of programs and projects—many of which are funded by the National Science Foundation—that outline elements that contribute to successful STEM education, and that also are aligned with the recommendations of the National Research Council reports, Successful K-12 STEM Education and Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education.
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, visions of high-quality instruction, mathematical knowledge for teaching, and views of students’ mathematical capabilities; (3) school and district leaders’ instructional leadership practices, visions of high-quality instruction, and views of students’ mathematical capabilities; and (4) supports for teachers’, mathematics coaches’, and school leaders’development of effective practices (e.g., district professional development, interactions with more accomplished peers). In addition, we have access to district student achievement data.
Supportive Infrastructure, Project or Program, Seattle Workshop
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. To date, all full-sized humanoids have been individual custom-made units, and advances made using one design do not necessarily translate to others. Currently, Drexel is the only institution in the United States that has HUBO, a world-class adult-sized humanoid developed at the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST), resulting from a prior NSF Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE) award. Building upon the unique expertise developed at Drexel in assembling and maintaining HUBO, the proposed platform will significantly extend its current capabilities, resulting in six identical units. The project’s goal is to develop a new common platform (HUBO+) that will consist of the world’s first homogenous full-sized humanoid team, and each of the participating schools will have access to a HUBO+ unit to enhance their research efforts. The project partners include researchers at Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Ohio State, Purdue, U.Penn, USC, and Virginia Tech, representing a critical mass of humanoids research in the United States. Current humanoids are rarely autonomous and not ready for unconstrained interaction with humans. Having a consistent platform will facilitate rapid progress in areas needed for autonomy and natural interaction, including mobility, manipulation, vision, speech communication and cognition, and learning. Furthermore, humanoids research is inherently interdisciplinary and integrative, and catalyzes interest in engineering among younger students. The project’s outreach partners, including several high-profile museums, will introduce people of all ages to the technologies of robotics, particularly useful for recruiting K–12 students into science, engineering, and mathematics.
Exhibit, Other, Philadelphia Launch Event
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 skills in the workforce. CA2VES’ mission is to advance aviation, automotive, and manufacturing technician education to support workforce preparedness and meet the advanced technology workforce needs of South Carolina’s anchor aviation and automotive businesses, industries, and suppliers.
Needham Workshop, Other, Project or Program
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. eMSS is a year-long program that emphasizes the key structural features of an effective mentoring program.
Supportive Infrastructure, Project or Program, Las Vegas Workshop
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 and services for high school and college students with disabilities as they successfully negotiate critical junctures. The EAST-2 pipeline focuses on undergraduate STEM research fellowships (URFs), mentoring and tutoring, weekly learning community events, accessible technologies, internships, individualized case management, high school summer STEM camps, transition services, and the development of capacity within high schools and the University of Southern Maine (USM) to fully support students with disabilities (SWD). Activities along our pipeline increase students’ confidence in their STEM learning and give them the opportunity to participate in life-changing experiences. The EAST-2 pipeline model serves to broaden the participation of students with disabilities in STEM fields.
Needham Workshop, Other, Project or Program
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 managing schools involves multiple individuals. The practice aspect foregrounds the <i>practice</i> of leading and managing, framing this practice as emerging from the <i>interactions</i> among school leaders and followers, mediated by the situation in which the work occurs. Practice is more about interaction than action. At the same time, any effort to understand practice has to pay careful attention to social structure, both the immediate infrastructure of the school organization and the more distal infrastructure of the education system. The school subject–mathematics, science and language arts—has figured prominently in our efforts to build knowledge about and for the practice of leading and managing.
Effective Instruction, Presentation, Chicago Workshop
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 behaviors with regards to engineering. Our TPD has been delivered in the form of a one-week-long summer academy (~30 hours), a year of supported classroom implementation, a second three-day summer academy, and a second year of classroom implementation.
Atlanta Workshop, Project or Program
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 relevance and rigor to K–12 math and science curricula. At the middle-grades level, local and National Science Foundation funding are enabling EYE to develop a set of integrated STEM instructional units, the EYE modules, to inspire and motivate all middle-grades students, especially those typically underrepresented in STEM, to take the high school courses needed in preparation for 21st century workforce needs. Each EYE Module is designed such that students use engineering practices and apply required mathematics and science content to develop solutions to relevant problems facing humans today, fostering the development of engineering “habits of mind.”
Atlanta Workshop, Project or Program
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 classrooms. Together, we have developed, piloted, refined, and deployed a year-long high school engineering course built on a foundation of solid research in the learning sciences, couched in the context of a rigorous engineering design process, and scaffolded to build engineering skills and habits of mind. We have also tested a variety of teacher preparation and support models that continue to evolve in response to the needs of our diverse teacher population.
Atlanta Workshop, Project or Program
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 July 2011. The Framework is intended to serve as the blueprint for the Next Generation Science Standards. I have had the good fortune to serve as a consultant on Framework with the charge of assisting the study committee in deciding how best to include engineering and technology as an integral part of science. The results of that effort appear in Chapter 3 and Chapter 8.I am also a member of the writing committee working on the Next Generation Science Standards, and although I can’t discuss details yet, I can say that we are following the Framework very closely.
Effective Instruction, Project or Program, Seattle Workshop