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STEM well represented at CEHD Research Day

CEHD-RDay-2011-Poster-2619.jpgThe College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) held its annual Research Day on March 31, 2011 at the McNamara Alumni Center. Of the 35 research posters representing departments and centers across CEHD, five from the STEM Education Center were chosen via a selection process.

The following research was presented:

Improving both middle school student's science content knowledge and their social awareness about global warming by using the integration of place-based learning and global education methods.
Presenter: Engin Karahan

As part of a large-scale intervention research, this particular study will examine middle school student's science content knowledge and awareness of social activism with regard to global warming. Four different cultural groups of Minnesota will be represented by groups of 4-6 students. This study is grounded on two bodies of instructional approach, place-based learning and global education. After a two-to-three month out of school curriculum involving place-based learning aspects such as visiting natural reserved areas, collecting local news about global warming, conducting interviews with the elders of the communities is used; each group will create end products related to global warming such as video clips, news reports or documentaries. To provide an environment of global education, a Ning network will be used as a communication tool between the students of different groups. In this website, each student will be encouraged to share photos, videos, and journals etc. about global warming. The assessment is grounded on pre-experimental design; the one group pretest-post-test. It will examine student's responses to writing prompt which will ask students to write about causes and effects of global warming, and what actions should be taken by assuming the role of radio announcer who warns the listening audience.

CYCLES: Teachers Discovering Climate Change from a Native Perspective
Presenters: Gillian Roehrig, Keisha Varma, Devarati Bhattacharya, Shiyu Liu

Twenty middle and high school teachers from reservation schools will participate in the project that includes a two-week summer workshop each year. During the summer workshops teachers will be actively involved in doing GCC science, both in the field with local projects and working with existing NCED and NASA data. Teachers will learn how to use NASA tools to visualize and model GCC change to answer questions about GCC. All activities will be modeled using inquiry-based pedagogy and the culturally-responsive Seven Elements of STEM Learning. During the academic year, teachers will implement lessons and activities from the summer workshops in their classrooms with support from the CYCLES staff. The CYCLES Project directly addresses all of the NASA GCCE project goals and in addition, supports NASA's cultivation of diversity as core value for all NASA education efforts. The specific objectives for the CYCLES projects are: 1. Strengthen teachers' understanding of fundamental Earth-System Science and Global Climate Change concepts 2. Develop GCC teaching strategies that are culturally-responsive 3. Improve teacher's knowledge of and implementation of GCC education resources 4. Increase student's knowledge of GCC.

Ah Neen Dush: Culturally-responsive Science Professional Development for Head Start Teachers on the White Earth Reservation

Presenters: Gillian Roehrig, Mia Dubosarsky, Barbara Murphy, Stephan Carlson

Despite many scholars' recommendations, science is often avoided during early childhood education. Among the reasons provided by early childhood teachers for the exclusion of science from their daily routines are science anxieties, low self-efficacy with respect to teaching science, lack of experience participating in science activities as students, or the notion that literacy and language are more important during the early years. In minority populations the problem is even greater due to identification of science with the culture of. This article presents results from Ah Neen Dush, a sustained and transformative professional development program for Head Start teachers on an American Indian Reservation. The goal of the program is to support early childhood teachers in developing inquiry-based and culturally-relevant teaching practices. Through analysis of teachers' classroom practices, surveys and interviews, we explore changes in teachers' attitudes toward science and inquiry-based practices. Classroom observations were conducted using CLASS (Classroom assessment Scoring System), a tool used to evaluate the quality of classroom interaction. After one year of professional development teachers attitudes were found to improve and after two years teachers classroom practices were more inquiry-based with statistically significant increases in CLASS observation scores.

Faculty Change: A Longitudinal Study Exploring Instructional Beliefs while Implementing Model-Eliciting Activities
Presenters: Tamara Moore, Gillian Roehrig, Selcen Guzey

It is crucial that engineering educators apply effective pedagogical approaches in order to maximize student learning. When considering instructional practice, the beliefs of an educator represent a very important construct in the determination of what and how they teach. This study specifically investigates the impact of faculty involvement in a specific student-centered, active learning classroom practice (Model-Eliciting Activities) on their beliefs about classroom instruction. Specifically, this study is guided by the following research question: How do faculty beliefs about teaching, learning, and assessment change through the use of Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs)? Using a multi-case study design, four engineering faculty members from across the United States were studied while developing, implementing, and assessing MEAs. Data for the study were collected from multiple sources including semi-structured interviews about teaching beliefs. Yearly interviews were coded using a rubric that classifies beliefs on a scale from instructor-centered to student-centered. Over the course of the three-year study, all four faculty had a shift in their beliefs towards a more student-centered view through the use of MEAs. The faculty indicated that they were able to emphasis teamwork, real world practice, problem-solving skills, timely feedback, constructed knowledge, communication, active learning, formative assessment, and the discipline of engineering through the use of MEAs. This study provides evidence that implementing and developing MEAs can help both experienced and beginning instructors change their beliefs toward a student-centered view of instruction.

CAREER: Implementing K-12 Engineering Standards through STEM Integration
Presenters: Tamara Moore

Motivating students to enter STEM fields requires a new trajectory to success that focuses on understandings and abilities that are consistent with the new kinds of math/science/engineering thinking in a technology-based age of information. As these problems are multidisciplinary in nature, a STEM Integration approach must be used to prepare students to be competitive in the 21st century. Research needs to be done that helps realize the most effective ways for students to learn and engage with STEM concepts in a multidisciplinary manner and teachers to understand and implement STEM Integration approaches. Currently, there is a movement in K-12 education to include engineering academic standards in the science curriculum. In fall 2009, Minnesota was one of the first states that implemented such standards. The goal of the proposed work is to understand and identify teacher implementation strategies and resultant student learning through the implementation of these engineering academic standards. The main research questions are; 1. How are K-12 engineering standards being implemented in mathematics and science classrooms? 2. What are teachers' perceptions of the individual STEM disciplines and the integration of these disciplines during their implementation of the standards? How do the perceptions change over time? This project utilizes a mixed methods, multiple-case, embedded case study design that employs a variety of data sources in order to fully understand teacher's implementation strategies and obstacles as they work to address the engineering standards in the K-12 classroom.

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