- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1758487
- First Name Lynn
- Last Name Bryan
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geosciences, Math, Physics
Selcen Guzey, Purdue University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Paul Asunda, Purdue University, email@example.com; Muhsin Menekse, Purdue University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jill Newton, Purdue University, email@example.com
Lynn Bryan; Purdue University and Center for Advancing the Teaching and Learning of STEM (CATALYST); firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s K-12 students will be our nation’s next generation of talent—a population who will need increasingly sophisticated knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Numerous reports link K-12 STEM education to the U.S. effort to maintain its scientific and economic leadership in today’s global economy (e.g., NAS, 2010; National Research Council [NRC], 2011a, 2011b; National Science Board, 2006). Yet, those same reports provide data indicating our nation is not yet prepared to populate the “STEM pipeline” because of systemic challenges in our science and mathematics classrooms today. For example, research has shown that high school students are often disinterested in science because the subject is frequently taught in an isolated, disjointed fashion, limiting students’ ability to see connections among concepts and to real world applications (Hidi & Harackiewicz, 2000; Swarat, Ortny & Revelle, 2012). Furthermore, there is growing inequality of K-12 students’ access to exemplary science and mathematics education, especially among African American, Hispanic, and Native American students as well as students in rural areas (Rodriguez, 2015). This has resulted in a persistent disparity in achievement and threatens to widen the educational gap that exists between different economic strata and between our nation’s majority and growing minority populations (NRC, 2011a; President’s Council of Advisors of Science and Technology, 2010). Promising responses to these challenges involve collaboration among K-12 education, postsecondary education, business and government—and Purdue University is positioned to deliver such a response. Our vision is to strengthen Indiana’s future by expanding the number and diversity of highly qualified preservice elementary and secondary teachers in STEM teacher education programs, and preparing and supporting them in their development of enhanced knowledge and skills for teaching—not only teaching individual STEM content areas, but also integrating engineering design into traditional science, mathematics, and technology instruction. Thus we have designed a unique component for our NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (called Project EINSTEIN)—a K-12 Integrated STEM Education Degree Concentration that focuses on providing students with specialized expertise in the teaching and learning of the content and practices of STEM disciplinary knowledge (i.e., science, mathematics, technology) through the integration of the practices of engineering and engineering design of relevant technologies. Through the K-12 Integrated STEM Education Degree Concentration, Project EINSTEIN Scholars will complete a comprehensive suite of four courses and field experiences that augment their STEM teaching degree requirements, developing expertise beyond their degree program in the practical aspects of integrating engineering design into grades 7-12 curriculum. In turn, Project EINSTEIN Teacher Scholars will benefit from STEM instruction that actively engages them in science, mathematics, technology and engineering practices that help them deepen their understanding of not only the core ideas of STEM disciplines but also the cross-cutting concepts that are shared among STEM disciplines. They will have opportunities to learn science, mathematics, and technology/engineering design by conceptualizing, developing and optimizing authentic, viable solutions to problems that have real-world applications and connect to local, national and global issues (NRC, 2011a; 2014).
Through our NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Project EINSTEIN), how can we expand the number and diversity of highly qualified preservice elementary and secondary teachers in STEM teacher education programs, and prepare and support them in their development of enhanced knowledge and skills for teaching—not only teaching individual STEM content areas, but also integrating engineering design into traditional science, mathematics, and technology instruction?
The K-12 Integrated STEM Education Degree Concentration Program is grounded in a conceptual framework that embodies five core principles for STEM teaching and learning based on time-honored and contemporary research: Core Principle #1: Science and mathematics instruction is standards-based and should integrate science inquiry, technological design, engineering design, and/or mathematical problem solving. (Bryan, et al., 2015; Moore, Guzey, & Brown, 2014; NRC, 2014) Core Principle #2: Learning is a process of knowledge construction; entails the development of conceptual constructs, reasoning processes, and patterns of activity; and is situated in specific cultural contexts and practices and is socially negotiated (National Research Council, 2000). Core Principle #3: Teaching requires deep, flexible content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. (Jeanpierre, Oberhauser, & Freeman, 2005; Loucks-Horsley, Love, Stiles, Mundry, & Hewson, 2003; National Research Council, 2012; Shulman, 1986) Core Principle #4: Instruction is culturally inclusive, socially relevant and situated in authentic contexts (Ares, 2011; Cobb, 1994; Lemke, 1997; Vygotsky, 1986; Wilson-Lopez et al., 2016) Core Principle #5: Reflective teachers participate not only in the purposeful, systematic and critical examination of values, knowledge, and beliefs about what one is learning, but also in acting on those aspects that confuse, frustrate, and perplex in order to improve and refine understanding and teaching. (Bryan, 2012; Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; Dewey, 1933; Luft, 2001; Schön,1983; 1987)
Teachers who complete the K-12 Integrated STEM Education Degree Concentration Program will understand the nature of STEM through the study of the practices of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians. The term practice is used here to denote that these four disciplines contain specific knowledge and skills that form distinct practices of their respective disciplines (NRC, 2012). Identifying and defining activities, knowledge, skills, artifacts, processes, and procedures are crucial for building a strong community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and are recognized as critical to subject integration (Frykholm & Glasson, 2005; Berlin & White, 1995; NRC, 2012). OUr Noyce Project EINSTEIN Scholars will exhibit attributes of educational leadership—they will take the lead in implementing innovations and breaking the boundaries of “siloed” subject area instruction; they will share and disseminate what they know and know how to do; they will lead in developing collaborations that enrich the learning experiences of their students; they will possess the disposition of a life-long learner.
As our Noyce Scholars complete the K-12 Integrated STEM Education Degree Concentration Program and engage in field experiences, student teach, and become secondary STEM teachers, the program will have a highly positive impact on elevating secondary STEM learning as well as increase STEM interest among a diverse population of Indiana students. Our Noyce Project EINSTEIN Teacher Scholars will learn how to design culturally inclusive integrated STEM lessons and adapt existing curricula for integrated STEM instruction, which in turn will have an impact on a multitude of secondary students by engaging them in meaningful learning of STEM concepts and solving authentic, real-world problems. Further, they will be skilled as teacher leaders who will collaborate with school and/or district peers to disseminate well-tested curricula and ideas that integrate engineering/design into STEM teaching.