- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1339853
- First Name Andrea
- Last Name Burrows
- Discipline All
Tim Slater, University of Wyoming, firstname.lastname@example.org
Farhad Jafari, University of Wyoming, email@example.com
Danny Dale, University of Wyoming, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Allen, Western Wyoming Community College, email@example.com
Andrea Burrows, University of Wyoming, firstname.lastname@example.org
This research project – looking at the perspectives of pre-service science teachers – allows Noyce projects to create distinct programs that inform the views of the participants. Keeping science teachers is of utmost importance in K-12 education for quality science instruction that translates into STEM college majors.
Sustaining Wyoming’s Advancing Reach in Mathematics and Science (SWARMS) was funded in January 2014 at the University of Wyoming (UW). SWARMS’ goal is to certify 70 new science and mathematics teachers over a 5-year period (2014-2018) and include several agencies such as UW Colleges, Wesetern Wyoming Community College, and Veterans Services. SWARMS targets potential secondary physics, chemistry, Earth science, and mathematics teachers. SWARMS also targets minority students. The program utilizes the already existing UW Secondary Education post-bac program, and adds an additional 14 post-bacs (students that have previously graduated with a STEM degree) a year. Additionally, SWARMS recruits up to three STEM senior Noyce undergraduates per year. All in all, up to 17 students per year can receive Noyce funding from UW’s SWARMS and complete the post-bac program for Wyoming teaching certification. Aggressive recruitment began in Spring 2014 and continues today. The total amount awarded for SWARMS was $1,186,365 and is managed by PI Dr. Andrea Burrows. Her efforts are enhanced with the efforts of four CoPis (Dale, Jafari, Slater, and Allen) and 4 Senior Personnel (Decker, Hutchison, Leonard, and Myers).
The post-bac program is a 3-semester program where SWARMS scholars take 3 summer education classes, 3 fall education classes, and a spring semester of student teaching residency. The scholars participate in a weekly chat room dialogue with all of the cohorts (SWARMS scholars from each year) for added reflection. SWARMS scholars engage in authentic science activities, robotics, citizen science projects, and others for a full immersion teaching experience. Looking through a social constructivist lens, the SWARMS scholars’ STEM perceptions gathered by the SWARMS team are analyzed for themes to inform future coursework.
The SWARMS team is analyzing data from SWARMS scholars (Cohorts 1 and 2) regarding STEM perceptions. These perceptions will show themes and sub-themes by the end of May 2016. Regardless of the themes, the findings will be significant as they will inform the revision of coursework and new projects for the SWRAMS scholars. Key deliverables from the SWARMS scholars (in addition to their open-responses to STEM perception questions) include pre/post created lesson plans, citizen science project posters, and a unit plan.
The research from SWARMS allows other projects to compare Noyce scholar perceptions and deliverables and align coursework/projects purposefully. Additionally, the impact of keeping STEM teachers in a classrooms is vital for continued K-12 student growth. Although research shows that relationships are a key component of teacher satisfaction, preparation is also listed as a critical element and constant reflection is required in this arena. The head PI has presented posters on SWARMS, and co-authored papers on authentic science experiences in which the SWARMS scholars have participated. These papers will be made available to the participants at the poster. Additionally, a short video (UWswarms.org) showcases some of the SWARMS scholars and why they want to teach.