- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660700
- First Name Christine
- Last Name Lotter
- Discipline Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geosciences, Mathematics, Physics
Kathy Henson, University of South Carolina
Our project fills a need in helping to prepare new teachers to teach in innovative ways through integrating project-based learning experiences into our scholar’s coursework and other program components. Our program goals are to attract qualified science and mathematics students into high school teaching and retain them through instructional guidance and induction support.
How can they be best prepared? Our scholars will be prepared to teach in high-need districts through interacting with past Noyce mentor teachers, learning innovative project-based learning instructional skills, gaining early field experiences, and participating in quality induction support.
Our scholars are engaged in project-based STEM curriculum (PB) during programcourses and seminars. Three guiding principles are used to develop PB learningunits that lead to meaningful student learning. Effective PB unit components: 1)create a need for students to acquire content knowledge, 2) engage students inactively constructing their own content understandings, and 3) help studentsorganize their content knowledge so that it connects with past learning and makesapplication of the new knowledge possible (Kanter, 2010). According to Krajcikand Czerniak (2007), PB units are organized around a real-world driving questionthat gives all the learning activities a central focus and students engage in inquiryinvestigations and other practices (modeling, argumentation, data analysis) todevelop standards-based learning products that address the question. Studentsoften work in collaborative teams during the unit and utilize technology (e.g.,simulations, modeling software) to investigate the driving question (Colley, 2008)
Methods: Surveyed, interviewed, and observed 21 of UofSC’s prior Noycescholars teaching mathematics or science and we found:➢ Factors for retention❖ Supportive culture: both administration and teachers❖ Collaborative planning time in same subject/team planning time formiddle school teachers❖ Provide time for teacher professional growth (conferences, PD,leadership)❖ Teacher voice: need to feel valued for knowledge and expertise❖ Limit # of course preparations and work that takes away frominstruction (duties, paperwork, state assessments)➢ District induction mostly described as not useful; content area mentorsimportant
Our program partners with Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC) to provide our scholars with additional 21st Century STEM competencies. Our program faculty also completed a study investigating 21 past Noyce scholars to determine the factors that help retain quality mathematics and science teachers within secondary classrooms.