ASSIMILATING COMPUTATIONAL AND MATHEMATICAL THINKING INTO EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Description

As computing has become integral to the practice of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the STEM+Computing program seeks to address emerging challenges in computational STEM areas through the applied integration of computational thinking and computing activities within STEM teaching and learning in early childhood education through high school (preK-12). This project will design, develop, and study the effects of instructional modules that integrate computational and mathematical thinking with the Earth and environmental sciences in grades 5-7. Three key elements of computational thinking (computational concepts, computational practices, and computational perspectives) will be interleaved with learning objectives in mathematics and the sciences at a pace that is grade-level appropriate. As instructional modules are developed and refined, the project will: (1) Monitor effects on student learning and document changes in student reasoning about Earth and environmental science; (2) Develop and conduct teacher professional development activities that support integration of computational and mathematical thinking with the Earth and environmental sciences; (3) Investigate teacher experiences and perceptions of integrating computational thinking into instruction in order to learn how to support teachers in engaging in these instructional practices; and (5) Build a digital support platform to facilitate the development and use of the instructional modules, the teacher professional development activities, and the proposed research.The project will employ a design-based research methodology focusing on continuous cycles of design, enactment, analysis, and redesign to accomplish project objectives. The project will develop 12 curriculum modules, four at each grade level for grades 5-7, that will be designed around Earth and environmental themes identified by teachers. Each module will include a set of tasks and activities for examining the organizing theme that also engage students with various programming resources, including Scratch, Molecular Workbench and Netlogo simulations. Project participants will include 25 teachers and approximately 2,820 students from low-performing schools, and the project will pursue the following objectives: (1) Design and implement instructional modules that integrate computational and mathematical thinking into the Earth and environmental sciences in Grades 5, 6 and 7; (2) Study and refine the instructional modules to monitor effects on student learning; (3) Develop and conduct teacher professional development activities that support the integration of computational and mathematical thinking into the Earth and environmental sciences; (4) Investigate teacher experiences and perceptions of integrating computational thinking into instruction for the purpose of learning how to support teachers in implementing these instructional practices; and (5) Build a digital support platform to facilitate the development and use of the instructional modules and professional development and the proposed research. Project research will be guided by research questions relating to curriculum design and development, and student outcomes. Multiple level hierarchical linear modeling will be used to analyze assessment data from multiple treatment and comparison groups of students and teachers. A range of student demographic data, teacher data, and school data will be used as predictor variables of test score outcomes.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date15/09/1731/08/20

Funding

  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA): $50,000.00

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