P-12 sTEm Active Projects
R&D: Quality Cyber-Enabled, Engineering Education Professional Development to Support Teacher Change and Student Achievement (E2PD)
PI: Heidi Diefes-Dux. Co-PIs: Monica Cardella, Johannes Strobel, Sean Brophy
The study of engineering can advance the problem solving and critical thinking ability of all students and prepare them for the technological workplace. Early exposure to engineering principles may increase all students' interest in STEM fields, while embedding problems in social issues may aid in the recruiting of underrepresented groups to the STEM enterprise. The INSPIRES program implements these ideas and tests their impact on learning and teaching. The face-to-face workshops used in the INSPIRES program at Purdue are extended through cyber-infrastructure with the use of video-based mentoring in real time and an asynchronous learning experience. A video and audio network links elementary school teachers with researchers and educators at Purdue to form a community of practice dedicated to implementing engineering education at the elementary grades. A learning progression, based on the Engineering is Elementary and model-eliciting mathematics materials, is developed for elementary school teachers to increase their ability to adapt and refine engineering learning materials in their classrooms. Existing assessment instruments will be revised and new ones developed, as necessary, to measure the impact of the professional development that includes engineering on teacher, student, administrator and parent knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors about engineering and engineering education. The research plan identifies the changes in teacher and student knowledge, the abilities and behaviors resulting from the introduction of engineering, and the attributes of face-to-face and cyber-enabled teacher professional development and community building that can transform teachers into master users and designers of engineering education for elementary learners. The study involves about 120 teachers in three cohort groups. Funded by the National Science Foundation.
Developing Talents and Improving Student Achievement Among Traditionally Underrepresented Populations: An Experimental Investigation Scaling-up the Total School Cluster Grouping Model
Eric Mann, Co-PI
This grant provides for the scaling up of the Total School Cluster Grouping Model (TSCG), a specific, research-based, total-school application of cluster grouping combined with differentiation. The focus of TSCG is to meet the needs of students identified as gifted, while also improving teaching, learning, and achievement of all students. By helping improve general education practices, TSCG facilitates the development and recognition of talent and potential among populations traditionally underserved in gifted education programs. Funded by the U.S. Department of Educaton.
Exploring Engineering Design Knowing and Thinking as an Innovation in STEM Learning
Nathan Mentzer, Co-PI, Kurt Becker (of Utah State University) PI, Jon Pieper (Graduate Student), Kyungsuk Park (Research Assistant – Utah State)
The purpose of this NSF funded project is to clarify engineering design as a construct and perform empirical exploratory research on engineering design as a STEM learning experience for high school students. Engineering design thinking among high school students has the potential to contextualize math and science principles. Understanding STEM integration is foundational to developing effective educational interventions to improve all students’ understanding of our highly technological society. As high school students learn the engineering design process, they gradually internalize a methodic manner of thinking, integrating mathematics and science, which informs the central practice of engineering (Sheppard, Macatangay, Colby, & Sullivan, 2009).