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An Impact Study Of The Implementation Of An Information Technology Rich Physical Science Module At The Fourth Grade Level

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Engineering in the Elementary School

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.181.1 - 13.181.12



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Paper Authors


Manisha Shrestha George Mason University

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SUNRISE Fellow, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, George Mason University

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Kelly Morris MPES

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K-12 Teacher, Manassas Park Elementary School

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Rajesh Ganesan George Mason University

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SUNRISE PI, Systems Engineering and Operations Research, George Mason University

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Donna Sterling George Mason University

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SUNRISE Co-PI, College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Impact Study of the Implementation of an Information Technology rich Physical Science Module at the Fourth Grade Level


The accelerating advancement in science and technology has made it essential for teachers to gain Information Technology (IT) rich STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) content-knowledge. One such attempt is made by SUNRISE (Schools, University ‘N’ (and) Resources In the Sciences and Engineering), a NSF/GMU GK-12 Fellows Project. The objective of the SUNRISE project is to implement IT rich STEM content knowledge into grades 4-6 education through joint collaboration among elementary and middle schools and George Mason University (GMU). This program also aims to modify science instruction by providing tools that can help teachers enhance learning opportunities for students and also assist in the professional development of the teachers. In this paper, we present a functioning model of a unique partnership that was built between a GMU graduate Fellow and a teacher of a participating elementary school, which has a student population who are 35% on reduced or free lunch and 25% English language learners. Next, we present the development of IT rich innovative instructions and experiments which build interest in STEM topics among students. We describe a case study in which a module was developed for force, motion, and energy through hands-on experiments, presentations, internet research, animation, molecular graphics, and videos. Students were engaged in inquiry-oriented and problem-based learning through real- world application questions to foster critical thinking skills and participation. Both pre-test and post-test assessments were administered to evaluate the changes in students’ content knowledge and understanding of force, motion, and energy. A quarterly assessment was administered to determine student retention of knowledge. The results obtained from the assessments are presented which indicated the effectiveness of the enhanced curriculum. Finally, we present the benefits and challenges that were faced in the implementation process of the enriched modules. We conclude the paper by describing how the SUNRISE project serves as one source of evidence that a strong Fellow-Teacher partnership can indeed enhance the excitement in STEM topics among K-12 children, which could benefit the nation’s educational enterprise.


The rapid change in science and technology has led to the development of advanced technologies such as nanotechnology. The advancement in technology has made a great impact in the scientific community and everyday life. As a result of these advances the necessity to perceive the content knowledge in science and technology has increased. The current science and mathematics curriculum in K-12 need adjustments to get the future generations ready to face the era of advanced technology.

“Recent reports of the performance of America’s children and youth from both the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS, 19991 and 20042) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 20003) echo a dismal message of lackluster performance”4. For example, TIMSS (2004) report “suggests that the performance of U.S.

Shrestha, M., & Morris, K., & Ganesan, R., & Sterling, D. (2008, June), An Impact Study Of The Implementation Of An Information Technology Rich Physical Science Module At The Fourth Grade Level Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3883

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