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Comparison Of Outcomes For Engineering And Science Gk 12 Fellows

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.383.1 - 12.383.14

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Paper Authors

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Stephen Thompson University of South Carolina

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Jed Lyons University of South Carolina

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


In the National ScienceFoundations’ Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 (GK-12) programs, graduate students from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines act as school-based resources for K-12 classroom teachers. This study compares how participation in one GK-12 program influenced graduate level students from two different disciplines, Science and engineering. The graduate students, called GK-12 Fellows, were members of a mixed STEM cohort that worked collaboratively in partnerships with middle Science and/or math teachers in their classrooms for one to two days each week over an entire school year.

A number of data collection instruments were employed to capture changes in GK-12 Fellows’ ideas, understandings and perceptions. These included pre and post interviews and surveys, as well as weekly journals and periodic field-based observations. While the surveys focused mainly on ideas and issues related to Science and math education, the other data collection instruments were open-ended, thereby allowing themes to emerge from the data collection and analysis rather than preceding them.

Analysis of the data indicated that participation in this type of outreach significantly improved the GK-12 Fellows’ understanding of contemporary notions of teaching and learning, especially as they relate to Science and math instruction. At the end of the outreach experience the GK-12 Fellows expressed greater confidence in their ability to create and implement problem-solving activities that incorporate math and Scienceconcepts. The GK-12 Fellows also held more complete understanding of inquiry- based teaching practices, as well as improved abilities to help students design and implement their own research projects as a result of this outreach. The outreach also enhanced GK-12 Fellows’ understanding of issues and obstacles related to K-12 Science and math instruction, as well as their stated commitment to outreach in their future professional lives.

The discussion presented here also focuses on how the experience of teaching middle schools students about research influenced the GK-12 Fellows’ own research agendas and their understandings of their own disciplines. This portion of the paper includes an implications component resulting from these findings.


In 1999 the National Science Foundation (NSF) initiated the Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program. This program employs science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduate students, called Graduate Teaching Fellows (GK-12 Fellows), as resources for K-12 Science and math teachers. Since its inception, the NSF has provided over 250 million dollars to sponsor approximately 200 university-based GK-12 projects [1]. This huge investment in public funding represents one of the first major attempts to form collaborative partnerships between university STEM experts and K-12 Science and math teachers working together in the school setting. The NSF's investment is aligned with reform documents that call for STEM

Thompson, S., & Lyons, J. (2007, June), Comparison Of Outcomes For Engineering And Science Gk 12 Fellows Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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