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Designing NGSS-Aligned Lesson Plans During a Teacher Professional Development Program (Fundamental)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Engineering Professional Development using Robotics Activities

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Sai Prasanth Krishnamoorthy NYU Tandon School of Engineering

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Sai Prasanth Krishnamoorthy received his BSEE from Amrita University and M.S in Mechatronics from NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Brooklyn, NY. He is currently a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, serving as a research assistant under NSF-funded RET Site project. He conducts research in Mechatronics, Robotics and Controls Laboratory at NYU and his research interests include swarm robotics, computer vision, and space exploration. He is a member of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.

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Sheila Borges Rajguru NYU Tandon School of Engineering Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Sheila Borges Rajguru is the Assistant Director of the Center for K-12 STEM Education, NYU Tandon School of Engineering. As the Center's STEAM educator and researcher she works with engineers and faculty to provide professional development to K-12 STEM teachers with a focus on social justice. She is currently Co-Principal Investigator on two NSF-grants that provide robotics/mechatronics PD to science, math, and technology teachers. In addition, she is the projects director of the ARISE program. This full-time, seven-week program includes: college level workshops and seminars, and a high level research experience in NYU faculty labs. Her commitment to diversity and equity is paramount to her work in STEAM and activism. As a former Adjunct Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and biomedical scientist in immunology Dr. Borges balances the world of what scientists do and brings that to STEAM education in order to provide culturally relevant professional development and curricula that aligns to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Her free time is spent hiking, growing spiritually, and enjoying her family and friends. Moreover, Dr. Borges is treasurer and co-chair of the Northeastern Association for Science Teacher Education (NE-ASTE) where faculty, researchers, and educators inform STEM teaching and learning and inform policy.

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Vikram Kapila NYU Tandon School of Engineering Orcid 16x16

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Vikram Kapila is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering (NYU Tandon), where he directs a Mechatronics, Controls, and Robotics Laboratory, a Research Experience for Teachers Site in Mechatronics and Entrepreneurship, a DR K-12 research project, and an ITEST research project, all funded by NSF. He has held visiting positions with the Air Force Research Laboratories in Dayton, OH. His research interests include K-12 STEM education, mechatronics, robotics, and control system technology. Under a Research Experience for Teachers Site, a DR K-12 project, and GK-12 Fellows programs, funded by NSF, and the Central Brooklyn STEM Initiative (CBSI), funded by six philanthropic foundations, he has conducted significant K-12 education, training, mentoring, and outreach activities to integrate engineering concepts in science classrooms and labs of dozens of New York City public schools. He received NYU Tandon’s 2002, 2008, 2011, and 2014 Jacobs Excellence in Education Award, 2002 Jacobs Innovation Grant, 2003 Distinguished Teacher Award, and 2012 Inaugural Distinguished Award for Excellence in the category Inspiration through Leadership. Moreover, he is a recipient of 2014-2015 University Distinguished Teaching Award at NYU. His scholarly activities have included 3 edited books, 9 chapters in edited books, 1 book review, 62 journal articles, and 154 conference papers. He has mentored 1 B.S., 35 M.S., and 5 Ph.D. thesis students; 58 undergraduate research students and 11 undergraduate senior design project teams; over 500 K-12 teachers and 118 high school student researchers; and 18 undergraduate GK-12 Fellows and 59 graduate GK-12 Fellows. Moreover, he directs K-12 education, training, mentoring, and outreach programs that enrich the STEM education of over 1,000 students annually.

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Rapid technological advances are dominating the evolution of world’s economy and increasingly influencing our daily lives. Even as such advances have greatly improved human living condition, a majority of people either lack the understanding of technology or frequently ignore it. While post-secondary science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education seeks to remedy this disconnect, its reach is limited because formal education ends for many students at the secondary level. To broaden the understanding of society about technology, it is paramount to educate and prepare the younger generation about new technologies at K-12 levels. Such an approach can additionally lay a strong foundation in STEM disciplines for those bound for college-level education. However, achievement of this goal requires teachers with preparation for employing classroom teaching and learning activities that incorporate and demystify latest technologies.

To address this challenge, we have developed a program to engage teachers to learn about mechatronics, robotics, and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) through hands-on activities and collaborative research. In summer 2018, an engineering department at a higher education institute hosted 11 teachers for a six-weeklong professional development (PD), beginning with a two-week hands-on learning of disciplinary topics, followed by a four-week collaborative research experience. Once a week, teachers attended a lesson plan development workshop, conducted by another PD program, to explore the three dimensional model of NGSS within the 5E instructional model consisting of engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate components. Throughout the lesson plan development workshop, teachers learned about the three dimensions of NGSS (Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Cross Cutting Concepts (CCCs), and Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs)) and creating lessons using a NGSS-5E template. Additionally, teachers attended several sample lesson presentations given by participants of the other PD workshop, provided feedback on their lessons, and discussed with them their own ideas for creating such lessons. During the summer program, each teacher designed an NGSS-aligned lesson plan, based on the experiences gained from hands-on learning activities and collaborative research.

One outcome of the aforementioned PD workshop is a lesson plan titled “Newton’s Second Law of Motion” that includes following learning outcomes: visualizing vectors, understanding forces and acceleration, providing experimental explanations for Newton’s Second law, and engaging in engineering design process. The lesson focuses on NGSS HS-PS2-1 and incorporates Newton’s second law for motion prediction as the DCI, analyzing and interpreting data as the SEP, and cause and effect as the CCC and it teases out students’ possible misconceptions on lesson concepts. The lesson follows the 5E model by engaging students in hands-on activities involving the utilization of accelerometer on smartphones and constructing an accelerometer using a shoebox, wooden dowel, a washer, a pen, a piece of paper, and some compact discs. The lesson further explores and explains the underlying concepts while elaborating on the applications and extensions of Newton’s laws, followed by an evaluation through summative assessment and formative monitoring. A detailed description of several illustrative lessons developed through the PD and their outcomes will be discussed in the final paper.

Krishnamoorthy, S. P., & Borges Rajguru, S., & Kapila, V. (2019, June), Designing NGSS-Aligned Lesson Plans During a Teacher Professional Development Program (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32621

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