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Engineering Effective Middle School Teacher Professional Development

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Professional Development Programs for Teachers

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.558.1 - 11.558.12



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Paper Authors


M. David Burghardt Hofstra University

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Dr. M. David Burghardt is Professor, Chair of the Engineering Department, and co-Director of the Center for Technological Literacy at Hofstra University. He is the author of 11 engineering and technology education texts, numerous publications, and is Principal Investigator of the NSF MSP grant, Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Partnership.

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Maryann Llewellyn Uniondale School District

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Dr. Maryann Llewellyn is Deputy Superintendent of the Uniondale School District and oversees the curriculum and instruction in the district.

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

Engineering Effective Middle School Teacher Professional Development Abstract

The Math Science Technology Education Partnership (MSTP, 2003) is one of the NSF MSP targeted projects that has as its primary mission the improvement of middle school mathematics instruction and student learning in mathematics, science, and technology education classes. It is the only MSP project that uses engineering design as one of its key elements. The thesis of the project was simple: with more instructional time devoted to mathematics, and with mathematics taught with current pedagogical practice, student learning should improve. The MST Professional Development Academy grew out of this effort.

Most often professional development involves teachers attending classes to learn new content and pedagogy. Since the experience, however engaging, is disconnected from teachers’ classroom experience, new practices are hard to implement in the classes. The MST Summer Professional Development Academy, created with 55 sixth and seventh grade students and 14 middle school math, science and technology education teachers, addresses traditional professional development deficiencies. Uniondale School District, a participating school district in the project, wanted teachers to implement a comprehensive, interdisciplinary quarterly project for students that coincided with the end of marking periods.

Engineering design was used in the creation of multi-disciplinary projects and strategies for assessing student learning were used as teams of students were completing their design projects.

The paper will explain the summer academy; discuss the teacher reaction to the professional development; and analyze teacher perception of student learning. The data collected by the MSTP project’s evaluator as well as information gleaned from teacher journals and teacher observation data will be used.


The Uniondale School District on Long Island faces the challenges of many other high-needs districts, with many families living at or below the poverty level, yet the district is deeply committed to improving teaching and learning of middle school mathematics. To help meet this challenge, the district agreed to participate with a local university in a National Science Foundation targeted Math Science Partnership grant called the Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Partnership (MSTP).

Uniondale was one of ten districts participating in the project. The school population in Uniondale is 66% African-American and 31% Hispanic; 42% of the students are eligible for free lunch.

An important feature of MSTP is that each school district could shape how it provided professional development and how it built a MSTP community. The first year was spent in developing a leadership team for the school, a team composed of mathematics, science, and

Burghardt, M. D., & Llewellyn, M. (2006, June), Engineering Effective Middle School Teacher Professional Development Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--494

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