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Full Paper: Creating and Assessing STEM Kits for P-12 Teacher Use

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2019 FYEE Conference


Penn State University , Pennsylvania

Publication Date

July 28, 2019

Start Date

July 28, 2019

End Date

July 30, 2019

Conference Session

T1B: Developing foundations in Science

Tagged Topic

FYEE Conference - Paper Submission

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Paper Authors


Stephany Coffman-Wolph University of Texas, Austin

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Dr. Stephany Coffman-Wolph is an Assistant Professor of Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Computer Science. Research interests include: Artificial Intelligence, Fuzzy Logic, Game Theory, Teaching Computer Science, Outreach of STEM, Women in STEM, and Software Engineering.

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Kimberlyn Gray West Virginia University Inst. of Tech.

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Dr. Kimberlyn Gray is an Assistant Professor at West Virginia University Institute of Technology in the department of Chemical Engineering. She coordinated STEM outreach for the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences.

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Marcia Pool University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Dr. Marcia Pool is a Teaching Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She has been active in improving undergraduate education including developing laboratories to enhance experimental design skills and mentoring and guiding student teams through the capstone design and a translational course following capstone design. In her Director role, she works closely with the departmental leadership to manage the undergraduate program including: developing course offering plan, chairing the undergraduate curriculum committee, reviewing and approving course articulations for study abroad, serving as Chief Advisor, and representing the department at the college level meetings. She is also engaged with college recruiting and outreach; she coordinates three summer experiences for high school students visiting Bioengineering and co-coordinates a weeklong Bioengineering summer camp. She has worked with the Cancer Scholars Program since its inception and has supported events for researcHStart. Most recently, she was selected to be an Education Innovation Fellow (EIF) for the Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education (AE3) at UIUC. At the national level, she served as the Executive Director of the biomedical engineering honor society, Alpha Eta Mu Beta (2011-2017) and is an ABET evaluator (2018-present).

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With the continuing call for increased STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education at the pre-college level, teachers are expected to train students in these concepts. However, many teachers do not have the STEM educational background or experience to create opportunities for students to actively engage in learning STEM concepts [1]. Additionally, it is known that inquiry based instruction promotes learning, yet, a recent study revealed that teachers with science related degrees, as opposed to education only degrees, offer inquiry based learning at higher levels [2]. Therefore, there is a need to support teacher delivery of STEM educational concepts. While teachers may receive additional training through local universities or other professional development opportunities, it is challenging to learn from a day or week long crash course in a topic, be expected to create an effective lesson plan, or determine where the curriculum can be added to existing class requirements. However, creating a “kit” for teachers offers a solid starting point to assist teachers in STEM delivery [3]. Following this idea, we developed kits for teacher use; these kits are cost effective, with the materials being widely available. But, most importantly, the kits contain the background STEM information with easy-to-follow instructions that allow teachers to connect the STEM theoretical concepts to practical experiences. The kits also provide a list of frequently asked questions and answers to help teachers be confident in presenting the materials and links to additional interactive fun technology-based classroom content. To assist the teachers in successfully integrating the STEM-based materials into the course, each activity provides detailed learning objects and a detailed purpose statement. This paper will discuss (1) how to create the STEM based kits, (2) how to train teachers to use the kits in their classrooms, and (3) how to assess the kits from both the teacher and the student learning perspectives.

References: Keeley, P. (2009). Elementary science education in the K-12 system. Science and Children, 46(9), 8-9. Kolbe, T., and Jorgenson, S. Meeting Instructional Standards for Middle-Level Science: Which Teachers Are Most Prepared? The Elementary School Journal, 2018; 118 (4): 549 DOI: 10.1086/697540 Ivey, T., Colton, N., Thomas, J., and Utley, J. (2016). Integrated Engineering in Elementary Education: Tackling Challenges to Rural Teacher Training in Proceedings of the ASEE 123rd Annual Conference and Exposition, New Orleans, LA, June 26-29, 2016, Paper ID# 15860.

Coffman-Wolph, S., & Gray, K., & Pool, M. (2019, July), Full Paper: Creating and Assessing STEM Kits for P-12 Teacher Use Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--33700

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