June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Council of Sections
15.941.1 - 15.941.11
Partnership to Improve Student Achievement in Engineering and Science Education: Lessons Learned in Year One
Through a state-sponsored Math-Science Partnership (MSP) program, 57 grade 3-5 teachers in six urban districts in N.J. received professional development, classroom support, and mentoring in innovative science and engineering curricula designed to make use of constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. Two universities, a science center, and a teacher education institution collaborated in delivering project services to schools. Through intensive professional development, teachers engaged in science inquiry lessons, learned about and practiced the engineering design process (EDP), and interacted with science and engineering faculty to bolster their science content knowledge in life and environmental sciences. Preliminary findings from the pre and post tests of treatment group teachers indicate that participants significantly increased their content knowledge in specific life science topics and concepts involving the engineering design process. Similarly, analysis of pre and post tests of students who were taught by teachers in the treatment group indicate gains more than two and a half times greater in science and engineering content knowledge than the students of teachers in the comparison group. This paper describes the efforts and findings during the first year of the three-year program.
The Partnership to Improve Student Achievement (PISA), a state-sponsored Math-Science Partnership (MSP) program, commenced in July 2007 with 57 grade 3-5 teachers from six urban districts in N.J. Two separate two-week summer institutes were conducted, during which time teachers engaged in science inquiry, learned about and practiced the engineering design process (EDP), visited research labs and interacted with science and engineering faculty and staff from Stevens Institute of Technology to bolster their science content knowledge in life and environmental sciences. The culmination of the summer institute was the creation of a STEM Learning Module (SLM) which teachers implemented in their classrooms during the 2007-08 school year. Summer institute instructors guided teachers in development of the SLMs using the 5E Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate)1. The SLMs reflect the science content, engineering skills and approaches, cyber infrastructure curricular tools, and pedagogical strategies that the participants learned during the summer institutes. All SLMs created by participants incorporated: (a) active student learning, (b) team-based approach to teaching, (c) computer-based technological resources in the lesson, (d) the engineering design process, and/or (e) the inquiry approach to teaching and learning science.
The overarching aim of the three-year PISA program is to: (a) demonstrate and institutionalize within participating schools a methodology, supporting curriculum materials, and other instructional resources and strategies to increase student interest, engagement, and achievement in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology and further, to (b) promote a culture of inventiveness and creativity that calls upon students to demonstrate 21st century workforce skills and to apply science and mathematics toward the solution of relevant, real-world problems. Specifically, the goals for year one were to (a) improve participating teachers’ content
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