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Place-Based STEM: Leveraging Local Resources to Engage K-12 Teachers in Teaching Integrated STEM and for Addressing the Local STEM Pipeline

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Addressing the NGSS, Part 2 of 3: Supporting K-12 Science Teachers in Engineering Pedagogy and Engineering-Science Connections, Part 2 of 3

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.983.1 - 24.983.21



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Paper Authors


Louis Nadelson Boise State University

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Louis S. Nadelson is an associate professor in the College of Education at Boise State University, with a Ph.D. in educational psychology from UNLV. His scholarly interests include all areas of STEM teaching and learning, in-service and pre-service teacher professional development, program evaluation, multidisciplinary research, and conceptual change. Nadelson uses his over 20 years of high school and college math, science, and engineering teaching to frame his research on STEM teaching and learning. Nadelson brings a unique perspective of research, bridging experience with practice and theory to explore a range of interests in STEM teaching and learning.

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Anne Louise Seifert Idaho National Laboratory

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Anne Seifert is the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) coordinator for the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). She received a B.S. in elementary education with a focus in science and special education from University of Idaho. She completed a M.A. in education administration and an E.D.S. in educational ;eadership at Idaho State University. A 30-year veteran educator, she served as an elementary school teacher and administrator. She has been involved as an educational leader in school reform, assessment literacy, student achievement, and school improvement, and has served as an advocate for STEM education in Idaho for many years. As INL’s K-12 STEM education manager and the director of i-STEM, her work involves coordinating partnerships with educators, the state Department of Education, business, and industry to raise the awareness of the need for quality K-12 STEM education in an effort to arm students with the necessary 21st century skills in preparation for the workforce of tomorrow.

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Meagan McKinney Boise State University

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Meagan McKinney is currently a graduate student in the College of Education at Boise State University. She is pursuing a master’s of science in STEM education. In the future, she plans on incorporating her knowledge and experience with STEM education into her own classroom. Her research interests include elementary science education, self-efficacy, and teacher professional development.

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Place Based STEM: Leveraging Local Resources to Engage K-12 Teachers in Teaching Integrated STEM and for Addressing the Local STEM PipelineBusiness, industry, parks, government infrastructure, and people, can be invaluable resources forconnecting STEM curriculum with authentic contexts, which results in conditions ideal forpromoting purposeful learning of authentic STEM content. Thus, community based STEMresources provide the ideal context for teaching STEM content. The benefit of focusing teacherattention on these contextual, content aligned resources is that they are in every communitymaking place based STEM education a possibility regardless of the location of STEM teachingand learning. Further, associating STEM teaching and learning with local resources addressesissue of workforce development and the STEM pipeline by exposing students to STEM careersand applications in their local communities.The desire to align STEM teaching and learning with local STEM related resources guided thedesign of our integrated STEM K-12 teacher professional development (PD) program. We havecompleted four years of our i-STEM PD program and have made place based STEM a majoremphasis of our curriculum. Our week-long i-STEM PD served over 500 educators last summer(2013) providing them with theme based integrated STEM short courses which were limited toan average of 15 participants and plenary sessions which were whole group. The PD wasdistributed in five Idaho community colleges and took place over two weeks.The short courses included topics on engineering for sustainability, using engineering to sparkinterest in STEM, municipal water systems, mining, and energy. Integral to these short courseswere field trips which were designed to connect the K-12 educators to the resources in their localcommunities that could be leveraged for teaching integrated STEM and provide a relevantcontext for teaching STEM content. Field trips were taken to manufacturing plants, waste watertreatment systems, mines, food processing plants, and research and development facilities.We researched the 500 participants’ conceptions of place based STEM prior to and after theirtaking part in these fieldtrips. Our preliminary findings reveal substantial increases in ourparticipants’ knowledge, interest, and plans to use place based resources for teaching integratedSTEM. Our full paper will detail the data analysis and provide a theoretical foundation andjustification for the importance of place based STEM to addressing the STEM pipeline.

Nadelson, L., & Seifert, A. L., & McKinney, M. (2014, June), Place-Based STEM: Leveraging Local Resources to Engage K-12 Teachers in Teaching Integrated STEM and for Addressing the Local STEM Pipeline Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22916

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015