April 9, 2021
April 9, 2021
April 10, 2021
The emerging field of Quantum Computing (QC) is novel for most K12 educators. Fundamental understandings of QC rely on advanced mathematics and physics. Therefore, why is a middle or high school introduction to QC relevant or needed? In our local area, the Pennsylvania (PA) Department of Education specifies that PA science teachers implement learning experiences that allow students to understand the nexus of how societal needs create a demand for new technologies that in turn advance scientific knowledge and impact society , that science teachers create opportunities for students to engage in computational thinking and mathematics within authentic science and engineering contexts , and that mathematics pedagogy supports students to model with mathematics and make sense of complex problems . To fulfill these existing learning aims, we present a collaborative curriculum development project based on our interdisciplinary research in which we develop quantum computing methods and tools for therapeutic drug discovery. The team includes faculty from medicine, quantum computing, machine learning, and science education. The curriculum development work aims to develop resources for middle and high school (U.S. grades 6 – 12) teachers to facilitate an introduction to Quantum Information Science (QIS) and QC, embedded in existing learning aims including mathematical, scientific, and engineering practices and concepts in statistics and probability, the natural sciences, and computing. We therefore demonstrate a proof-of-concept paper for how an introduction to QC designed for teachers and students in middle and high school can be responsive to disciplinary science and math learning goals (e.g., interpreting a distribution of quantum states and decoding it into viable molecular structures) and situated in contexts of emerging quantum technologies. The educational resources provide a developmentally-appropriate approximation  of the drug discovery goals of the project and utilize existing cloud-based quantum infrastructure from IBM (IBM Quantum Experience), making the QIS concepts accessible and useful in the middle and high school contexts in relation to these existing discipline-based learning goals. The associated professional development (PD) will foster a pathway for teachers to engage with scientists and engineers around unfinished problems, supporting an epistemological stance toward science that aligns with interdisciplinary negotiations and model-based reasoning characteristic of ongoing scientific research. This, at its most basic level, supports teachers and students to engage with technological innovation as a form of scientific literacy. The teacher toolkit will support practitioners to visualize qubit states and facilitate learning activities that address how QC is an ongoing engineering endeavor, driven by societal needs for new technologies, and enabling QIS applications that young learners can authentically engage in.
 Pennsylvania Technology and Engineering Standards (2020). https://www.education.pa.gov/Documents/Teachers-Administrators/Curriculum/Science%20Education/PA-Technology%20and%20Engineering%20Standards%20Grade%206-12.pdf  National Research Council. (2015). Guide to implementing the next generation science standards. National Academies Press.  National Governors Association. (2010). Common core state standards. Washington, DC.  Grossman, P., Compton, C., Igra, D., Ronfeldt, M., Shahan, E., & Williamson, P. (2009). Teaching practice: A cross-professional perspective. Teachers College Record, 111(9), 2055-2100.
Farris, A. V., & Kim, A. E., & Li, J., & Ghosh, S. (2021, April), Quantum Computing at the Intersection of Engineering, Technology, Science, and Societal Need: Design of NGSS-aligned Quantum Drug Discovery Lessons for Middle School Students Paper presented at Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference, Virtual . https://peer.asee.org/36315
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