• Implementing Science and Engineering practices in K-12 classrooms : Learnings from a STEM course

      Sharma, Meenakshi (2021)
      The contemporary science education framework (NRC, 2012) advocates for the use of science and engineering practices(S&E) in classrooms because these practices represent an authentic view of inquiry or the “doing” of STEM in K-12 classroom. The current study examines teachers’ understanding and use of such S&E practices within a STEM endorsement course. Research participants were teachers who were enrolled in all courses offered as part of the endorsement. As a requirement for the endorsement, each teacher planned and enacted minimum three lessons in their respective classrooms that showcased their use of S&E practices in a real classroom setting. Primary data for this qualitative study includes video recordings of teachers’ classroom instruction. In addition, we use lesson artifacts, teachers’ written reflections on their teaching enactments, and recordings of feedback meetings with the course instructor (primary presenter) as secondary data. Initial analysis shows that implementation of S&E practices helped teachers to create a rigorous learning discourse in their classrooms. Teachers shared various accounts of active student participation as an outcome of using S&E practices during feedback interviews and written reflections. Teachers revealed varying extent of success in enacting these practices in their classrooms. Research Findings have implications for preparing preservice and in-service teachers to effectively implement S&E practices in the classrooms.
    • Understanding Teachers-Researcher Collaboration: Designing a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Aligned Curriculum

      Jenkins, Tynetta; Hochuli, Caitlin; Sharma, Meenakshi (2021)
      National curriculum framework for science education (NRC, 2012) makes various recommendations for increasing collaborations among various stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of NGSS. This ongoing study presents a case that exemplifies such a collaboration between two certified teachers (co-authors) and a science education researcher (primary author). The partnership was initiated for designing a K-8 STEM curriculum focused on 3D learning (core ideas, science & engineering practices and crosscutting concepts). This is a qualitative study that uses data from regular curriculum development meetings that involve planning, design, and feedback regarding the STEM curriculum. Teachers and researcher constantly reflect on their role, contributions, and biases during these meetings and by keeping individual written reflective journals to deeply understand the nature of the existing collaboration. The goal of the study is to understand the strengths, dilemmas, and challenges of this collaboration. Most importantly as participants, we strive to understand how we develop a shared vision, how the researcher recognizes teacher voice and how teachers develop a deeper understanding of the NGSS in the process. Initial findings reveal that this partnership is a dynamic process that involves constant negotiations and compels us to revisit and rethink our current roles, values and priorities as we transition to being joint curriculum developers. We are examining changes in teachers� understanding of NGSS as an outcome of this partnership. Also, researcher�s recognition of the school contexts and students� needs as seen through the eyes of teachers will also be examined. Such collaborations are being highly advocated by the NRC (2012) committee. Our research finding can provide useful insights and strategies to build productive learning communities among teachers and researchers to support the goals of K-12 science education. National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. National Academies Press.