Active Research & Development Projects:
- Agency in Sustained Problem-Based Inquiry
- STEM Education, Rigor, and Equity in a Comprehensive High School
- Educurious Next-Gen Curriculum
- COSEE Ocean Learning Communities
- Games for STEM Learning
- The LIFE Research Center
- The Geo-Literacy Alliance
- Research+Practice Collaboratory
- Project COOL: Chemical Oceanography Outside the Lab
Completed Research & Development Projects:
- Exploring Databases: Bringing Contemporary Scientific Practice to High School Classrooms
- SoundCitizen Science Apprenticeship: Where Urban Communities and Academia Come Together
- Using Project-Based Learning as a Vehicle to Promote Learning and Equity in STEM Education
- R2P Relating Research to Practice in Informal Environments
Active Research & Development Projects
With support from the National Science Foundation Institute staff are working in partnership with collaborators in the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Center, and district leaders, curriculum specialists, and teachers from the Bellevue School District (BSD) to conduct a research and development project in elementary science teaching and learning. The project involves the iterative design, delivery and testing of science inquiry experiences that offer diverse groups of 2nd and 5th grade students choice and agency to inquire about authentic, socially-consequential science problems. A major goal of our work is to improve ways to engage students and teachers in creative and productive aspects of scientific inquiry that many argue are often absent in classrooms. Institute staff contribute to the overall design of this project, to the development of innovative curriculum materials and related teacher training, and to the design and conduct of research on student learning.
- Institute Staff Involved: Carrie Tzou, Philip Bell, Andy Shouse & Giovanna Scalone
- Funding Source: NSF DR-K12 program
The Institute has partnered with Bellevue School District (BSD), the College Board, The Washington STEM Center and other local organizations in a successful proposal to the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation (i3) program. This public-private partnership project will develop a model of STEM-rich, problem-based curriculum within the comprehensive high school. Key elements of the model include rigorous, problem-based curricula, STEM industry mentorship for teachers and students, and specific supports for students with disabilities and English language learners. The Institute will work with BSD teachers and administrators to design and develop problem-based curriculum, video cases for teacher professional development, and a mentoring system to engage STEM industry professionals with teachers and students. The Institute's research efforts will focus on iterative refinement of curriculum materials and analysis of mentoring practices. The latter years of the five-year project will shift focus to strategies for dissemination throughout the district and beyond.
- Institute Staff Involved: Andrew Shouse, Paul Sutton and Biz Wright
- Funding Source: U.S. Dept. of Education i3 Project
- Article: Creating a new model for high school STEM education
The Institute is partnered with Educurious Partners, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating next-gen high school curriculum to highly engage students and support meaningful learning. The project is creating year-long, project-based curriculum in Biology, English / Language Arts, and Algebra built on a social media learning platform. The UW team is responsible for designing, piloting, and studying the year-long courses.
- Institute Staff Involved: Philip Bell, Leah Bricker, Blakely Tsurusaki, Carrie Tzou, Andrew Shouse, Aaron Hung, Mark Chen, Katie Van Horne, Elly Walsh, Déana Scipio, Paul Teske, Annie Kuo, Ann Ferguson, Chloe Diamond, and Nancy Price
- Funding Source: The Educurious Partners effort is funded by the Gates Foundation
- Web Site: http://educurious.org/
- Press Release: New Teaching and Learning Tools
The Institute is a partner in the Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence: Ocean Learning Communities (COSEE-OLC), an NSF funded thematic center comprised of four units: the Seattle Aquarium Society, the Ocean Inquiry Project, the UW College of Education (within which the Institute resides) and the UW School of Oceanography. COSEE-OLC fosters community development around ocean issues and engages communities in efforts to bring the latest scientific information about the ocean to the general public. COSEE-OLC works closely with the Puget Sound region's marine volunteer community, the scientific community, and the learning sciences community. In particular, the Institute worked with the SoundCitizen group to develop My Place in Puget Sound curriculum. My Place in Puget Sound engages students in learning about the chemistry of Puget Sound while connecting to their senses of place and empowering them towards community-based action around the health of Puget Sound. The curriculum features data and findings from SoundCitizen, a citizen science-based project that is scientifically investigating the chemical links between urban settings and aquatic systems.
- Institute Staff Involved: Philip Bell, Carrie Tzou, Blakely Tsurusaki & Shelley Stromholt
- Funding Source: NSF COSEE Program
- Web Site: http://www.coseeolc.net/
With support from DARPA, the Institute is collaborating with the Center for Game Science in the UW Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) to create free online STEM games and research player learning and behavior. This includes looking at player learning across settings, investigating the correlation between professional practice and player practice, and researching the game design process and its implications for learning.
- Institute Staff Involved: Philip Bell, Andy Shouse, Mark Chen & Theresa Horstman
- Funding Source: DARPA
- Games: Foldit, Refraction
- UW Center for Game Science Web Site: http://games.cs.washington.edu/
The Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Research Center is a multi-institution NSF Science of Learning Center hosted at the University of Washington in partnership with Stanford University, SRI International, Northwestern University, and UC-Berkeley. Since 2004, the LIFE Center has worked to develop and test principles about the social foundations of human learning in informal and formal environments with the goal of enhancing human learning from infancy to adulthood. LIFE Center researchers represent a broad range of fields, including neurobiology, psychology, education, speech and hearing sciences, anthropology, and sociology, and many of the issues LIFE investigates arise from their interactions. A number of LIFE Researchers are also members of the Institute for Science and Mathematics Education where they conduct translational research that leverages, extends, and further studies the social foundations of human learning as it relates to equity approaches to STEM education.
- Institute Staff Involved: Philip Bell, Leah Bricker, Tiffany Lee, Suzanne Perin, Katie Van Horne, Giovanna Scalone, Shelley Stromholt, Mark Chen
- Funding Source: NSF Science of Learning Center
- Web Site: http://life-slc.org/
With support from National Geographic Society (NGS) the Institute is engaged in a strategic planning process to design a state-wide organization to foster learning opportunities and resources in K-12 geographical sciences education. The organization will leverage connections between geographical literacy, STEM disciplines, and a rich array of private and public interests in contemporary geographical sciences. A specific strategy we are developing will target local, personally relevant community and environmental issues tied to geo-literacy and STEM education. As part of NGS's nation-wide Alliance Network, we are contributing to a national network of K-12 teachers, college geographers and educators, school administrators, education policymakers, and other external stakeholders dedicated to improving geography education.
- Institute Staff Involved: Andrew Shouse, Gilda Wheeler (consultant)
- Funding Source: National Geographic Society
With an $8 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Institute researchers in collaboration with the Exploratorium in San Francisco; University of Colorado in Boulder; TERC in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Education Development Center in Waltham, Massachusetts; and Inverness Research of California, have formed a Research+Practice Collaboratory to strengthen connections between research and practice in K-12 STEM education across formal and informal settings.
With the coming Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core adoptions across the country, bridging the gap between research and practice is more critical than ever. The Collaboratory has been formed to move beyond the traditional thinking about "getting research into practice" and instead proposes to reframe and redefine the relationship between scholarly and practical knowledge in way that can create more usable research and better STEM learning opportunities for children and youth. The Collaboratory builds on trends in the medical sciences that focus on translational research and the adaptation, rather than the adoption, of research into real world and practical settings.
The Research+Practice Collaboratory will work with leading educational professional associates and other STEM advocates to leverage their existing knowledge and practices to
- Collect, create, and synthesize translational research resources in order to expand STEM educators' and educational leaders' access and awareness to current relevant research, and STEM educational researchers access to high quality programs and practices.
- Support multiple opportunities for cross-sector (research and practice; education and social sciences; formal and informal) meetings to foster critical engagement and cultural exchange.
- Test, document, and innovate new resources and mechanisms at three Adaptation Sites and disseminate both products and results through the R+P Resource Center.
There will be a public launch of the R+P Collaboratory in early 2013.
- Institute Staff involved: Philip Bell, Andrew Shouse
- Funding source: NSF
With support from the National Science Foundation, the Institute and partners in Ocean Sciences, local schools and community organizations applied for and received funding for three more years for Project COOL: Chemical Oceanography Outside the Lab. This iteration of the program will add a two-quarter sequence that will bring together geoscientists, undergraduate students and middle school youth. The program begins with professional development and curriculum design workshops for geoscientists who teach (e.g. professors, postdocs). Then a course is offered to University of Washington students at both the undergraduate and graduate level through the Pipeline Project, a university sponsored program that provides service and educational opportunities to college students through partnerships with K-12 schools.
Finally, collegiate participants (faculty though undergraduates) who have taken the Project COOL Pipeline class will facilitate Out of School Time (OST) Programs in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Seattle Public School District. Project COOL-OST will be offered at multiple Seattle area middle schools and will engage underrepresented youth in authentic scientific research through collaboration with SoundCitizen, a citizen science collective that fosters public involvement in geosciences research.
Project COOL will foster interactions between scientists, college students and middle school youth, and will generate new knowledge of the natural world through problem-based learning. Teams will work together to identify and investigate locally relevant questions about terrestrial, riverine and marine chemistry. The project will:
- Create a scientifically-grounded lab and field research experience for middle school youth at a time when data shows they are consciously and unconsciously making decisions about the role of STEM science in their futures (Tai 2006),
- Scientifically investigate identity development, learning practices and engagement for participants of different ages and education/career stages who participate together in scientific research, and
- Produce high quality data and information that will be used by the aquatic chemists leading the teams to further research and educational missions.
- Institute Staff involved: Philip Bell, Andrew Shouse, Déana Scipio
- Funding Source: NSF
Completed Research & Development Projects
The Institute, in collaboration with the UW Department of Genome Sciences, is developing and studying curriculum units focused on authentic practice for data analysis with a scientific database in high school classrooms. The materials and database will support students in conducting statistical analysis and developing scientific arguments for how genetic and environmental factors affect regular smoking behavior. We will also provide supports for students to interact with scientists and graduate students in genome sciences and epidemiology. Over the three years of the project, the Institute will carry out an iterative development and research in secondary science classrooms in the Seattle metro and suburban areas with culturally diverse students. In addition, a professional learning community for teachers who use Exploring Databases curriculum will contribute to curriculum design and research while honing their expertise in teaching and facilitating inquiry-based learning. Ultimately the curriculum and database will be freely available online including learning resources for teachers.
- Institute Staff Involved: Andy Shouse, Philip Bell, Hiroki Oura & Katie Van Horne
- Funding Source: NSF ITEST Program
- Project Web Site: Exploring Databases Project Web Site, Curriculum & Expert Interviews
- Extended Project Description: UW Genome Sciences page
With support from the National Science Foundation, the Institute and partners in Ocean Sciences, local schools and community organizations developed the SoundCitizen Science Apprenticeship (SCSA) program. SCSA provides middle and high school-aged youth from groups that are underrepresented in the sciences with rich opportunities to explore ocean sciences in an afterschool setting. The project builds upon SoundCitizen, an ongoing participatory science effort housed in Rick Keil's (UW ocean sciences) lab through which volunteers collect water samples to feed the lab's investigations. SCSA is an effort to bring this project to youth. SCSA participants work with UW mentors to engage in studies of water quality and to design applied projects in their home communities.
- Institute Staff Involved: Andrew Shouse, Shelley Stromholt, Déana Scipio & Philip Bell
- Funding Source: NSF OEDG Program
- Article: Youth Study Platicizers in Marine Water Systems
With support from Boeing, the Institute is collaborating with Highline Public Schools in an effort to build and expand equitable STEM curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The current 18-month planning phase of this initiative is focused on developing small "kernels" of practice in two high schools, which include project-based learning as a vehicle for STEM learning and STEM teacher learning through STEM industry and research lab internships. The plan is to scale the kernels of practice throughout Highline's middle and high schools, and eventually throughout elementary schools as well. The district's lighthouse regional magnet school - Aviation High School - serves as one model of a STEM school. UW Institute staff are working closely with Aviation High School faculty and students to document central teaching and learning practices, which will aide in the development process of a professional learning center; a professional development hub for STEM teachers throughout the district and beyond. In this collaboration with the Highline district, were are developing what it means for a district to be a STEM district and strategies for how to scale and support STEM initiatives.
- Institute Staff Involved: Leah Bricker, Philip Bell, Andrew Shouse & Katie Van Horne
- Funding Source: Boeing Corp.
In conjunction with the Center for Informal Learning and Schools (CILS) at the Exploratorium, Institute researchers developed a website containing a set of briefs summarizing recent peer-reviewed educational research. Written with the needs and interests of out-of-school science educators in mind, the purpose of this site is to make some of the large body of knowledge about teaching and learning accessible to informal educators and relevant to their settings. Containing 200 written briefs from the past two years of 10 peer-reviewed journals, the website is itself a research project to determine if we can make these articles available, accessible, and useful to informal science educators, can they be used to inform practice?
- Institute Staff Involved: Philip Bell, Suzanne Perin
- Funding Source: NSF EAGER
- Web Site Resource: http://www.research2practice.info