Social and economic development in the world is driven by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The real-world concepts and experiences acquired through these disciplines are central to developing 21st century skills. Even societal issues, such as health, energy, environment, and food require fluency in these core concepts and practices of science and engineering. Considering the complexity of the emerging issues, there is growing demand for a workforce that is competitive yet diverse. However, workforce diversity within STEM disciplines is not being met especially in terms of the number of underrepresented minorities. Reflecting on the growing rate of underrepresented minorities (URM) in the United States, fostering academic success among URM students in STEM has never been more important. One way to enhance rates of success among URM students in STEM is by connecting curricula and instruction through culturally relevant pedagogies (CRP) in mathematics and science. Furthermore, activities that are learner-centered, such as Model-Eliciting
Activities (MEAs) can allow students to be creative in applying knowledge for real-world solutions, require students to mathematize information in context and provide students and teachers a window into students’ thinking during solution development. The purpose of this National Science Foundation (NSF) project is to design, implement, and evaluate integrated culturally relevant (CR) MEAs using agricultural life sciences as the context for learning experiences. To ensure cultural and career relevance, the design of the CR MEAs will be driven by a societal challenge that is connected to a local community issue and career.
A design-based research approach will be employed to support the design of a novel educational intervention (i.e., CR MEAs) through iterative cycles of testing and research-informed revisions. A concurrent mixed methods design will be used to collect multiple forms of data (e.g., surveys, interviews/focus groups, classroom observations to ensure reliability and validity of findings.
A long-term goal of this project aims to increase the number of URM middle school students who are prepared for advanced level secondary STEM courses and postsecondary majors in the STEM fields.
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