2019 FYEE Conference

Full Paper: Creating and Assessing STEM Kits for P-12 Teacher Use

Presented at T1B: Developing foundations in Science

With the continuing call for increased STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education at the pre-college level, teachers are expected to train students in these concepts. However, many teachers do not have the STEM educational background or experience to create opportunities for students to actively engage in learning STEM concepts [1]. Additionally, it is known that inquiry based instruction promotes learning, yet, a recent study revealed that teachers with science related degrees, as opposed to education only degrees, offer inquiry based learning at higher levels [2]. Therefore, there is a need to support teacher delivery of STEM educational concepts. While teachers may receive additional training through local universities or other professional development opportunities, it is challenging to learn from a day or week long crash course in a topic, be expected to create an effective lesson plan, or determine where the curriculum can be added to existing class requirements. However, creating a “kit” for teachers offers a solid starting point to assist teachers in STEM delivery [3]. Following this idea, we developed kits for teacher use; these kits are cost effective, with the materials being widely available. But, most importantly, the kits contain the background STEM information with easy-to-follow instructions that allow teachers to connect the STEM theoretical concepts to practical experiences. The kits also provide a list of frequently asked questions and answers to help teachers be confident in presenting the materials and links to additional interactive fun technology-based classroom content. To assist the teachers in successfully integrating the STEM-based materials into the course, each activity provides detailed learning objects and a detailed purpose statement. This paper will discuss (1) how to create the STEM based kits, (2) how to train teachers to use the kits in their classrooms, and (3) how to assess the kits from both the teacher and the student learning perspectives.

References:
Keeley, P. (2009). Elementary science education in the K-12 system. Science and Children, 46(9), 8-9.
Kolbe, T., and Jorgenson, S. Meeting Instructional Standards for Middle-Level Science: Which Teachers Are Most Prepared? The Elementary School Journal, 2018; 118 (4): 549 DOI: 10.1086/697540
Ivey, T., Colton, N., Thomas, J., and Utley, J. (2016). Integrated Engineering in Elementary Education: Tackling Challenges to Rural Teacher Training in Proceedings of the ASEE 123rd Annual Conference and Exposition, New Orleans, LA, June 26-29, 2016, Paper ID# 15860.

Authors
  1. Dr. Stephany Coffman-Wolph University of Texas, Austin [biography]
  2. Dr. Kimberlyn Gray West Virginia University Inst. of Tech. [biography]
  3. Dr. Marcia Pool University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign [biography]
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