Maximizing STEM learning and access for all students

These projects focus on student learning and the design or development of new instructional approaches, curriculum materials, and technology enhanced learning environments.  All of these projects share a commitment to equity and inclusion for all students in STEM.



Integration of Environmental Chemistry and Computing to Advance Evidence-based Reasoning, Problem Solving, and Computational Thinking in Middle School Students (CHEM+C)

This project will explore the integration of core chemistry topics and computational thinking through student interaction with and manipulation of models that visually represent chemical systems, such as the carbon cycle. When a student examines a visual, runnable model, makes a prediction, changes the programming code, and then runs the model again, the computer provides feedback to the student that demands explanation. The process of anticipating, interpreting, and testing the computer’s feedback, when coupled with a structured argumentation process, supports a student’s abilities to think and act like a scientist as they explore and learn about both the computational and physical world.

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The Development of a New Instructional Approach to Teach Engineering in Middle School Science Classrooms

This project has two overall goals. The first goal is to create a new instructional approach that middle school science teachers can use to teach the engineering design process. The second goal is to learn more about how middle school students propose, support, critique and revise design solutions.

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Texas Energy Education Project (TEEP)

Thanks to collaboration between the Texas Natural Gas Foundation, the State Energy Conservation Office and the Texas Regional Collaboratives at the University of Texas, science teachers will have a high quality energy supplement to teach their students about natural gas and other Texas fuels.

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Early Childhood (BLOCKS)

The Building Baseline Objectives for Children’s Knowledge and Skills in Science (BLOCKS) project, was a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded study that involved extensive classroom observation of young children’s ability to learn science processes and content.  Throughout the project the 24 prekindergarten teachers-as-researchers received intensive professional development and mentoring support similar to that afforded by the Texas Regional Collaboratives (TRC) to K-12 science and mathematics teachers.

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Fraction Activities and Assessment for Conceptual Teaching (FAACT)

Fraction Activities and Assessment for Conceptual Teaching for Students with Learning Disabilities (LD) is a research proposal in the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. The proposed project will build on established research on fraction learning in mathematics education to augment conceptual understanding of fractions for students with LD.

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Project LEAP

Teaching and learning algebra has undergone a critical transformation in the US over the last two decades. Recognizing that historical paths to algebra have been largely unsuccessful in terms of students’ achievement in algebra, mathematics educators have increasingly advocated that algebra be re-conceptualized in school mathematics as a longitudinal, grades K-12 strand of thinking. In particular, mathematics educators advocate that students have long-term, sustained algebra experiences in school mathematics, beginning in the elementary grades, that build their natural, informal intuitions about structure and relationships into formalized ways of mathematical thinking. Yet research has not systematically addressed how the development of children’s algebraic thinking effects their understanding of core algebraic concepts and practices in comparison to students who receive more traditional arithmetic-based instruction. Indeed, a fundamental assumption of early algebra education is that it will increase children’s understanding of algebraic concepts and practices and, ultimately, improve their success in the study of more advanced mathematics—particularly algebra—in secondary grades. To date, however, this premise is largely untested. ProjectLEAP is comprised of four current and two past projects.

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