Funded projects in grades 6-12 provide students with the opportunity to "do science" in new ways that promise to increase their engagement with the subject matter and improve their learning.
Below are descriptions of funded projects and a sample list of recent awardees.
Amesbury High School (Amesbury, MA)
Amesbury High School students will design and build scaled structures with various building materials in a new Fundamental Engineering course in which students will explore the relative strength of traditional as well as newer composite building materials. Read More...
The course was developed by a teacher based on his work at Northeastern University with researchers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center for Awareness and Localization of Explosive Related Threats.
William Marsh Rice University (Houston, TX)
The Rice University Elementary Model Science Lab (REMSL) is an initiative of the School of Science & Technology program designed to improve the STEM science education experience of elementary students, especially socioeconomically disadvantaged students in the greater Houston area. Read More...
With support from Toshiba, Rice will assist 165 teachers from 26 school districts, including one near the Toshiba Houston facility, with professional development science content enrichment and inquiry based teaching practices. This project provides classroom teachers with expert guidance on the material and how to communicate it to students.
Expected teacher outcomes include improved science content knowledge, increased use of best teaching practices, and improved teacher knowledge of engineering practices. Student outcomes include improved achievement in science, student attitudes towards science and knowledge of engineering open-ended authentic problem solving.
Strong support from the local school districts indicates unusual cooperation among administrators, teachers and a highly respected nearby university.
Ann Arbor Public Schools (Ann Arbor, MI)
Computer science students will participate in hands-on engineering work by designing and building LEGO Read More...
Mindstorm Robots. The project will be taken to another level by introducing JAVA programming to students rather than relying on the product standard.
Students will write, program, construct and run the robots progressing through the project by building successfully more complex robots. They will be programmed to perform various tasks, such as finding their way through a maze. They will then demonstrate their learned knowledge by participating in a competition at the end of the course. Students will also be required to document their work during the engineering and design process by keeping a journal.
The work is closely aligned with the new Next Generation National Science Standards which heavily emphasizes the engineering and design process that is so critical for success in the industry today.
Frederick High School (Frederick, MD)
With the planned introduction of a new Advanced Placement Biology Curriculum and its focus on the Next Generation of Science Standards, students will have the opportunity to practice science the way it is done in real-world laboratories and work environments while meeting state educational standards. Read More...
The focus of this program is on exploring and implementing concepts of genomics, with a particular emphasis on proteomics and the role of proteins in all areas of biology. In this year-long biology course, students will explore proteomics in three different areas of biology that address current issues and challenges in the world; biofuel, genetic modification of food and species classification.
Students will use hands-on inquiry based learning that connects scientific concepts and focuses on the principles of STEM learning.
Henry Kaiser High School (Honolulu, HI)
This is an expansion of a successful "Got Heart" project that was completed last year. Read More...
The main focus is to educate students about how sedentary lifestyles contribute to the prevalence of obesity and to demonstrate how fitness can help change lifestyles to be heart healthy. It is an interdisciplinary fitness movement within the school that will include about one-third of the school's students. Students will incorporate a personal fitness plan and ultimately take the message to the surrounding community, one that has a high obesity rate among its population.
The learning sequence is primarily learning about the heart in Biology class through use of different types of monitors and sensors, completing graphs based on collected data and researching various fitness tests to gauge one's heart health. This will be followed by learning about different fitness components in physical education class like cardiovascular endurance and training throughout the semester to increase heart health. Hopefully, students will make a lifelong commitment to an active lifestyle.
Technology High School (Rohnert Park, CA)
The project is an excellent hands-on approach to teaching thermodynamics to a broad range of students. Read More...
It is an extension of the sophomore science and engineering curriculum and engineering project development for senior engineering students. Students will design a desalination unit using photovoltaic and hydrogen fuel cell technology that can be used in rural areas with marginal water quality or polluted sources. Solar cells will be used as the primary energy source with safe hydrogen fuel storage.
Thermodynamics usually requires calculus at the upper university level but the intuitive approach being used in this project is amenable to beginning Algebra and for advanced mathematics students, the knowledge of basic gas law and Chemistry.
The project will be executed in phases with seniors being trained in the underlying science through lecture, lab work and investigation. They will then organize and supervise lower level students in project planning, scheduling, development and documentation. The water purification systems serve as a focus for world-wide water issues and as a source for fuel cells.
Patapsco Middle School (Ellicott City, MD)
With the implementation of a "Digital Science" project, students will be able to conduct their own independent research using probe ware to take their investigations to a higher level. Read More...
They will be exposed to a greater variety of scientific data-collecting instruments and will see a real world connection between math and science as they improve their data collection, graphing and data analysis skills. One project includes investigating the effects of precipitation on the health of the Chesapeake Bay and local streams by obtaining data on turbidity, salinity and pH. Another project looks at the effects of road salts during icy or snowy conditions to see if precipitation washes the salts into the local streams and bay.