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Master of Education in Advanced Teaching (M.Ed.)

EDUC 5272 Advanced Practices for Teaching the STEM Fields at the Elementary and Middle School Levels

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EDUC5272: Advanced Practices for Teaching the STEM Fields at the Elementary and Middle School Levels

Credits: 3

Prerequisites:   EDUC 5270

Course Description:

This course focuses on the mathematical and scientific concepts taught in the elementary and middle school, with an emphasis on research on the teaching and learning of mathematics and the theoretical and empirical foundations of the teaching and learning of science.  Attention will be given to how students acquire mathematical understandings and to how different groups experience mathematics instruction.  Methods for teaching the scientific method, doing laboratory work as inquiry-based learning, and exploring the relationship of science, technology and society will be discussed.  Use of technology in teaching discrete areas of science (life, physical, earth) as well as in an integrated science approach will be covered.

Required Textbook and Materials: UoPeople courses use open educational resources (OER) and other materials specifically donated to the University with free permissions for educational use. Therefore, students are not required to purchase any textbooks or sign up for any websites that have a cost associated with them. The main required textbooks for this course are listed below, and can be readily accessed using the provided links. There may be additional required/recommended readings, supplemental materials, or other resources and websites necessary for lessons; these will be provided for you in the course's General Information and Forums area, and throughout the term via the weekly course Unit areas and the Learning Guides.

  • This course does not contain a main textbook; resources to all required reading will be provided in the course Learning Guide for each week.

To access the LIRN resources you must log in to Moodle and access the Library and Information Resource Network (LIRN) located under the Resources link on the Home page. Click on the Alphabetical View tab at the top of the page and scroll down to the database where the resource is located (eBook Central, ERIC, Gale, etc). Copy and paste the title of the resource into the search bar. A link to the resource will appear. If you have any problems please contact library@uopeople.edu.

Software Requirements/Installation: No special requirements.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes:

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. Analyze ways in which the developmental needs of students and the classroom environment impact mathematics and science learning.
  2. Apply research-based curriculum, assessment, and differentiated instruction to a diverse elementary and middle school mathematics and science classroom environment.
  3. Analyzes the advantages of using a developmentally appropriate, active learning approach for teaching STEM at various age levels.
  4. Apply a problem-solving, critical thinking, active learning, and the scientific method to teaching STEM.
  5. Integrate technology into mathematics, science, and engineering teaching and learning.
  6. Engage in ongoing development as a teacher of STEM.

Course Schedule and Topics: This course will cover the following topics in eight learning sessions, with one Unit per week.

Week 1: Unit 1 - Setting the Stage for Mathematics and Science Learning

Week 2: Unit 2 - Creating a Critical Thinking Frame for Learning

Week 3: Unit 3 - STEM Curriculum in Elementary and Middle Schools

Week 4: Unit 4 - Authentic Assessment of STEM Learning

Week 5: Unit 5 - STEM Instruction in Early Elementary School

Week 6: Unit 6 - STEM Instruction in Upper Elementary School

Week 7: Unit 7 - STEM Instruction in the Middle School

Week 8: Unit 8 - Developing as a STEM Professional

Learning Guide: The following is an outline of how this course will be conducted, with suggested best practices for studentsThe Learning Guides for all units open on the first day of class.  Please review all Learning Guides to access the readings, review assignments, etc. 

Unit 1: Setting the Stage for Mathematics and Science Learning

  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Complete the Reflective Portfolio Assignment

Reading Assignment

1. Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development (2015). Retrieved from https://www.psychologynoteshq.com/kohlbergstheory/ 

  • Kohlberg was influenced by Piaget and developed his theory of the way that children behave and learn.

2. Learning Theories (n.d.). Retrieved from www.learning-theories.com. This website contains a comprehensive collection of learning theories and models.

  • Investigate some of the theories and models that seem interesting to you that are detailed on this site.

3. McLeod, S. (2018). Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html

  • Although less well known than Piaget, Erickson also theorized about the stages through which children progress as they grow and learn.

4. Seifert, K., & Sutton, R. (2009). Educational psychology (2nd ed.). The Saylor Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Educational-Psychology.pdf 

  • Read chapter 2 (The Learning Process), chapter 3 (Student Development), and chapter 4 (Student Diversity). In these chapters, you will consider how knowledge of students’ developmental stages and diverse characteristics are a part of educating the whole child.                                                                                                 

5. Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Cognitive Development (2018). Retrieved from https://www.psychologynoteshq.com/vygotsky-theory/

  • Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist in the 1920s. His sociocultural theory suggests that learning is based on social interaction. Vygotsky’s work was largely kept in the Soviet Union after his death in the 1930s. His work became popular in the 1980s when it became more available to worldwide audiences.

Optional Video

6. Khan Academy Medicine (2013). Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development: Processing the Environment. Retrieved from 

  • In this video, you will learn about Piaget’s theory of how children develop and learn. Examples of children’s behaviors at various stages are given. (5:51)

Unit 2: Creating a Critical Thinking Frame for Learning

  • Peer assess Unit 1 Written Assignment
  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Complete the Reflective Portfolio Assignment

Reading Assignment

1. Adams, C. (2017). The 7 most important STEM skills we should be teaching our kids. Retrieved from https://www.weareteachers.com/important-stem-skills-teaching-kids/

  • The author interviewed STEM experts, who identified the most critical skills that students must learn in order to be successful in the future. The skills they identified support all four STEM content areas.

2. Bacolor, R., Peterman, T., Chowning, J., & Bell, P. (2015).  Why focus on science and engineering practices—and not “inquiry?” Why is “the scientific method” mistaken? STEM Teaching Tools, 32. Retrieved from http://stemteachingtools.org/assets/landscapes/STEM-Teaching-Tool-32-Practices-Not-Scientific-Method.pdf

  • This resource provides an alternative approach to the traditional scientific method. Read it, then compare and contrast the two approaches.

3. Foundation for Critical Thinking (2017). Critical Thinking: Where to Begin. Retrieved from  http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/critical-thinking-where-to-begin/796

  • The Foundation for Critical Thinking is an organization that provides a comprehensive website dedicated to developing critical thinking skills in individuals of all ages. There, you will gain a deep understanding of critical thinking – what it is, why we should develop it, and the dimensions of critical thinking. Review the information provided in the following links:
    • “For Elementary Teachers (Kindergarten-3rd grade)”
    • “For Elementary Teachers (Grades 4-6),” and “For Jr. High School Teachers”.
  • Each of these pages provides links to other critical thinking content – specifically related to teaching students in elementary and middle grades. You might also investigate the “Library” tab, as there are many interesting topics there, specifically “K-12 Instruction Strategies and Samples”.

4. Gilliam, M., Bouris, A., Hill, B., & Jagoda, P. (2016). The source: An alternate reality game to spark STEM interest and learning among underrepresented youth. Journal of STEM Education, 17(2), 14-20. Retrieved from https://www.jstem.org/jstem/index.php/JSTEM/article/view/2079/1750

  • Gaming is one way to develop critical thinking skills in students and to motivate them to solve problems in STEM areas. In this article, the authors described an alternate reality game that they developed to engage students who have traditionally been underrepresented in STEM fields.

5. Holmes, V. (2012). Depth of teachers’ knowledge: Frameworks for teachers’ knowledge of mathematics. Journal of STEM Education, 13(1), 55-71. Retrieved from http://www.jstem.org/index.php/JSTEM/article/view/1510/1414

  • As you think about the ways that students learn and develop higher-order thinking skills, you may also consider how teachers do the same. In this article, the author discusses seven teacher knowledge frameworks. She identifies frameworks specifically associated with mathematics; however, as you read, consider how they might also apply to the engineering, technology, and science knowledge bases of teachers.

7. Kaldor, T. (2017). The T in STEM: Creating play-based experiences that support children’s learning of coding and higher-order thinking. Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/resources/blog/creating-play-based-experiences.

  • In this article, the author suggests hands-on, engaging learning activities in which young children can engage that will help them develop higher-order thinking skills and prepare them for coding in the future.

8. Katsioloudis, P. (2015). Aligning technology education teaching with brain development. Journal of STEM Education, 16(2). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/54cd/4644c112443577428518a154ac509f831440.pdf

  • In this article, the author examines several different cognitive theories. After a discussion of brain development in a child’s elementary school years, the author advocates for learning about and using technology at an early age, in order to take advantage of students’ cognitive development.

9. Lange, S. (2014). Strategies to promote critical thinking in elementary school. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/news-events/p21blog/1435-strategies-to-promote-critical-thinking-in-the-elementary-classroom.

  • This resource provides teachers with specific strategies for enhancing their students’ critical thinking skills. The author emphasizes moving to a non-traditional, active learning approach to instruction.

10. McDougal, T., & Takahashi, A. (2014). Teaching mathematics through problem-solving. Retrieved from https://www.nais.org/magazine/independent-teacher/fall-2014/teaching-mathematics-through-problem-solving/.

  • In this article, the authors offer examples of ways to teach mathematics through a problem-solving approach – one in which the students lead in the process of solving problems, rather than the teacher directing the students in ways to problem-solve.

11. Moaveni, S., & Chou, K.C. (2016). Using the five whys method in the classroom: How to turn students into problem solvers. Journal of STEM Education, 17(4), 35-41. Retrieved from https://www.jstem.org/jstem/index.php/JSTEM/article/download/2171/1817/

  • The Five Whys technique has long been used in engineering and industry to determine the root cause of a problem. In this article, the authors discuss the Five Whys technique and how it was used in undergraduate engineering classes to help the students become better problem-solvers. As you read, think about how the Five Whys could be implemented in your classroom in all STEM areas.

12. Sundararajan, N., Adesope, O., & Cavagnetto, A. (2018). The process of collaborative concept mapping in kindergarten and the effect on critical thinking skills. Journal of STEM Education, 19(1), 5-13.  Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/90d3/5b209573c9247f0a5a383efeafb6c6129c10.pdf?_ga=2.27634172.1922241973.1576356434-1586767829.1576356434

  • Some teachers think that young children are not able to think critically and engage in logical reasoning. In this study, the authors investigated the use of concept mapping in kindergarten as an instructional strategy in science and mathematics.

13. Science Buddies (n.d.). What is the scientific method? Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/steps-of-the-scientific-method.

  • Read about the scientific method – a traditional approach to learning in the sciences. The model on this resource is appropriate for approaching STEM subjects in a problem-solving way.

Optional Video

1. Hyman, D. (2015). What happens when classrooms meet higher-order thinking? Retrieved from . (12:08)

  • Educator Dylan Hyman discusses the transformative power of small changes that teachers can make to engage students in higher-order thinking activities.

Unit 3: STEM Curriculum in Elementary and Middle Schools

  • Peer assess Unit 2 Written Assignment
  • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
  • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
  • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
  • Begin and participate in the Group Activity (Due Unit 7)

Reading Assignment

1. Achieve (2013). Next Generation Science Standards. Retrieved from http://www.nextgenscience.org/understanding-standards/understanding-standards

  • The Next Generation Science Standards were released in 2013 in the United States. The science curriculum includes traditional science areas such as earth science and life science but also includes engineering content as well.
  • Read:
    • How to Read the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • Topic Arrangements of the Next Generation Science Standards
    • Why Standards Matter
    • NGSS Fact Sheet
  • Explore the search function that you can use to explore science standards and topics in various grade levels.

2. Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (n.d.). Improving STEM Curriculum and Instruction: Engaging Students and Raising Standards. Retrieved from https://successfulstemeducation.org/resources/improving-stem-curriculum-and-instruction-engaging-students-and-raising-standards

  • In this article, research and promising practices in STEM are described, specifically related to curriculum and instruction.

3. International Society for Technology in Education (n.d.). ISTE Standards. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards

  • First, explore the standards for students. There, you will learn about the 7 ways that students become empowered by using technology. Be sure to click on the “View Indicators” tab for each, so that you understand the components of each. Then, explore the standards for educators in the same way.

4. Krajcik, J., & Ibrahim, D. (2017). How to support learners in developing usable and lasting knowledge of STEM. International Journal of Mathematics, 5(1), 21-28. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1124938.pdf

  • In this article, the authors emphasize the importance of design in engineering learning at the K-12 levels. They present a framework for incorporating design into science and engineering content.

    5. National Governors Association (2010). Standards for Mathematical Practice. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Practice/

    • This website contains the Common Core State Standards’ math curriculum. Familiarize yourself with the standards by reading the Introduction, then investigating the standards in grades K through 8.

    6. Pearson, G., & Schweingruber, H. (2014). STEM Integration in K-12 Education: Status, prospects, and an agenda for research. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Retrieved from  https://www.nap.edu/read/18612/chapter/1

    • This resource can be downloaded as a guest. You may need to submit your email address and agree to terms and services.
    • Read chapter 1, Introduction, pages 13-30.  In this chapter, the authors provide a historical view of STEM education and present a case for an integrated approach to STEM curriculum and instruction.
    • Read chapter 2, A Descriptive Framework for Integrated STEM Education¸ pages 31-50. This chapter details four primary features of integrated STEM education: (a) goals, (b) outcomes, (c) nature and scope of integration, and (d) implementation.

    7. Pinnell, M., Rowly, J., Preiss, S., Franco, S., Blust, R., & Beach, R. (2013). Bridging the gap between engineering design and PK-12 curriculum development through the use of the STEM Education Quality Framework. Journal of STEM Education, 14(4), 28-35. Retrieved from https://www.jstem.org/jstem/index.php/JSTEM/article/download/1804/1562/

    • In this article, the authors detail a partnership between a university’s department of education and a school of engineering and a regional STEM center. Individuals from these areas collaborated to write a STEM curriculum that focused on engineering design and innovation, and engineering faculty-mentored teachers through learning about engineering and design through hands-on, engaging activities.

    Optional Videos

    1. Achieve (2013). Next Generation Science Standards. Retrieved from http://www.nextgenscience.org/understanding-standards/understanding-standards

      • How to Read the Next Generation Science Standards (6:51)            
      • Next Generation Science Standards (2:27)

    Unit 4: Authentic Assessment of STEM Learning

    • Peer assess Unit 3 Written Assignment
    • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
    • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
    • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
    • Continue to participate in the Group Activity
    • Complete the Reflective Portfolio Assignment

    Reading Assignment

    1. Bell, P., Van Horne, K., Penuel, B., & Stromholt, S. (2016). How can assessments be designed to engage students in the range of science and engineering practices? Retrieved from http://stemteachingtools.org/brief/26

    • In this reading, the authors suggest that students need multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning and that the tasks should be complex and contain several components. They offer recommendations for developing assessment tasks for students in science and engineering.

    2. Brualdi, A. (2000). Implementing performance assessment in the classroom. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/classroom-leadership/feb2000/Implementing-Performance-Assessment-in-the-Classroom.aspx

    • In this article, the author describes the steps for using performance assessment in K-12 classrooms. She includes strategies for providing feedback in either a narrative way or through a grade.

    3. Darling-Hammond, L. (2014). Next generation assessment: Moving beyond the bubble test to support 21st-century learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from eBook Central (accessed through LIRN),

    • Chapter 1: Beyond the Bubble Test: How Performance Assessment Can Support Deeper Learning (p. 1-14). In this chapter, the author provides a historical view of testing and describes the influence that testing has had on student learning. An initial discussion of performance assessment is provided, along with several examples.
    • Chapter 2: Defining Performance Assessment (pages 15-29). Performance assessment allows teachers to assess higher-order thinking skills (application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation), whereas traditional assessments focus on lower-level thinking (knowledge and comprehension). Performance assessment has become such an important part of teaching and learning that high-stakes tests have now begun to include constructed-response tasks as a portion of the assessment. Performance tasks are thoroughly discussed in this chapter, including samples from high-stakes assessments.
    • Chapter 3: Experiences with Performance Assessment in the United States and Abroad (pages 31-41). Testing in several states and countries have begun to include performance assessment as an important part of their testing process. Examples of performance assessments in Finland, Australia, and Singapore highlight STEM areas.
    • Chapter 4: How Performance Assessment Can Support Student and Teacher Learning (pages 43-55). In this chapter, the author explains how assessments can structure learning opportunities for students and teachers alike. The ways that assessments illuminate student thinking and support teaching of deeper learning skills are discussed, along with how performance assessment creates a culture of inquiry in schools.
    • Chapter 5: Meeting the challenges of performance assessments (pages 57-74). Moving from a primarily traditional style of assessment to authentic, performance-based assessment is not without challenges. The author discusses the challenges involved in this shift, including reliability and validity of assessment through task development, field testing the task, and standardizing scoring. Fairness of performance assessment is also considered, specifically as it relates to diverse learners, such as those who are learning English.

    4. Developing Rubrics (n.d.). Retrieved from https://assess.pages.tcnj.edu/files/2011/06/Developing-Rubrics.pdf.

    • Rubrics are guides that teachers use to assess student learning as evidenced through a performance or product. In this document, foundational information about rubrics is offered, including the two types of rubrics and how to write them. At the end of the document, there are many other resources related to rubrics.

    5. Gale, J., Koval, J., Wind, S., Ryan, M., & Usselman, M. (2016). Exploring student understanding of force and motion using a simulation-based performance assessment. Journal of Research in STEM Education, 2(1), 39-58. Retrieved from http://j-stem.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/gale.pdf

    • In this article, the authors described the effectiveness of a simulation-based performance assessment in physical science, using an engineering curriculum.

    6. Mueller, J. (2016). Authentic Assessment Toolbox. Retrieved from http://jfmueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/toolbox/index.htm

    • This website provides a guide for creating authentic, engaging learning tasks and ways to assess student learning through them. STEM fields quite naturally lend themselves to hands-on, performance learning, so authentic assessment is an appropriate form of measuring student learning. Click on each “bubble” (What is it?, Why do it?, How do you do it?, Standards, Tasks, etc.) to learn about authentic, performance-based assessment.

    7. Wees, D. (n.d.). 56 different ways to gather evidence of student achievement. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1nzhdnyMQmio5lNT75ITB45rHyLISHEEHZlHTWJRqLmQ/pub?slide=id.p.

    • This document is a presentation by David Wees, a formative assessment specialist. It contains 56 different types of small, formative assessments that can be used to determine student progress toward learning goals. 

    Unit 5: STEM Instruction in Early Elementary School

    • Peer assess Unit 4 Written Assignment
    • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
    • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
    • Continue to participate in the Group Activity
    • Complete and submit the Written Assignment

    Reading Assignment

    1. American Association for the Advancement of Science (2018). STEM activities and resources for K-12 teachers and students.  Retrieved from http://www.gk12.org/resources/stem-activities-and-resources-for-k-12-teachers-and-students/

    • This resource contains a collection of links for teachers and students – all related to STEM education and activities. You will find this list helpful as you consider creating STEM learning activities for elementary and middle school students.

    2. Becker, K., & Park, K. (2011). Effects of integrative approaches among science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects on students’ learning: A preliminary meta-analysis. Journal of STEM Education, 12(5), 23-37. Retrieved from https://www.jstem.org/jstem/index.php/JSTEM/article/download/1509/1394

    •  This article is a meta-analysis of the literature on integrating instruction in STEM subjects, and the effect that has on student learning. As you read, think about ways that you could integrate STEM topics to maximize student learning. You will be using an integrated approach in the instructional unit that you are developing in this course. 

    3. Boston Children’s Museum (n.d.) STEM sprouts: Science, technology, engineering, and math teaching guide. Retrieved from http://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/STEMGuide.pdf

    • This resource is a guide for teaching STEM to very young children, at the preschool level. One feature of this guide is a discussion of the importance of asking appropriate questions, primarily “what” questions that enhance children’s observational and communication skills. The guide contains many STEM-based activities that are easily incorporated into everyday classroom learning.

      4. McClure, E., Guernsey, L., & Ashbrook, P. (2017). Where’s Spot? Finding STEM opportunities for young children in moments of dramatic tension. American Educator, 41(3), 12-15. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1156381.pdf

      • The authors of this article detailed ways to incorporate STEM skills in everyday classroom activities, such as "read-alouds". This article may serve to inspire teachers to look for new ways to develop observation skills, prediction skills, and communication abilities through learning activities that they do every day in their instruction.

      5. Sneideman, J. (2013). Engaging children in STEM education EARLY! Retrieved from http://naturalstart.org/feature-stories/engaging-children-stem-education-early

      • In this article, the author offers strategies for engaging young children in STEM, specifically getting children outside into nature. There are several links related to studying nature as part of STEM education on this site.

      6. The Ultimate STEM Guide for Kids: 239 Cool Site About Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (2014). Retrieved from http://www.mastersindatascience.org/blog/the-ultimate-stem-guide-for-kids-239-cool-sites-about-science-technology-engineering-and-math/ 

      • This comprehensive resource contains STEM resources for K-12 students. The site has collections of websites, contests, awards, games and apps, career resources, contests, and camps for students, group by elementary level, middle school level, and high school level.

      Optional Resources

      These resources may be useful for completing Step 2 of the Group Activity.

      1. (n.d.), http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php

      • This website provides an online rubric generator.

      2. Wees, D., (n.d.) 56 different ways to gather evidence of student achievement. Licensed under Creative Commons Share-alike. Retrieve from https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1nzhdnyMQmio5lNT75ITB45rHyLISHEEHZlHTWJRqLmQ/pub?slide=id.p

      • This presentation provides ideas for different types of assessments. 

      Unit 6: STEM Instruction in Upper Elementary School

      • Peer assess Unit 5 Written Assignment
      • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
      • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
      • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
      • Continue to participate in the Group Activity
      • Complete the Reflective Portfolio Assignment

      Reading Assignment

      1. Camiling, M.K. (2017). The flipped classroom: Teaching the basic science process skills to high-performing 2nd grade students of Miriam College Lower School. IAFOR Journal of Education, 5, 213-227.  Retrieved from https://iafor.org/journal/iafor-journal-of-education/volume-5-special-issue/article-10/

      •   In this article, the authors present an excellent review of literature on flipped learning, including the four pillars on which it is built and the advantages and challenges of flipped classrooms. Little empirical research has been conducted in early elementary school classrooms, but the researchers in this article investigated flipped learning in science in a second-grade classroom. Students were grouped in control and experimental groups and the topic to be learned was basic science process skills. Using a pre-test/post-test design, the researchers learned that students in the flipped learning (experimental) group scored significantly higher than students in the traditional learning (control) group.

      2. Code.org: Elementary School (n.d.). Retrieved from https://code.org/educate/curriculum/elementary-school

      • This website contains beginning coding activities for students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Learning activities are contained within “courses” for students; each course contains lesson plans for teachers to use to teach beginning coding to students, from loops and events through functions and conditionals. Take some time in this unit to review some of the courses and lesson plans so that you can gain a good understanding of coding learning and instruction.

      3. Flipped Learning Network (n.d.). Flip learning. Retrieved from https://flippedlearning.org/category/how_to/

      • This website is a comprehensive collection of all things related to flipped learning. Read the “How To’s and Getting Started” and “F-L-I-P Pillars” sections located in the yellow navigation bar at the top of the page.Be sure to spend some time investigating other parts of the site that are interesting to you.

      4. Hour of Code Activities (n.d.). Retrieved from https://code.org/learn

      • This website contains hour-long tutorials designed for students from preschool through high school. Tutorials are in 45 languages. Coding activities can be sorted by content area topics, activity types (tutorials and lesson plans), length of activity, and the classroom technology to be used. Take some time in this unit to try out some of the elementary level coding tutorials.

      5. Hudson, P., English, L., King, D., & Baker, S. (2015). Exploring links between pedagogical knowledge practices and student outcomes in STEM education for primary schools. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40(6). Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2704&context=ajte

      • In this article, the authors detail a project in which year 4 students engaged in an integrated STEM unit. Specifically, they used math and science knowledge to complete a design project. The article demonstrates how a STEM unit may be planned and taught, the content knowledge that will be developed, and teaching skills required – including promoting problem-solving, guiding students through strong questioning, managing the classroom adequately, and assessing student learning.

      6. Kelly, D., & Denson, C. (2017). STEM teacher efficacy in flipped classrooms. Journal of STEM Education, 18(4), 43-50. Retrieved from https://jstem.org/index.php/JSTEM/article/view/2188/1884

      • The perceptions of flipped learning of STEM teachers from an innovative charter school were studied in this article. The school uses a flipped model of learning and also uses a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) approach, so students have access to technology at all times. Researchers learned that one of the main factors that challenge them in implementing flipped learning is time. Although they gain more time in the classroom by students doing some initial learning as homework, creating videos and finding online homework resources takes a good deal of time, particularly during a teacher’s first year doing flipped learning.

      7. Lin, J. (2016). How robotics is transforming STEM in elementary schools. Retrieved from http://www.gettingsmart.com/2016/01/how-robotics-is-transforming-stem-education-in-elementary-schools/

      • In this article, the author spotlights an elementary classroom in which the teacher incorporates robotics. She believes that robotics is an innovative platform that students can use to create; as elementary students are digital natives (they have never been without technology), they are not afraid or intimidated to try. This online article contains several links related to robotics in the classroom, robotics competition, and tips for teachers.

      8. Monson, D., & Besser, D. (2015). Smashing milk cartons: Third-grade students solve a real-world problem using the engineering design process, collaborative group work, and integrated STEM education. Science and Children, 52(9), 38-43. Retrieved from https://www.stthomas.edu/media/servicelearning/pdf/Monson4-30-15.pdf

      •  The authors of this article detail a collaborative project among a kindergarten teacher, a third-grade teacher, and a sixth-grade teacher. The project had the same overall theme, but the projects and skills were different at each grade level. Kindergarteners learned about engineering, composting, and individual composters. Third graders used the engineering design cycle to build machines to crush milk cartons. Sixth graders build a storage unit for the crushed milk cartons. All of the students learned the process through defining a problem, generating alternatives, developing and analyzing solutions, and creating/testing/improving options.

      9, Yuen, T.T., Boecking, M., Stone, J., Tiger, E., Gomez, A., Guillen, A., & Arreguin, A. (2014). Group tasks, activities, dynamics, and interactions in collaborative robotics projects with elementary and middle school children. Journal of STEM Education, 15(1), 39-45. Retrieved from https://www.jstem.org/jstem/index.php/JSTEM/article/download/1853/1585

      • In this article, the authors examined how elementary and middle school students collaborated together during a summer robotics camp. The researchers observed students in their robotics tasks and found that students were on-task for a significant part of the time, primarily due to the hands-on nature of the tasks they were given. They also learned that discussion among students in groups was a large part of the robotics project.  This informs STEM teaching by helping teachers determine effective ways to design collaborative projects for students. 

       Unit 7: STEM Instruction in the Middle School

      • Peer assess Unit 6 Written Assignment
      • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
      • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
      • Complete and submit the Written Assignment
      • Post finalized Group Activity 

      Reading Assignment

      1. Billiar, K., Hubelbank, J., Oliva, T., & Camesano, T. (2014). Teaching STEM by design. Advances in Engineering Education, 4(1). Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1076147.pdf

      • Developing and implementing engaging STEM learning opportunities is a challenge in the middle grades, as teachers are often faced with conflicting pedagogical objectives and time and content challenges. In this article, the authors promote the engineering design process as a way to develop K-12 STEM lessons. The authors collaborated with 15 middle school teachers to create STEM learning modules for students, and they describe how teachers can use the engineering design process to develop STEM units of instruction.

      2. Brown, P.L., Concannon, J.P., Marx, D., Donaldson, C.W., & Black, A. (2016). An examination of middle school students’ STEM self-efficacy with relation to interest and perceptions of STEM. Journal of STEM Education, 17(3), 27-38. Retrieved from  https://www.jstem.org/jstem/index.php/JSTEM/article/view/2137/1784

      • Promoting students’ engagement in STEM in the middle grades can affect their perception of STEM fields and ultimately, their decision to pursue further study in STEM areas later on. In this article, the researchers engaged 6th grade students in learning about space science and the solar system. They used a two-prong approach: virtual, synchronous online group work and hands-on, field-based work. There were differences in students’ responses before and after their experience, with the biggest increase in students’ perceptions of the usefulness of STEM.

      3.Burrows, A., Lockwood, M., Borowczak, M., Janak, E., & Barber, B. (2018). Integrated STEM: Focus on informal education and community collaboration through engineering. Educational Sciences, 8(4). doi: 10.3390/educsci8010004. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1174955.pdf

      • In this article, the researchers provided middle school female students with an open-ended, complex, community problem to solve. The authors learned that it is important to engage students in informal authentic science in order to promote STEM learning and to encourage community involvement in K-12 education. Of particular interest in this article is that all the participants were girls in middle school, as women have typically been underrepresented in STEM fields.

      4. Capraro, M.M., Whitfield, J.G., Etchells, M.J., & Capraro, R.M. (2016). A companion to interdisciplinary STEM project-based learning: For educators by educators (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Sense Publishers.  Retrieved from eBook Central  (accessed through LIRN).

      • This book contains examples of STEM instructional units.  The unit topics are problem-based and are organized in the areas of construction and design, water, environment, mixtures, technology, nutrition, and genetics. Take some time during this unit to review some of the instructional units. This will provide you with background information that will help you with this unit’s discussion and written assignment.

      5. Jolly, A. (2014). Engineer a great middle school STEM curriculum. Retrieved from  https://www.middleweb.com/13942/engineer-great-middle-school-stem-curriculum/

      • In this blog post, the author recommends eight things that teachers should consider when creating or a STEM curriculum in middle school.  Teachers would find these guidelines helpful both in creating and evaluating STEM instruction.

      6. Lyon, G.H., Jafri, J., & St. Louis, K. (2012). Beyond the pipeline: STEM pathways for youth development. Afterschool Matters, 16, 48-57. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ992152.pdf

      • In this article, the authors indicate that research suggests that students who are not engaged in meaningful STEM learning in the early grades (by middle school), they do not pursue STEM beyond the classes they are required to take in high school. The article details Project Exploration, an organization that is dedicated to engaging students from underrepresented groups in STEM (girls and students of color).

      7. Niehoff, M. (2018). 7 real-world issues that can allow students to tackle big challenges. Retrieved from http://www.gettingsmart.com/2018/03/7-real-world-projects-that-allow-students-to-tackle-big-problems/

      • In this online article, the author identifies seven real-world issues that lend themselves to STEM projects with students. For each identified issue, the author includes links for more information and examples.

      Optional Video

      1. San Marcos Unified School District (2016). STEM comes alive at San Marcos Middle School. Retrieved from(6:13)

      • In this video, teachers and students discuss the STEM approach used at San Marcos Middle School. One interesting component of the STEM approach at this school is the community support by adults in STEM fields, through visits and presentations by them into the middle school classrooms. As you watch this video, think about ways to engage individuals from the community into your STEM classroom. 

      Unit 8: Developing as a STEM Professional

      • Peer assess Unit 7 Written Assignment
      • Read the Learning Guide and Reading Assignments
      • Participate in the Discussion Assignment (post, comment, and rate in the Discussion Forum)
      • Complete the Reflective Portfolio Assignment
      • Complete and submit the anonymous Course Evaluation

      Reading Assignment

      1. Barchenger, C., & Peterman, T. (2015). Professional development that supports teacher learning about the new vision for science education. Retrieved from http://stemteachingtools.org/brief/13

      •  In this short practice brief, the authors make recommendations for effective professional development for teachers in regard to STEM. One of the areas they discuss is addressing the equity of learning for all students, including students with disabilities. The resource provides links to other professional development strategies and models.

      2. Ejiwale, J.A. (2013). Barriers to successful implementation of STEM education. Journal of Education and Learning, 7(2), 63-74. Retrieved from http://journal.uad.ac.id/index.php/EduLearn/article/view/220/pdf_2

      • In this article, the author examines ten barriers to successful STEM education in schools. Several of these have to do with the preparation and development of teachers.

      3. Fulton, K., & Britton, T. (2011). STEM Teachers in Professional Learning Communities: From Good Teachers to Great Teaching. Retrieved from https://www.wested.org/resources/stem-teachers-in-professional-learning-communities-from-good-teachers-to-great-teaching/

      • Professional learning communities (PLCs) are an increasingly common form of learning and collaboration for teachers. In this document, the authors synthesize the research on learning communities in STEM and they discuss the important characteristics and design of STEM learning teams. 

      4. Hall, P. (2017). Professional Development for STEM Educators. Retrieved from https://www.wested.org/online_pubs/resource1097.pdf

      • In this blog post, the author shares resources for online PD opportunities and STEM conferences for teachers.

      5. Koba, S., & Wojnowski, B. (Eds.) (2013). Exemplary science: Best practices in professional development (revised 2nd ed.). Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association. Retrieved from eBook Central (accessed through LIRN).

      • Read Chapter 1, “Less and More Emphases and Supporting Research for Professional Development,” pages 14-23. In this chapter, the editors of the book synthesize research that supports the professional learning of teachers, specifically in science, but applicable to all STEM areas. They detailed the characteristics of teaching and learning that should exemplify today’s classrooms.
      • Chapters 6-15 describe different models of professional development in STEM areas. Select two of these chapters to read, based on your interest in the professional development model described or based on a specific grade level (elementary school, middle school, etc.). This information will help inform your discussion for this unit.

      6. Nadelson, L. S., & Seifert, A. (2013). Perceptions, engagement, and practices of teachers seeking professional development in place-based integrated STEM. Teacher Education and Practice, 26, 242-263. Retrieved from eBook Central (accessed through LIRN).

      • Incorporating resources outside of the school classroom is an important part of making STEM instruction relevant to students. In this article, the authors described an intensive summer institute for STEM teachers, in which they investigated teachers’ perceptions and practices related to using community resources to enhance STEM learning.

      Course Requirements:

      Discussion Assignments & Response Posts/Ratings
      Some units in this course require that you complete a Discussion Assignment. You are required to develop and post a substantive response to the Discussion Assignment in the Discussion Forum. A substantive response is one that fully answers the question that has been posed by the instructor. In addition, you must extend the discussion by responding to at least three (3) of your peers’ postings in the Discussion Forum and by rating their posts. Instructions for proper posting and rating (out of a 10 point scale) are provided inside the Discussion Forum for each week. Discussion Forums are only active for each current and relevant learning week, so it is not possible to contribute to the forum once the learning week has come to an end. Failure to participate in the Discussion Assignment by posting in the Discussion Forum and responding to peers as required may result in failure of the course.

      Written Assignments & Assessment Forms
      Most units in this course require that you complete a Written Assignment, which may come in many forms (case study, research paper, etc.). You are required to submit your assignments by the indicated deadlines and, in addition, to peer assess three (3) of your classmates’ assignments according to the instructions found in the Assessment Form, which is provided to you during the following week. During this peer assessment period, you are expected to provide details in the feedback section of the Assessment Form, indicating why you awarded the grade that you did to your peer. Please note that each assignment grade is comprised of a combination of your submission (90%) and your peer assessments (10%). Failure to submit Written Assignments and/or Assessment Forms may result in failure of the course.

      Group Activities
      During this course, you will be required to complete work as part of a small group. Group work is an important component of your coursework, as it allows you to deepen relationships with classmates, and gain a more thorough understanding of the topics presented in this course. Further, group work mimics the business environment in which projects are often conducted in small teams across different departments. You will be randomly assigned to your groups and are expected to work with your teammates throughout the term for all group activities.

      Reflective Portfolio Activities
      Portfolio Activities are tools for self-reflection and evaluation within the context of the course. These activities are designed as a means to document and critically reflect upon your learning process. Activities you develop for this course will be kept in your Research and Practice Portfolio and will be important as you progress towards the final courses in your program, particularly the Advanced Practice and Capstone courses.  Ideally, you will draw from your coursework and experiences, as well as what you’ve learned in other courses, and your own current teaching practice to showcase your overall growth and examine ways in which you can continue to develop and sharpen your research interests and expand your cadre of instructional methods.

      The Research and Practice Portfolio 
      Throughout the M.Ed. Program, you will be building a portfolio of instructional strategies and materials, and acquiring knowledge and skills for advanced professional practice.  Students begin building their portfolio right from start.  It serves as a repository for research findings and sample units and lessons.  Students use it to archive ideas and resources related to instructional methods, classroom management, and assessment.  The portfolio supports your own self-reflection on changes that demonstrate growth in professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes that is part of the Capstone experience.    The component parts of the Research and Practice Portfolio include:

      • Reflective Portfolio Activities
      • Research
      • Teaching and Learning Resources

      Course Forum
      The Course Forum is the place to raise issues and questions relating to the course. It is regularly monitored by the instructors and is a good place to meet fellow students taking the same course. While it is not required to participate in the Course Forum, it is highly recommended.

      Course Policies:

      Grading Components and Weights
      Each graded component of the course will contribute some percentage to the final grading scale, as indicated here:

      Discussion Assignments  20%
      Written Assignments    30%
      Group Activities  25%
      Reflective Portfolio Activities  25%
      TOTAL 100%

      Grading Scale
      This course will follow the standard 100-point grading scale defined by the University of the People, as indicated here:

      Letter Grade
      Grade Scale Grade Points
      A+ 98-100 4.00
      A 93-97 4.00
      A- 90-92 3.67
      B+ 88-89 3.33
      B 83-87 3.00
      B- 80-82 2.67
      C+ 78-79 2.33
      C 73-77 2.00
      C- 70-72 0.00
      D+ 68-69 0.00
      D 63-67 0.00
      D- 60-62 0.00
      F Under 60 0.00
      CR N/A N/A
      NC N/A N/A
      NF N/A N/A
      W N/A N/A

      Grade Appeal

      If you believe that the final grade you received for a course is erroneous, unjust, or unfair, please contact your course instructor. This must be done within seven days of the posted final grade. For more information on this topic, please review the Grade Appeal Procedure in the University Catalog.

      Non-participation is characterized by lack of any assignment submissions, inadequate contributions to the Discussion Forums, and/or lack of peer feedback to Discussion/Written Assignments. Also, please note the following important points about course participation:

      • Assignments must be submitted on or before the specified deadline. A course timeline is provided in the course schedule, and the instructor will specify deadlines for each assignment.
      • Any student showing non-participation for two weeks (consecutive or non-consecutive) is likely to automatically fail the course.
      • Occasionally there may be a legitimate reason for submitting an assignment late. Most of the time, late assignments will not be accepted and there will be no make-up assignments.
      • All students are obligated to inform their instructor in advance of any known absences which may result in their non-participation.

      Academic Honesty and Integrity
      When you submit any work that requires research and writing, it is essential to cite and reference all source material. Failure to properly acknowledge your sources is known as “plagiarism” – which is effectively passing off an individual’s words or ideas as your own. University of the People adheres to a strict policy of academic honesty and integrity. Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in sanctions by the University, including dismissal from the University or course failure. For more information on this topic, please review the Academic Integrity Policy in the University Catalog.

      Any materials cited in this course should be referenced using the style guidelines established by the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA format is widely used in colleges and universities across the world and is one of several styles and citation formats required for publication in professional and academic journals. Purdue University’s Online Writing LAB (OWL) is a free website that provides excellent information and resources for understanding and using the APA format and style. The OWL website can be accessed here: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html

      Code of Conduct
      University of the People expects that students conduct themselves in a respectful, collaborative, and honest manner at all times. Harassment, threatening behavior, or deliberate embarrassment of others will not be permitted. Any conduct that interferes with the quality of the educational experience is not allowed and may result in disciplinary action, such as course failure, probation, suspension, or dismissal. For more information on this topic, please review the Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog.