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Creators/Authors contains: "McAlister, Anne M."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. In this study, we examine the reported beliefs of two elementary science teachers who co-taught a four-week engineering project in which students used a computational model to design engineering solutions to reduce water runoff at their school (Lilly et al., 2020). Specifically, we explore the beliefs that elementary science teachers report while enacting an engineering project in two different classroom contexts and how they report that their beliefs may have affected instructional decisions. Classroom contexts included one general class with a larger proportion of students in advanced mathematics and one inclusive class with a larger proportion of students with individualized educational programs. During project implementation, we collected daily surveys and weekly interviews to consider teachers’ beliefs of the class sections, classroom activities, and curriculum. Two researchers performed a thematic analysis of the surveys and interviews to code reflections on teachers’ perceived differences between students in the class sections and their experiences teaching engineering in the class sections. Results suggest that teachers’ beliefs about students in these two different classroom contexts may have influenced opportunities that students had to understand and engage in disciplinary practices. The teachers reported making changes to activities based on their perceptions of student understanding and engagementmore »and to save time which led to different experiences for students in each class section, specifically a more teacher-centered implementation for the inclusive class. Teachers also suggested specific professional development and educative supports to help teachers to support all students to engage in engineering tasks. Thus, it is important to understand teachers’ beliefs to build support for teachers in their implementation of engineering projects that meet the needs of their students and ensure that students have access and support to engage in engineering practices.« less
  3. While national frameworks call for the integration of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science (STEM+CS) in K-12 contexts, few studies consider elementary teachers’ perceptions of implementing STEM+CS projects in science classrooms. This single case study explores elementary science teachers’ perceptions of enacting STEM+CS curricular materials. Survey and interview data were collected over the four-week project and qualitatively coded. Findings demonstrate teachers’ reported struggles to implement unfamiliar disciplines and leverage students’ prior knowledge in familiar disciplines as well as unanticipated consequences of instructional decisions based on perceived student engagement and pacing. Results underscore the value of teacher voice for curricular and professional development and highlight the need for further investigation of how teachers’ perceptions may influence enactment of STEM+CS curricular materials.
  4. Recent science education reforms, as described in the Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012), call for three-dimensional learning that engages students in scientific practices and the use of scientific lenses to learn science content. However, relatively little research at any grade level has focused on how students develop this kind of three-dimensional knowledge that includes crosscutting concepts. This paper aims to contribute to a growing knowledge base that describes how to engage students in three-dimensional learning by exploring to what extent elementary students represent the crosscutting concept systems and system models when engaged in the practice developing and using models as part of an NGSS-aligned curriculum unit. This paper answers the questions: How do students represent elements of crosscutting concepts in conceptual models of water systems? How do students’ representations of crosscutting concepts change related to different task-based scaffolds? To analyze students’ models, we developed and applied a descriptive coding scheme to describe how the students illustrated the flow of water. The results show important differences in how students represented system elements across models. Findings provide insight for the kinds of support that students might need in order to move towards the development of three-dimensional understandings of science content.