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  1. Strong, equitable research practice partnerships (RPPs) center both researcher and practitioner perspectives and priorities. These RPPs facilitate rigorous, relevant research that practitioners can use to improve program implementation. Our project, The Maker Partnership, is an RPP focused on building knowledge about how to help elementary level teachers integrate computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) into their regular science classes using maker pedagogy. In this experience report, we use the Henrich et al. framework to assess the Maker Partnership’s effectiveness along five dimensions and share practical advice and lessons learned. This paper contributes to the CS and RPP literature by providing insight into how an RPP can address critical problems of practice in computer science education.
  2. The Maker Partnership Program (MPP) is an NSF-supported project that addresses the critical need for models of professional development (PD) and support that help elementary-level science teachers integrate computer science and computational thinking (CS and CT) into their classroom practices. The MPP aims to foster integration of these disciplines through maker pedagogy and curriculum. The MPP was designed as a research-practice partnership that allows researchers and practitioners to collaborate and iteratively design, implement and test the PD and curriculum. This paper describes the key elements of the MPP and early findings from surveys of teachers and students participating in the program. Our research focuses on learning how to develop teachers’ capacity to integrate CS and CT into elementary-level science instruction; understanding whether and how this integrated instruction promotes deeper student learning of science, CS and CT, as well as interest and engagement in these subjects; and exploring how the model may need to be adapted to fit local contexts. Participating teachers reported gaining knowledge and confidence for implementing the maker curriculum through the PDs. They anticipated that the greatest implementation challenges would be lack of preparation time, inaccessible computer hardware, lack of administrative support, and a lack of CS knowledge.more »Student survey results show that most participants were interested in CS and science at the beginning of the program. Student responses to questions about their disposition toward collaboration and persistence suggest some room for growth. Student responses to questions about who does CS are consistent with prevalent gender stereotypes (e.g., boys are naturally better than girls at computer programming), particularly among boys.« less