Breakout Descriptions

Collaborating with Pen-Based Computers with Digital Ink and Digital Writing Pads

Eric Hamilton, Professor of Education, Pepperdine University

This breakout session will give participants the opportunity to use both pen-based computers with digital ink and digital writing pads in a way that allows teachers and students to see each other’s work in mathematics and science classrooms. This permits fast feedback, anonymous question asking, authentic engagement of all students in the classroom, and the ability for teachers to size up how well individual students and the whole class are understanding and applying new concepts. This approach is a sort of “scaffolding on steroids” that stimulates increased active learning, but also requires deeper and more informed active teaching. It is both learner-centered and teacher-centered, in that it gives the teacher clear “sightlines” into how effectively students are learning. This approach is referred to as shared screen collaboration. Studies on this approach involves its use in flipped classroom settings, and related areas of active learning research, including “participatory teaching” by which teachers and students work together to plan lessons, and develop and curate videos, and the use of “natural language agents” or software that answers common questions in a topic area, freeing the teacher to focus on more complex teaching.


Making Mathematical Arguments Together

Jennifer Knudsen, Senior Mathematics Educator, SRI International

In this session, we’ll make mathematical arguments together and do warm-up improv activities, engaging both mind and body in developing an important high-level disciplinary practice. This esoteric-seeming practice engages students actively in finding mathematical truths for themselves—and they have fun while doing it. I’ll introduce Bridging Professional Development, the context in which these activities were developed, and share some of our research. Our project focuses on middle school mathematics, but I welcome teachers of other levels and subjects.


Developing and Testing a Model to Support Student Understanding of the Sub- Microscopic Interactions that Govern Biological and Chemical Processes

Joseph Krajcik, Professor of Science Education, Michigan State University
NSF award # 1232388

In this session, participants will experience some of the phenomena used in the Interactions curriculum and build models to explain the phenomena. Interactions is an NGSS aligned curriculum designed to support high school physical science students in developing an understanding of the forces and energy involved in atomic and molecular interactions. Teachers can use the year-long curriculum in a physical science class, or can embed Interactions activities into a chemistry or physics class. Students can use Interactions as a paper-pencil curriculum, with the teacher facilitating web-based simulation activities on a classroom computer, or students can use the materials completely online in classrooms where students have personal computers or tablets. In particular, students will:

  • Develop and use models of interactions at the atomic molecular scale to explain observed phenomena.
  • Develop a model of the flow of energy and cycles of matter for phenomena at macroscopic and sub-microscopic scales.

Interactions helps students build a foundation that prepares them to explain and make predictions about important phenomena in all science disciplines.
The materials were designed by Michigan State University’s CREATE for STEM Institute and the Concord Consortium, and are freely available.


Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with All Students, Including English Learners

Okhee Lee, Professor of Childhood Education, New York University

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) offer a vision of academic rigor through science and engineering across K-12. As these standards offer both learning opportunities and demands, educators must make instructional shifts to achieve the vision. The session will highlight the NGSS instructional shifts that promote opportunities for language learning for all students, especially English learners. The session will also highlight what educators can do to ensure that the NGSS are accessible to all students. Elementary science instruction will be the focus.


Mathematical Modeling and Engineering Problem Scoping: Integration to Engage Learners in Meaningful Problem Solving Skills

Tamara Moore, Associate Professor, Purdue University

Learn how to set up mathematical modeling problems to engage students in problem scoping so that their problem solving sessions are more meaningful. In this session, participants will work in small groups to do some simple problem scoping with the client in order to develop a mathematical model that solves a mathematically-rich problem. When students have the opportunity to engage with a client in problem scoping, they are more invested in the problem at hand. The frameworks that are used to develop such problems will be presented, and participants will be provided access to a set of mathematical modeling problems that integrate science and engineering. While this session will primarily focus on mathematics content, teachers who want to know more about engineering practices may also find the content useful.


Exploring Circuits through Constructing eCards

Nichole Pinkard, Associate Professor, DePaul University

Learn how an educator can introduce technology as a creative part of classroom curriculum. Participants will receive an introduction to the maker movement through the process of designing and constructing an e-greeting card that is activated through the creation a working circuit using copper tape and LEDs. Participants will use conductive materials and paper products to engage in hands-on understanding of circuitry through the active construction of creative products. Participants will gain skills in simple circuitry using LEDs, copper tape and 3V batteries.


Active learning methods? Let me count the ways!

David Webb, Associate Professor, University of Colorado Boulder

Come join us as we tackle a “computational thinking-unplugged” task that can be modified for all classroom subjects! For the past eight years we have worked to find ways to integrate computational thinking into K-12 classrooms. From game design to modeling real-world scenarios, we work with elementary, middle and high school teachers across the United States to engage students in inquiry-based, computational thinking, STEM activities. We take students from PacMan to Zombie Apocalypse and eventually to a realistic Contagion model, where we support computational thinking through literacy, mathematical topics, and science simulations. Our research finds, not surprisingly, that teaching matters. Instructional approaches adopted by teachers can have significant influence on students’ motivation to pursue similar activities in the future. Design principles for active learning are at the heart of this work and these findings. You will take an active role in problem solving one of these scenarios as we exemplify several of these design principles for STEM education, and learn how we used these principles to inform the design and use of instructional activities.