Public Discussion

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    Dean Livelybrooks

    Guest
    May 11, 2015 | 01:22 p.m.

    I’m wondering how teachers are supported during the school year when they lead SLED lessons for students? Is this support institutionalized? Also, are participating districts local to Purdue, or are remote districts also included? If so, how?

  • Icon for: James Lehman

    James Lehman

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 02:32 p.m.

    Support for teachers typically comes through a combination of peer assistance and support from the SLED project team. In nearly all cases, there are multiple teachers within a school building who have been through the SLED professional development, and so the teachers often work together and support one another during implementation. In addition, when they first start with engineering design, it has been pretty common for members of the team to visit classrooms and provide some assistance. In some cases, our faculty curriculum design teams have gone into schools to help teachers to implement design tasks for the first time. We also provide electronic resources via our sledhub.org site. While most of our partner schools are close by, some are remote. We’ve relied mainly on strong teachers within the remote district to provide assistance because we have not been able to provide as much face-to-face assistance as with the local districts.

  • Icon for: Jessica Hunt

    Jessica Hunt

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 01:57 p.m.

    I noticed that you describe a process where teachers are given experiences with design based tasks in professional development and plan for their implementation with students. I am wondering what challenges, if any, that you notice teachers experiencing as they move into utilizing the planned activities with children in the classroom? Are there any mechanisms that you have found helpful in supporting teachers to overcome the challenges? I also would love to hear more about any supports (i.e., ideas for facilitation, questioning, samples of what children may do in the activities, etc.) given to teachers within the professional development in terms of their instructional planning.

  • Icon for: James Lehman

    James Lehman

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 03:00 p.m.

    You might want to take a look at a recent publication that resulted from the project: Capobianco, B. & Rupp, M. (2014). STEM Teachers’ Planned and Enacted Attempts at Implementing Engineering Design-based Instruction. School Science and Mathematics, 114(6), 258-270. We have found that teachers tend to spend more of their time on the early phases of the design process, and when enacting their design lessons they often fail to give sufficient attention to the key science concepts that are integral to the design activity. While we have not identified specific mechanisms that seem to help teachers to overcome these challenges, when looking at teachers’ performance over time, we see that their performance and the degree to which their practices align with what might be considered effective engineering design practices tends to improve. In other words, as teachers do design-based activities in the classroom, they get better at it. The engineering design-based curricular materials that we have created provide a lot of guidance for teachers in terms of thinking about the concepts and how students might approach the tasks. We also provide teachers with a simple model of the engineering design process, and we provide them with examples of questions that they can use with students in different phases of the design process. For examples, please see our website at sledhub.org.

  • Icon for: Jessica Hunt

    Jessica Hunt

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 04:01 p.m.

    Thank you! I will take a look at these resources.

  • Icon for: Neil Plotnick

    Neil Plotnick

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 01:58 p.m.

    In what ways do you provide a mechanism for teachers to share curriculum ideas with each other once the school term has begun? I can imagine that some teachers can and will discover some very engaging lessons that others would want to emulate. Do you provide detailed lessons that include material lists and suggested assessments in a number of areas?

  • Icon for: James Lehman

    James Lehman

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 03:08 p.m.

    We have several mechanisms for supporting teacher sharing. We have offered follow-up sessions during the school year when teachers can come together to talk about what is working and where they might be struggling. We publish a newsletter twice each year with updates from the field. We ask teachers to complete reflections on a design activity twice each year, and these reflections are uploaded to our sledhub.org site where, we have learned, other teachers often view them to get ideas. We also have veteran SLED teachers talk with new teachers during the teacher professional development summer institute to describe how they have modified or customized the activities to make them “their own.” Our curricular materials do contain a lot of different resource, including lists of materials, background information about key concepts, suggested activities, etc. Visit our website at https://stemedhub.org/groups/sled/design_resources to access the units that have been developed.

  • Icon for: Joseph (Joe) Gardella

    Joseph (Joe) Gardella

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 04:47 p.m.

    I’ve been following the fine work linking service learning and engineering design at Purdue for many years. It’s nice to see it translated to teacher PD, as we in Buffalo (ISEP, targeted MSP, http://isep.buffalo.edu) do something similar, but not as focused on engineering design. But your works in lower grades than we deal with make this relevant. I have no real questions, love your work and admire it. Will look forward to gaining access to your publications.

  • Icon for: James Lehman

    James Lehman

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 08:49 a.m.

    Thank you for your comments and interest Joe. We will check out your site. It has been an interesting challenge trying to bring engineering design to the elementary grades. We started in grades 5-6, where things went fairly smoothly. When we added grades 3-4 it became harder, both because the students’ cognitive and psychomotor development is not as good and because the amount of time allocated for science in the school curriculum is minimal. But, that has been balanced by a very enthusiastic group of teachers who have really embraced what we’re trying to do.

  • Icon for: Stephanie Teasley

    Stephanie Teasley

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 08:39 p.m.

    This looks like an exciting project that is having impact in the classroom by helping teachers learn how to effectively engage students in engineering design. Great that you support professional development as well as design curriculum. I see from the comments above that you have been thoughtful about supporting teachers after their summer training is complete. Nice job!

  • Icon for: James Lehman

    James Lehman

    Presenter
    May 15, 2015 | 08:49 a.m.

    Thanks for the comments Stephanie.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.

  1. James Lehman
  2. http://www.edci.purdue.edu/faculty_profiles/lehman/index.html
  3. Professor and Associate Dean
  4. SLED Project
  5. https://stemedhub.org/groups/sled
  6. Purdue University
  1. Brenda Capobianco
  2. SLED Project
  3. https://stemedhub.org/groups/sled
  4. Purdue University
  1. Todd Kelley
  2. SLED Project
  3. https://stemedhub.org/groups/sled
  4. Purdue University

Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED)
NSF Award #: 0962840

Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) is a targeted Math Science Partnership (MSP) project of Purdue University and partner school districts in Indiana. The goal of the SLED partnership is to improve science learning in grades 3-6 through the integration of an engineering design-based approach to science learning in the targeted grades. The project involves three interrelated strands: (1) professional development to prepare teachers and prospective teachers to utilize engineering design as a way to teach inquiry-based science in the classroom, (2) adaption and creation of curricular materials that support the teaching of elementary science through design, and (3) collection of evidence of outcomes that contributes to a better understanding of how teachers teach using design and how students learn science through design-based activities. The partnership involves teachers and administrators in the participating schools, teacher educators, university scientists and engineers, and community partners all working together to improve students’ learning.