1. John Pecore
  2. Professor
  4. University of West Florida, Institute for Biomedical Philosophy
  1. Melissa Demetrikopoulos
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/1Piu8IFNGNSk5/bibliography/40979939/public/?sort=date&direction=descending
  3. Chair; External Evaluator for Noyce and ITEST project
  5. Institute for Biomedical Philosophy, University of West Florida, Morehouse College

Educating STEM Majors to Teach in High-Need Schools

NSF Awards: 1660615

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)


UWF-Teach Noyce Scholars participate during their junior or senior years in a citizen education research project (i.e. lionfish prey, microplastics in water and marine life) to assist and prepare for working with high needs school districts. The citizen education project consists of a team of two UWF-Teach Noyce Scholars, a University Math or Science faculty member, and a middle or high school STEM teacher. The team spends 40 to 60 hours collaborating on the design of a project-based learning unit of instruction for the STEM teacher’s students. The team develops an investigatory protocol and associated lessons to build student knowledge and research skills. The first phase, conceptualization, piques student interest in the project and identifies prior knowledge through an entry event. The second phase of the unit involves instruction, where students build understanding and knowledge through focused instruction. The third phase, discussion, provides an opportunity for students to construct explanations, engage in argument from evidence, and communicate information. The final phase, evaluation, provides a mechanism for determining students’ conceptual understanding and identifying the proficiency of students' scientific practices. The citizen education projects are part of the UWF-Teach program, a collaboration between the Education and STEM departments at the University of West Florida (UWF), which recruits and develops highly qualified STEM teachers. The citizen education project provides UWF-Teach Noyce Scholars a basis for engaging their future grades 6-12 students. UWF-Teach Noyce Scholars will teach in high-needs schools thus broadening interest and participation of their students to pursue STEM careers.

This video has had approximately 607 visits by 484 visitors from 195 unique locations. It has been played 230 times.
activity map thumbnail Click to See Activity Worldwide
Map reflects activity with this presentation from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase website, as well as the STEM For All Multiplex website.
Based on periodically updated Google Analytics data. This is intended to show usage trends but may not capture all activity from every visitor.
show more
Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    May 4, 2020 | 05:23 p.m.

    Hi, I am John Pecore, Professor and Askew Institute Research Fellow at the University of West Florida.  My colleague, Dr. Demetrikopoulos, and I are facilitating this conversation about our video Noyce Scholars and Citizen Science.  Our NSF Robert F. Noyce funded project provides citizen science research projects for pre-service STEM teachers and undergraduate scholarships during students' junior and senior years with a commitment to completing the program and teaching in a high needs school district after graduation.  Our goal is to prepare future STEM teachers to provide citizen science projects for their middle and high school classrooms.  This video presents our collaborative project where University Faculty and grades 6-12 STEM teachers work with pre-service NOYCE scholars to develop and implement citizen science research projects in middle and high schools.  We look forward to hearing and answering your questions about preparing future STEM teachers that encourages participants to teach using projects in high needs schools.

    • What challenges and successes do teachers have with implimenting citizen science research projects?
    • What are your thoughts about novice teachers providing middle and high school students with opportunities to contribute to scientific research?
    • Have you encountered any concerns with data collected and analysis by middle and high school students?
    • Do citizen science research opportunities assist with recruiting and retaining STEM majors to teach in high needs schools?


  • Icon for: Hollylynne Lee

    Hollylynne Lee

    May 5, 2020 | 07:31 a.m.

    Great video really showcasing getting your preservice teachers involved in classrooms and in the field with students, teachers and campus researchers. In the video I was able to get a sense of the very careful attention to the protocols for data collection. This is so important and brings ideas of measurement, data quality, and data organization to the fore! I saw a glimpse of a spreadsheet and a poster that was used to communicate results from one of the projects.

    I'd love to learn more about the ways your Noyce scholars help students formulate a question at the beginning of a project, and then analyze their data and communicate their results for others to understand the importance of their citizen science project. Have you noticed any differences with these aspects between the middle and high school project teams?

  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 01:16 p.m.

    Thanks.  Noyce scholars work with the classroom teachers. Typically, they will first introduce the project like Bringing Back the Bayous.  They discuss some of the projects students have done in previous years and ideas for continuing projects or new ones.  Students will form small groups around their research projects and questions.  Instructors then work with student groups to review and refine data collection protocols.  I would encourage you to check out the website,  https://whs-ecsd-fl.schoolloop.com/MarineScienceAcademy, for one of our partner schools.

    One of our partner schools implements the Invasive Lionfish Project with a middle and high school. Students in both schools perform lionfish dissections and DNA extractions.  While the high school students complete the project from beginning to end, the middle school project teams stop after DNA extraction and the high school students complete the process for their samples. The Lionfish Project can be view on the PLI Modules webpage.

  • Icon for: Rachael Mady

    Rachael Mady

    Graduate Student
    May 5, 2020 | 03:43 p.m.

    Thanks for putting together this video to showcase your work. Watching it brought up a question my team has been reflecting on with our project -- do the students seem to enjoy or participate more enthusiastically in one part of the process compared to another? For example, do the students seem interested in asking their own questions or would they rather jump straight to data collection?

  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 11:48 a.m.

    Thanks Rachael.  We did not research engagement during the different stages of the project.  We did use a Likert scale survey to find that students’ view of the value of science to society, desire to do science, self- confidence in science, and perception of science teachers were high prior to the project and at the conclusion. Similarly, anxiety toward science was low both before and after the project.

  • Icon for: Ann Cavallo

    Ann Cavallo

    May 6, 2020 | 01:13 a.m.

    Have you been able to follow up on and determine outcomes on the students in the teachers classes? What has been found (even if informally)? Have you collected data on the many ways this program has perhaps transformed how teachers teach and/or view the nature of science? The interviews gave a great snapshot. Thanks!

  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 10:43 a.m.

    My colleague, Jeff Eble, and I published a paper “Invasive Aliens”: A Student Citizen-Science Activity Using DNA Barcoding to Investigate Concepts in Ecology & Molecular Biology in The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 81 No. 3, March 2019; (pp. 169-174) DOI: 10.1525/abt.2019.81.3.169. available at https://abt.ucpress.edu/content/81/3/169.abstract

    Some findings were:

    • Students extracted and amplified DNA from 360 lionfish prey with 60% (217 samples) resulting in high-quality DNA sequences. The remaining samples were either contaminated and unusable (37 samples) or failed to sequence (106 samples). Possible reasons why samples might not sequence include student error, PCR primer mismatch, and DNA degradation. Prey quality seemed to be an important factor in sequencing success as using only moderately digested prey items and freshly collected lionfish improved results.

      Results from a 14 question multiple choice pre/posttest showed a 9% gain in PCR understanding and 19% gain in invasive species. Knowledge of DNA remained high pre and post project.

      We did not administer the VNOS.


  • May 6, 2020 | 11:22 a.m.

    Dear Ann, 

    The Noyce Scholars, who are both STEM majors and obtaining their education credentials,  reported that participation in the citizen science project both increased their interest in teaching under-served students as well as increased their interest in teaching in high needs schools.  

  • Icon for: Ann Cavallo

    Ann Cavallo

    May 7, 2020 | 12:53 a.m.

    Thanks for your responses Melissa and John. The Scholars are clearly gaining great experience in this program.  I will look up your article in ABT, John! I look forward to learning more about the outcomes as this project progresses.

  • May 7, 2020 | 08:00 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing this project! How do your Noyce Scholars identify the citizen science projects that they get involved with? 

  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 11:27 a.m.

    Thanks for the question Barbara.
    Our Noyce project team reaches out to STEM faculty doing research that would make for good citizen science projects. We then share a short project description of possible projects to the Noyce Scholars.

  • May 7, 2020 | 03:04 p.m.

    Nice work, John and Melissa. I love the emphasis on forming identity as a scientists/mathematicians who teach. In relation to the results Melissa shared with Ann, why do you think participation in a citizen science project increased interest in teaching in a high-need school?

  • May 10, 2020 | 06:07 a.m.

    Dear Jennifer,

    Thanks for your interest in our project.  All of the scholars reported that the Noyce Program helped them to prepare for teaching in high-need schools and influenced how they thought about teaching in high needs schools.  The Citizen Science Project was ranked highly when they were asked to rank the various components of the Noyce Program in terms of increasing their interest in teaching under-served students as well as in teaching at high need schools.  The scholars experienced the citizen science project within high needs schools.  For some of the scholars, they had not previously considered what type of environment they wanted to teach in and reported that this exposure "helped persuade me to teach in a high needs school."  During the focus group they reported that their placements at high needs schools gave them the opportunity to "see students' needs" and to "think where I could be good."  One of the cooperating teachers reported that the citizen science project allowed the education students to experience a completely different aspect of the classroom that allowed them to "take science to  the next level where they are doing science with the students and tying it into community issues" as well as "seeing the potential for projects in their future classrooms".  

  • Icon for: Beth Sappe

    Beth Sappe

    May 7, 2020 | 04:19 p.m.

    I love the idea of pairing a professor, MS/HS teacher, and Noyce scholars. John, you asked about our thoughts providing middle and HS students with opportunities to contribute to scientific research. I believe that immersing yourself into the research is going to best prepare students for future STEM professions. How do you ensure the scientific research students are engaging with aligns to math and science skills that are grade appropriate for students?

  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 04:26 p.m.

    We purposefully select MS/HS teachers who teach subjects that are grade appropriate for the project.  The MS/HS teachers and Noyce Scholars work together to align STEM skills and specific content in the curriculum to the citizen science project.

  • May 8, 2020 | 09:22 a.m.

    This is a great project, thank you for sharing!  I am really intrigued by the program design.  I am currently a co-PI on a Noyce Track IV grant, and our data has shown the importance of mentorship for novice or early career teachers.  I know this has also been shown in other studies regarding teacher retention.  The fact that your program has mentorship for the scholars coming from both current teachers and faculty scientists I think is a really important program characteristic, and could have an important effect on scholars' retention as teachers in high-need schools.  Have you done any work that has specifically looked at how the Scholar's are perceiving these mentorship activities, and if this has had any effect on how they feel when they enter the classroom as a new teacher?

  • May 10, 2020 | 06:33 a.m.

    Dear Christopher, 

    Thank you for your interest in our program.  The scholars were asked about their mentoring experience and reported high levels of mentor engagement such as Gave you challenging assignments that presented opportunities to learn new skills, Helped you learn to communicate and function as part of an interdisciplinary team, and Taught you specific research skill or how to do a specific task.   Scholars also reported high level of of mentor support such as Provided assistance or support as needed, Listened when you talked, Served as a role model, Conveyed empathy for the concerns and feelings you have discussed with them.  When asked to reflect on the mentoring experience, the faculty reported high levels of agreement to a number of statements including  I provided professional development to my mentee, I met with my mentee to go over expectations,  I was prepared to be a mentor, I enjoyed mentoring, I would like to be a mentor again in the future. 

  • Icon for: Mark Bealo

    Mark Bealo

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 10, 2020 | 06:48 p.m.

    This looks like a great project and a wonderful way to tie the knowledge across secondary through higher education. Keep up the great work!

  • May 11, 2020 | 04:35 p.m.

    Thanks Mark!  

  • Icon for: Jennifer Borland

    Jennifer Borland

    May 12, 2020 | 08:06 a.m.

    I love that this project seems to have impacts across so many different levels...including pre-service teachers, teachers, and students. Presumably the impacts on the pre-service teachers are being studied, but I'm curious to learn more about anything you might be doing to explore subsequent impacts students and perhaps on the practicing teachers and the faculty who facilitate this program as well? 

  • May 12, 2020 | 07:42 p.m.

    Dear Jennifer, 

    Thanks for your interest.   Yes, your assumption is correct that the focus of the project is on the pre-service teachers who will be followed into induction.  We are researching factors that encourage STEM majors to want to teach in high needs schools and to stay in these schools.  In addition we are interested in the development of a learning community that will support their teacher professional development.  As part of this process, we interview the practicing teachers and University faculty who are involved in the project as either cooperating teachers or as mentors on the citizen science projects or on internship opportunities.   One of the aspects that we focus on during these interviews are shifts in the faculty members' individual collaborations as well as institutional collaborative shifts.  We also examine their attitudes toward mentoring and their professional development.  

  • Icon for: Sarah Krejci

    Sarah Krejci

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2020 | 06:57 p.m.

    I really love the partnership model you have developed through the project! 

  • May 12, 2020 | 07:42 p.m.

    Thanks Sarah!


  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.

Multiplex Discussion
  • Post to the Discussion

    If you have an account, please login before contributing. New visitors may post with email verification.

    For visitors, we require email verification before we will post your comment. When you receive the email click on the verification link and your message will be made visible.



    NOTE: Your email will be kept private and will not be shared with any 3rd parties