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  1. Anant Kukreti
  2. https://www.ceas3.uc.edu/profiles/kukretar
  3. University of Cincinnati
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Cincinnati, STEMucation Academy
  1. Jack Broering
  2. http://stemucationacademy.com/
  3. University of Cincinnati
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. STEMucation Academy

Cincinnati Engineering Enhanced Math and Science Program (CEEMS) and STEMucat...

NSF Awards: 1102990, 1518619

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

The video will focus on Challenge Based Learning (CBL) and the implementation successes that have been achieved in classrooms in southwestern Ohio middle and high schools. The viewer will hear from a number of teachers trained in the CBL methodology and the use of Engineering Design Process (EDP) to solve a design challenge and will learn of their classroom successes. The video will also highlight the improvement in student performance achieved through the introduction of the CBL pedagogy into the classroom. The viewer will also be provided an overview of the STEMucation Academy training program which is designed to further the CBL methodology in classrooms on a national basis. STEMucation Academy is an extension of the very successful Cincinnati Engineering Enhanced Math and Science Program (CEEMS) developed and implemented by the University of Cincinnati in conjunction with support from the National Science Foundation. Lastly, an overview of the STEMucation Academy database of classroom-ready units of instruction will be provided. These units of instruction have been developed, implemented and refined in middle school and high school classrooms and significantly reduce the effort required to implement CBL in the classroom.

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Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Jack Broering

    Jack Broering

    Co-Presenter
    May 4, 2020 | 10:26 p.m.

    Thank you for visiting the STEMucation Academy video.  STEMucation Academy evolved from the Cincinnati Engineering Enhanced Math and Science program which provided training to teachers on how to implement Challenge Based Learning in their math and science classrooms using Engineering Design Process to solve the challenge.  STEMucation Academy now offers multiple training formats including both online and in-person workshops with coaching support as well as introductory and more advanced training.  We are especially interested in discussion regarding best practices in training delivery and also, best ways to reach out to teachers to make them aware of our CBL training program.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Kristin Flaming
    Amy Wagler
  • Icon for: Kristin Flaming

    Kristin Flaming

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 6, 2020 | 07:22 p.m.

    You mentioned interest in "best ways to reach out to teachers to make them aware of our CBL training program". Our NSF funded https://passiondrivenstatistics.com model has found success in reaching new audiences through posting to list serve's, newsletters, and Facebook groups geared toward statistics, higher education, teaching, etc. 

  • Icon for: Jack Broering

    Jack Broering

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 09:39 p.m.

    Thanks for your input Kristin.  We are using Facebook but not Facebook Groups.  Great tip!  Will also check out your website.

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 4, 2020 | 10:40 p.m.

    Public Discussion

    Thank you for taking the time to watch our video.  We are interested in ways to enhance our training delivery as well as how we might make secondary school teachers aware of our training programs.  Some questions we are seeking answers to include:

     

    1. In light of today’s online education technology, how might we better present our materials to our customers (i.e., teachers, administrators and curriculum directors)?
    2. How might we best reach out to potential teachers who are struggling with making their classrooms into student-centered learning environments?
    3. As this is a professional development opportunity for teachers, we would like to better understand the cost of similar programs that offer new teaching pedagogies.
  • Icon for: David Sittenfeld

    David Sittenfeld

    Informal Educator
    May 5, 2020 | 08:43 a.m.

     I really like this approach!  It seems like there is the potential for a train-the-trainer model of secondary teachers that could expand your network.  I don't know too much about it, but BioBuilder (established with NSF funding) has applied this model for synthetic biology - the workshops are co-taught by practicing bench scientists and high school biology teachers and teachers become trainers over time.

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 5, 2020 | 01:25 p.m.

    Thank you, David,

    I checked the BioBuilder website and the pricing for your workshops ($400 for early bird enrollment; otherwise $500).  If I am correct, these workshops are offered as in-person format.  Do the practicing bench scientists working with the teachers act like coaches assist the teachers in developing the curriculum to take back the workshop experience to their classroom?  We offer our workshops completely online and the teachers develop a curricular unit (with at least 4 activities or more, taking about 2 weeks or more to teach) under the guidance of a virtual coach.  In usual situation (when school is in operation), the teacher, after the unit is approved by the coach, teaches the unit, documents impact on student learning and personal reflections, and has a final session with the coach to discuss how it went and what could be improved upon.  STEMucation Academy also offers face-to-face workshop sessions (spread-out over a period) to a group of teachers from a school district or a school building.

  • Icon for: David Sittenfeld

    David Sittenfeld

    Informal Educator
    May 5, 2020 | 01:37 p.m.

    Oh I am not affiliated with BioBuilder at all - I just know a little bit about it as I collaborated with them on other projects.  I believe these workshops have most generally been in-person but they are/have pivoted to more online engagement like everyone else is.  I believe there are scholarships for teachers through other support they have received and also that they are offered in multiple languages - but the BioBuilder folks would be able to tell you a lot more about that!

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 5, 2020 | 01:54 p.m.

    It is very interesting that they offer their workshops in different languages.  That broadens participation.  We can also look into that.  We will get in touch with BioBuilder.  Thank you for letting us know about it.

  • Icon for: Amy Wagler

    Amy Wagler

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 5, 2020 | 10:50 a.m.

    Great video! I enjoyed learning about the CBL approach. I appreciate how it modifies the PBL method to integrate the engineering design process. I think this is great in light of the current challenges we face.

    Your question regarding presentation of your materials to customers in an online setting is a good one. I noticed you already have a well-developed website, but wonder if allowing for virtual interactions for either collaboration or sharing results would be a good addition? Since our Noyce scholars are not allowed in the schools now, we are looking into developing video-based PBL units that will allow follow up sharing and discussion. The idea is to provide enough guidance so this could be accomplished at home and with differentiated learning taken into account (for varying ages working together). When we get something together, I will share with you all!

    Great work, love the video and LOVE what you are doing! thanks for sharing this!

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 5, 2020 | 01:55 p.m.

    Thank you, Amy,

    There is one difference between challenge-based learning (CBL) and problem- or project-based learning (PBL) approaches.  In our CBL approach the teacher guides the students (in teams, generally) to identify an engineering design challenge (the problem) around which the curricular unit is taught and facilitated by the teacher. We train the teachers on the process to follow to make this happen. The students solve the challenge using the engineering design process (EDP). In PBL approach usually the teacher pre-selects and presents the problem to the students. In both approaches the problem selected is open-ended and has multiple solutions. So, the students optimize their solution and defend the "best" solution obtained. Thus, CBL approach is student driven and based on our evaluation results it ensures student buy-in from the beginning to the end of the curricular unit. It does require more advance planning on the teacher's part. In our teacher the professional development program (both in online and face-to-face formats) the teacher develops a curricular unit (with at least 4 activities or more, taking about 2 weeks or more to teach) under the guidance of an assigned coach. In a usual situation (when school is in operation), the teacher, after the unit developed is approved by the coach, teaches the unit, documents impact on student learning and personal reflections, and has a final session with the coach to discuss how it went and what could be improved upon.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Amy Wagler
  • Icon for: Amy Wagler

    Amy Wagler

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 5, 2020 | 03:38 p.m.

    Hi again, in this respect it is very close to how we practice PBL. We actually have the students also define the problem. Only the general area of interest is defined, but students direct what problem to solve!  The major difference is our problems are generally health science related. For example, we are doing projects designed around addressing childhood obesity this year.

    Very nice learning about this and thanks again!

  • Icon for: Michael Haney

    Michael Haney

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 02:50 p.m.

    The video combined with the project description and the website do an excellent job of explaining what is unique about the combination of CBL and EDP.  The process the underlies the project is pretty clearly laid out in the video although it raises questions about how challenges are generated, which, thankfully, are explained very nicely in the responses above.  The website is very complete and professional and includes lesson units. how to get training and the promise of future resources.  The approach seems very appropriate for the age level of the students in the video.  

    Your summary does talk about outcomes and promises that the video would talk about "student performance achievement."  Can you provide more information about what you measured and the results?  The enthusiasm level of the students is apparent, do you also quantify affective attributes?

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Michelle Callaway
  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 5, 2020 | 03:29 p.m.

    Thank you, Michael,

    I would like to refer to you to the book entitled, " Creating Engineering Design Challenges: Success Stories From Teachers,” published by NSTA Press, which was coauthored by the CEEMS project team. This book is especially important for secondary school teachers who are interested in integrating engineering into their curriculum. It showcases documented strategies to use engineering design practices in the classroom to teach math and science content and standards using CBL, which ensures student buy-in and engagement. As well, a substantial portion of the book is comprised of the voices of CEEMS teachers who created and implemented instructional units that incorporate both challenge-based learning and the engineering design process.  They have documented the success they documented and observed when the CBL-EDP units were executed.

    The Cincinnati Engineering Enhanced Math and Science Program (CEEMS) project was executed over seven years, leading to the creation of the STEMucation Academy to offer the program’s successful professional development program to other teachers nationwide. Five cohorts of teachers participated in CEEMS, each cohort participating for two years. A few highlights of the quantified and qualitative evaluation results are presented below for your information:

    • Student Feedback Survey (implemented from Year 1 to Year 7) from the CEEMS project indicated, the majority of students (over 80%) reported that they learned about the engineering design process (EDP) and had an increased interest in engineering following unit implementation (over 58% of students surveyed). Furthermore, the vast majority of students (≥ 89%) understood how the EDP helped them solve a problem. Teacher reports were consistent with student reports of increased interest whereby ≥ 98% of teachers were in agreement that their students’ classroom engagement had increased compared to when non-CEEMS units were taught. Taken together, students exposed to CEEMS units reported increased interest in STEM related careers and learned the EDP and knew how it helped with problem solving.
    • Related to student knowledge, teachers created pre-post assessments for each unit to show content knowledge gains. Taken together over the seven years of the project, students exposed to CEEMS units were characterized by a gain in knowledge ranging from 29.6% (project beginning) to 41.7% (project end) with gains increasing across each year of the project. When comparison data were available, students in CEEMS units had statistically significantly higher knowledge gains (p<0.001) relative to peers taught similar content by non-CEEMS teachers.
    • Related to changes in teachers’ (n=79) current instructional practices (CIP) indicate that all teachers are using the instructional practices promoted by the CEEMS training across all five cohorts and seven years of data.

    In summary:

    • The key findings from externally conducted evaluations of CEEMS project include: 1) student interest in engineering is increasing; 2) students are learning the engineering design process, and their content knowledge gains are increasing; 3) teachers are using CBL-EDP-promoted instructional practices which has remained steady after participation; 4) teachers use a wider variety of instructional practices; 5) teachers utilize their network of CEEMS project teachers and coaches; 6) the coaches are developing a collaborative coaching network allowing shared learning; and 7) the coaching team collectively developing coaching strategies to support teachers.
    • The key findings from a separate CEEMS research study are: 1) teachers’ increased knowledge of the engineering design process; 2) teacher instruction became more intentional, exemplified by the increased use of scaffolding activities and handouts to prepare and support students with the design process and content learning; and 3) the reduction of barriers when implementation of engineering design lessons over the course of the project.
  • Icon for: Michael Haney

    Michael Haney

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 05:36 p.m.

    Thank you for complete and very informative answers. The longer history provides more data and the results certainly are encouraging.  I look forward to following this discussion throughout the week.

  • May 5, 2020 | 04:59 p.m.

    This is a rich discussion to follow. Thank you for the depth of responses. Serving at NSTA for over 15 years, it was a nice surprise to read of this supporting resource as well from NSTA Press! 

    With NGSS, engineering design is one of the eight practices and other teacher orgs, like ITEEA.org coupled with the Technology Student Association, also espouse engineering by design challenges, some less, some more open-ended.

    I also know of Next Gen Storylines tools that help teachers facilitate students developing compelling, locally authentic challenges via a story (e.g, a boy in sports practice dies from ingesting too much water, how can something essential for life be detrimental). Do you think tools like these could be helpful too?

    I appreciate the nuances of CBL versus PBL. Thank you!

    I've even heard P3, problem-based, project-based and phenomena-based. In a rich instructional design, I'd suspect there is some integrative nature where there is some phenomena that arouses student curiosity, we they start asking their own questions to understand the implications from a problem-based POV (energy sustainability, climate change, infectious diseases, biodiversity), which might incorporate a "project" that is EDP focused in generating an iterative solution to help ameliorate the problem!

    Thank you again for such a worthwhile effort! Impressive.

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 5, 2020 | 08:42 p.m.

    Thank you, Albert,

    The authentic example given, a boy in sports practice dies from ingesting too much water, how can something essential for life be detrimental, is an excellent example. In our project we promote teachers to tease out such problems form teachers which the students will immediately connect to and run with it. In the CEEMS students worked in collaborative teams when teachers used the CBL approach. Grounded in student learning outcomes, teachers used a “Hook” (often a video about the issue) to introduce student teams to a relevant “Big Idea.” The big idea was an item of global, regional or local significance—something a student could readily relate to his or her life. Once the big idea was introduced, the first step was to collaboratively develop—with the students—an overview of the big idea and the related “Essential Questions” and choose one to set the broader context and foundation for the work that would follow. The class then identified a suitable “Challenge” or was guided by teacher questioning to select the challenge. The challenge established the context for the “Design Challenge” selected by the students and teacher for the curricular unit being taught. The students then began the process of identifying the “Guiding Questions” that would guide their analyses of the design challenge topic. These questions outlined what the students thought they needed to know and do to formulate a viable solution. Students needed significant guidance from the teacher at this stage, depending on the particular design challenge selected for the curricular unit and student preparation. This was where content knowledge requirements could be established. Student teams sought answers to the guiding questions by participating in a variety of learning activities, i.e., conducting research, learning new material (independently, in groups, or as part of a teacher-led lesson/activity), experimentation, interviewing, and exploring various avenues to craft the best solution for the challenge. In CEEMS, the EDP guided and informed the challenge solution, approaching it as an open-ended problem. Because the problem included constraints, trade-offs, and performance objectives, there was never a set solution. Instead, student teams refined, improved, and optimized their original designs, as this is how design innovation actually works outside the classroom. Additionally, in order to learn how to effectively communicate their new engineering knowledge, student teams also shared and defended their “best” solutions using one of many possible formats: oral, written, and visual communication.

    As an example, for a High School Chemistry class, the teacher constructed a curricular unit, “Melt Away.” The CBL elements for this unit were:

    • Big Idea: Transportation and safety on icy roads and sidewalks
    • Essential Question: How can we keep our roads and sidewalks safe in sub-freezing climates?
    • Challenge: Design a deicing product that includes a blend of chemical compounds and market it through a commercial.
    • The Guiding Questions developed by the class and used by the teacher to develop and teach the unit are:
      • What is a deicer?
      • For what applications are deicers necessary?
      • What chemical compounds are used as deicers?
      • What is the chemistry behind their function?
      • What is the economic impact of their use on various surfaces?
      • What environmental risks are associated with the use of deicers?
      • Will the product be eco-friendly?
      • Is to be a high end or low-end product (cost and quality)?
      • For what applications will the product be effective at melting ice?
      • Will the product be a solid or liquid application?

     I hope this response helps in understanding how we use CBL process in our program.  

  • May 5, 2020 | 09:50 p.m.

    Outstanding Anat. Thank you for the example, Right on the mark!

    The example I gave is actually one that was used in NSTA training for NGSS, where students (like in your excellent example), are then asked to design models to explain or demonstrate phenomena in question (less Engineering), like how does the body get rid of water, through the kidneys (where students might use a spaghetti strainer and beads to visualize this). This leads to more questions such as, if the body cannot get rid of the water where does it go; it may be absorbed in muscles, where in one instance the brain is a muscle that cannot expand encapsulated by a skull. So students use the observations and data from their own models as evidence to support their arguments and claims. Much better than, we are going to learn about the kidney today and how muscles handle water we ingest. I truly appreciate the scenario you provided. Great stuff!

  • Icon for: Jonathan Margolin

    Jonathan Margolin

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 08:35 p.m.

    Dear Anant,

    I really appreciate the opportunity to learn more about CBL and how it related to engineering design. I would love to hear more about what instructional frameworks or supports that teachers use to guide their instruction. What do teachers need to know in order to implement this approach? What challenges do they face?

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 5, 2020 | 09:19 p.m.

    Thank you, Jonathan,

    Please see my reply to Dr. Albert Byers question. This describes the framework used by the teacher to construct a CBL-EDP curricular unit.

    Marrying CBL and EDP pedagogies, CEEMS teachers developed a curricular unit using established templates, which helped them organize their information and content in a consistent way and required teachers to document how they planned to adhere to the program pedagogies throughout unit implementation. At least four activity templates were utilized for each curricular unit, as well as a pre-test and a post-test that were directly linked to the activities’ measurable educational outcomes. Each activity was designed to answer specific or a set of specific guiding questions. Consequently, the number of activities depended on the number of guiding questions and how they were grouped. An activity was a stand-alone learning module with defined learning outcomes, each with its own summative assessment, which sought to monitor educational outcomes, often for purposes of external accountability. At least one of the activities was used to find a solution to the design challenge using EDP. Additionally, there were some key teaching strategies teachers were required to plan and document prior to teaching, and to later revise, if they were changed during instruction. In each unit template, teachers anticipated and identified misconceptions students would likely have regarding the content and how these issues would be addressed. Additionally, teachers outlined how they planned to differentiate parts of the lesson activities to support diverse student learning needs. The goal for the construction of templates was to maximize organization and preparation before implementation in such a way that successful teaching methods and areas for improvement could be identified more easily by the teachers. After instruction, teachers reported student pre- and post-test results to document growth in student learning that resulted from the unit and provided a personal reflection on what worked and what could be improved.

    Teachers who participated in CEEMS received extensive support throughout their two years in the program. Each summer they took three graduate courses and a seminar class devoted to CBL-EDP curriculum development for their classroom. Instructors of CEEMS graduate courses modeled how to use CBL and EDP while teaching engineering, science, and mathematics content. These courses required participating teachers to use EDP to develop and refine solutions to open-ended challenges or problems. For example, one teacher learned about aerospace engineering while designing, building, and testing a glider in order to determine which type of glider stayed in the air the longest. Throughout the coursework, teachers’ integration of hands-on EDP challenges in different fields of engineering provided them ample opportunities to practice engineering design, engage in teamwork, learn from failure, and experience the iterative nature of the design process. Teachers directly experienced how versatile real-world engineering applications were and how they could be used to teach standards-based content in secondary education.

    In the seminar class, each summer, teachers worked with Resource Team coaches to develop CBL curricular units that involved engineering design. During two summers of coursework and professional development seminar sessions, teachers worked in collaboration with other higher and secondary education participants to design two curricular units that featured CBL and EDP. During program year 2, teachers also revised and re-taught one of the units taught during the previous academic year, providing them the opportunity to reflect upon and improve their practices.

    In the online and face-to-face professional development programs developed by STEMucation Academy, we have captured the above magic of CEEMS training model through eight training modules a participant completes under the guidance of an assigned coach (virtual or real). These modules are completed one-by-one and proficiency demonstrated before a teacher can go to the next module by the coach. As part of the earlier modules, a teacher completes select sections of a curricular unit templates. Once the unit template is completed, reviewed and approved by the coach, the teacher teaches the unit. In the later modules that follow, after teaching the teacher documents growth in student learning by the teaching of the CBL-EDP unit, the misconceptions and differentiation addressed, and submit personal reflections. At the end the teacher has a meeting with the coach to document what worked and what could be done for further improvement. After unit completion, we encourage the teacher to publish the completed unit in the STEMucation Academy Website to dissemination to other teachers.

  • Icon for: Rebecca Vieyra

    Rebecca Vieyra

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 08:52 p.m.

    Dear Anant,

    I very much appreciate the rich descriptions and outcomes you've described!

    I realize that this might not be the focus of your research, but I'm curious to know what differences you note between the face-to-face, cohort-based professional development workshops compared to the virtual offerings. My experience is that it's more of a challenge to build the community support in virtual experiences that is often so needed when teachers are trying something really innovative in their classroom. If you have found points of success for online PD in this way, I'd love to know your secrets!

    Additionally, do you have any evidence about teachers' likelihood to expand this approach beyond what they develop in the workshop to other units or modules in their teaching? Again, please do share your insights!

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 5, 2020 | 11:57 p.m.

    Thank you, Rebecca, for your insights and questions.

    STEMucation Academy has offered online PD program in two formats: 1) to individual in-service teachers spread-out nationally, and 2) to a group of teachers who completed the program together as a cohort in a semester class offered at university. Since STEMucation Academy is self-paced, it took 3-6 weeks for teachers to complete the program, depending when the unit was scheduled to be taught. Past veteran CEEMS teachers and Resource Team Members (CEEMS coaches) were hired as coaches for both these pilot programs. In both online pilot implementations, the teachers who completed the program reported in a survey that they felt much more comfortable and competent in their ability to create and teach a choice unit incorporating an engineering design challenge after participating in the online PD program. They also praised the flexible nature of the online format. A few of the quotes provided by the participants of the online PD program are mentioned below:

    • I liked that I could go at my own pace, look ahead to all of the modules so I could get the whole picture before actually doing each module, and I likes there was someone I could contact to bounce ideas off
    • The self-pace was great!
    • I liked how I could go back and re-watch something to help me understand.
    • The resources were great.
    • My coach was great! She was very helpful and supportive
    • I had an awesome coach who I enjoyed working with. She was always giving me ideas and helped me in any way.
    • I liked the timeline of the workshop. Having due dates for parts of the STEM unit was helpful.  Working with a mentor was also helpful.

    STEMucation Academy in 2019-2020 completed a face to face workshop program offered to a group of 17 middle school science teachers in one school district. Three workshops sessions, spread out between September to November, were held in the 2019 fall semester by the STEMucation Academy staff and veteran CEEMS teachers were selected to serve as coaches for the program. During the workshops the participants worked on unit plans and also worked virtually with the assigned coaches to continue development of their own CBL-EDP curricular unit.  They planned to teach their units in the fall of 2019 and in the 2020 spring semester. To date, 5 of the teachers have developed, taught and documented their unit, and another teacher fully developed his unit but could not teach it since the schools closed under Covid-19 quarantine. Other teachers attended the workshops but chose not to fully develop their units of instruction based on their own certification circumstances and the abrupt school closure. The training was well received as noted by the school district’s middle school curriculum director and were it not for the adverse circumstances the number of successful classroom implementations and documentation of results would have certainly been higher. The types of activities the teachers developed made it possible for students to develop solutions using the engineering design process. For those teachers who did not implement, in some cases they could not implement because the students were quarantined and therefore could not solve the problem due to lack of supplies, inability to collaborate, etc. Though the advent of the quarantine was unfortunate, the learning that occurred during the workshops was much appreciated and hopefully will add to the repertoire of tools teachers have to excite their students about the educational process.

    Regarding your question: “Additionally, do you have any evidence about teachers' likelihood to expand this approach beyond what they develop in the workshop to other units or modules in their teaching?”  We do have such evidence from the CEEMS project, but it is too early to say this about STEMucation Academy teachers. In CEEMS our external evaluation team tracked CEEMS teachers two years after completion of the program and all CEEMS participants reported that they were still using the CBL and EDP pedagogies in their classroom with great success.

  • Icon for: Jack Broering

    Jack Broering

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 07:03 a.m.

    To hear more of your thoughts, we have posed a number of questions below. We would like to hear from those who have taught using engineering design challenges** as a context to teach standards-based content. A discussion on any one or more of the following issues would be appreciated.  Any examples that you can provide would be very helpful.

    • What are some strategies used to promote active learning in the class?
    • How do you promote team dynamics and accountability with your students?
    • Have you had opportunities to integrate Computational Design Thinking into your engineering design challenges?
    • Were there any difficulties encountered during implementation of the unit of instruction and the process of solving the engineering design challenge?
    • With regard to your own professional development, what training format do you prefer; online or face to face? Why do you prefer that format?

    ** These challenges are problems that students solve using the engineering design process (EDP) or some similar process.  Here is a link to the EDP that we use.  Engineering Design Process Flowchart

  • Icon for: Rebecca Vieyra

    Rebecca Vieyra

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 07:04 a.m.

    Dear Anant and Team,

    Thank you very much for all of your detailed responses. Given the massive amount of "product" that teachers are creating as a result of involvement in your programs, is there any way that you are able to foster a sense of community beyond the official PD that allows them to share their work? I realize this might not be as much of a concern within a single school building or district that participates as a cohort.

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 7, 2020 | 09:09 a.m.

    Hello Rebecca,

    Thank you for getting back to us and for asking about how we foster a sense of community beyond the official PD that allows them to share their work.  In CEEMS 79 teachers completed the two-year program, and each teacher produced on the average 5 CBL-EDP curricular units, a few produced 4 units.  All these units are archived in a CEEMS Instructional Units Website.  So, there are over 350 fully developed and tested CBL-EDP Units available to any teacher to adopt and/or adapt for their own use.  Contact information of the teacher who created and implemented the original unit is also given.  Many of these units are also available in the STEMucation Academy Units Website.  Teachers who participate in the STEMucation Academy’s virtual or face-to-face PD training programs are encouraged to use these units to suit their purpose and are encouraged to contact the teacher who created the unit.  Most of the STEMucation Academy coaches assigned to participants are veteran CEEMS teachers, and they are encouraged to form a leaning community between the teachers assigned to a coach – usually 5 to 6.  Through such a learning community the teachers help one another.  Both the online and face-to-face STEMucation Academy training programs are structured for a group of teachers to collaborate during the training and even afterwards.  Our experience from the CEEMS project has been that teachers learn from one another when they:

    • Ask questions: develop a list of "how to" and "why for" questions regarding student data, instruction, discipline, time management, etc. that one would ask their colleagues on their own
    • Share: rather than wracking one’s brain for answers that others have already solved, one would share their frustrations with their colleagues and get the answers quickly so they can go on to other important matters
    • Build relationships: They seek them out, spend time with one them, help them, and build relationships
    • Observe the best: seek out the ones that one would like to emulate - looking for things that I could use
    • Come prepared: Finally, and especially in formal collaboration meetings, but not solely, I have seen that teachers come prepared – they have ideas been mapped out prior to the meeting.

    We have attempted to capture these benefits when modeling the PD in STEMucation Academy.  I hope this answers your question.

  • May 7, 2020 | 12:39 p.m.

    Great to see the interesting work you're doing and the engaging discussions happening here!  I have a question about a very particular aspect of your work--how did you choose the particular EDP you use?  There are so many different models that I'm curious about the reasons curriculum developers use particular ones.

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 7, 2020 | 03:35 p.m.

    Hello Isabel,

    Thank you for viewing out video and for the very pertinent question asked.  Put simply, the EDP flowchart we selected is a series of steps that engineers follow to devise solutions for problems.  Also, they cover the engineering practices outlined by NGSS for K–12 science content standards.  However, the nature of the EDP is inherently flexible because for any challenge or problem there are constraints, trade-offs, and performance objectives that make a variety of potential solutions available.  As such, the EDP is an iterative process that requires constant revision and optimization.  As the CEEMS project was started, it became apparent that a common definition of the term “engineering” and the “EDP iterative process” needs to be properly conveyed.  However, we also realized that the process of exposing secondary teachers to the concepts of engineering and EDP cannot be overly prescriptive, instead it must create a sense of understanding through practice and experience.  The EDP guides and informs the challenge solution as an open-ended problem: a central tenet of engineering is that there are many collaborative solutions to a given problem.  Thus, in engineering design, there is no one right answer and student teams have the opportunity to refine, improve, and optimize their original designs.  Using prior knowledge and experiences, students identify the best alternative and implement the most efficient solution.  Additionally, student teams must also share their solution to the challenge using one of many possible formats.  Oral, written and visual communication skills are used by the student teams as part of the process to present and defend their challenge solution.

     As a concept, engineering was introduced to the teachers as follows: Engineering seeks to improve quality of life by constructing innovative solutions to real world problems, while recognizing their ethical and societal impact.  In order to device solutions, engineering uses all available knowledge, especially from math and science. Engineering is a team-based practice where multiple, alternate solutions are identified under given constraints.  When solutions fail, we learn from the failure.  The process is repeated to refine and communicate the “best” solution. 

    An iterative flow diagram for EDP was selected for the CEEMS project, which is shown in our video, and which is referred by you.  All steps shown in the figure presented must be completed and the results communicated after each step.  However, for some problems, steps can be combined.  As a guide, the following definitions for the steps are provided:

    Identify and Define

    • What are the goals and requirements for the design?
    • What are the constraints (time, materials, …)?
    • Identify the users (customers)
    • Is this a new design or an improvement to some existing design?

    Gather Information

    • Are there any existing designs worth evaluating?
    • If this is an innovation on a current design:
    • What are the good features of the current design?
    • What improvements seem necessary?
    • Talk to the key people involved and/or experts in the field.
    • Review existing data and collect more if necessary.
    • Research any unfamiliar principles – learn what you don’t know.

    Identify Alternatives

    • Brainstorm Solutions.
    • Generate multiple ideas for the design.  Don’t settle on the first solution that appears feasible.
    • Don’t critique or rule out any design ideas.
    • Be creative and innovative – a rich set of diverse ideas will lead to a better final design.

    Select the Best Solution

    • Does the design meet all the requirements and constraints?
    • Evaluate each design idea in terms of cost, time/difficulty to implement, ease of use for consumer, safety, and maintainability.
    • If possible, use computer simulation (mathematical modeling) to evaluate the effectiveness of each potential design.

    Implement Solution

    • Build a prototype (a working model used to test a design concept) of the selected design.

    Evaluate Solution

    • Test the design for functionality, quality, and safety.  Does the design meet all of the requirements and constraints?

    Refine

    • Testing often reveals that the initial design needs improvement(s).  Engineering design is an iterative process requiring a systematic approach for testing, evaluating, and refining in order to optimize the final design.

    Communicate

    • Good communication within the design team itself and with anyone else with a stake in the project is essential for success.  Communication skills include the ability to listen as well as the ability to write and speak well.

    Communicate Solution

    • Once the final design has been developed, the “solution” must be communicated to the customer.  Appropriate documentation must be provided, and depending on what the product design is, some training might be required.

    The EDP flowchart selected was used by all project constituents: course and seminar instructors, coaches, and teacher participants.  We also showed the similarities and differences between the Scientific Method, which all teachers were familiar with and had used it, and EDP.

  • May 7, 2020 | 04:36 p.m.

    Thank you so much for your incredibly thoughtful and thorough answer! Did teachers find it helpful to compare the scientific method and EDP? Did teachers and students seem to grasp that EDP is a flexible framework more than a right set of steps?  Thanks again!

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 7, 2020 | 07:42 p.m.

    Hello Isabel,

     

    As part of CEEMS project, the teachers really did not compare the Scientific Method and EDP.  The CEEMS training included a comparison between the two compared methods because nearly all the teachers were familiar with Scientific Method and had previously used it in their classroom to teach STEM content.  This comparison increased their comfort level in accepting EDP as an alternative method.  They could better appreciate that both scientists and engineers contribute to the world of human knowledge, but in different ways.  Scientists use the Scientific Method to frame a question and develop an experiment, or set of experiments, to answer that question.  If done correctly, everyone gets the same answer.  Engineers create, build, and find multiple solutions to a problem using the creativity based EDP, and defend the selection of the optimum solution.  By this comparison, the teachers get to see that if your project involves making observations and doing experiments, it is best to follow the Scientific Method.  If you are designing or building something, you should utilize the EDP.  By this comparison they developed a better appreciation of the power of integrating EDP with CBL as an effective teaching strategy to engage students in solving authentic problems more pertinent to their own lives, where often there is no one possible answer.

     

    The CEEMS external evaluation results indicated that the majority of students reported that they learned about the EDP and had an increased interest in engineering following unit implementation.  This was one of the goals of the CEEMs project.  Also, when comparing CEEMS and non-CEEMS (traditional) classroom teaching, external evaluation indicated that teachers used a wider variety of instructional practices in CEEMS lessons than in traditional lessons. Instructional practices evident in CEEMS lessons included probative, open-ended questioning that encouraged critical thinking; the engineering design process; challenge-based learning strategies; collaborative grouping; and external resources (e.g., videos) as a means to focus the lesson on real-world issues. In addition, teachers supported their instructional practices by drawing upon a network of other CEEMS teachers and the CEEMS coaches that emerged as a direct result of the CEEMS program.  The CEEMS research study indicated that CEEMS teachers learned to negotiate many of the barriers and minimize their impact.  Over the duration of the project some barriers were reported less frequently, suggesting the CEEMS summer PD program and the CEEMS coaches were better preparing and supporting the teachers.  Summarized below are the barriers and steps that evolved to mitigate their impact on teacher implementation and perceived student learning:

    1. The most consistent barrier discussed was time - more specifically finding the time to fully implement their units.
    2. The second barrier reported was the mixed knowledge/skill levels of students - keeping all students moving at the same pace a challenge.
    3. Space was a persistent and consistent barrier for teachers – particularly for students to build/work and to store work in progress.

    In the STEMucation Academy’s PD programs we have attempted to retain the magic of the CEEMS summer PD program and the CEEMS coaches so that similar success is obtained.

  • May 11, 2020 | 02:23 p.m.

    This is wonderful! Thank you so much for your thorough response.  It's great to hear about your results and about what kinds of training were helpful to teachers!

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Jack Broering
  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 9, 2020 | 12:15 p.m.

    Hello Everyone,

    A food for thought for today's discussion:

    • What are the unmet needs of K-12 teachers which current professional development (PD) training programs fail to provide?
    • What structure of the PD training program is recommended to fulfill these unmet needs?
    • Does the STEMucation Academy’s online and/or face-to-face PD training programs with coaching support for curriculum development, teaching and documenting after teaching appeal to you? Salient features of these programs are described in our video and details are presented in STEMucation Academy’s Website.  If any changes in its offerings are recommended, we will appreciate to hear from you.
    • Who should pay for such a training program? What cost will they be willing to pay themselves?
  • May 9, 2020 | 05:32 p.m.

    This was a stimulating to challenged based learning. Thanks for the wonderful video. Our own work concerns gender-stereotypes about 'who does STEM.' Stereotypes begin to influence kids (especially girls in relation to STEM) quite early and including in high school. Does your approach help ameliorate or dampen limitations that are sometimes imposed by these cultural stereotypes? Thanks again for the great work. 

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 9, 2020 | 06:58 p.m.

    Hello Andrew,

    Thank you for your input and for raising an important point.  In the CEEMS project, of which STEMucation Academy is an outcome, there was no explicit strategy promoted to address gender and cultural stereotypes issues.  If a teacher recognizes that this issue needs to be addressed, then she can guide the class with an appropriate Hook and Big Idea when executing Challenge-Based Learning process in the classroom so that the student teams select an authentic design challenge of interest to the students which incorporates gender and/or cultural biases imbibed in it.  Since the challenge selected is student driven, this intentional intervention is possible to be attained.

  • May 9, 2020 | 07:07 p.m.

    Interesting. 

    Thanks.

  • Small default profile

    Kimya Moyo

    K-12 Teacher
    May 10, 2020 | 01:02 p.m.

    Thank you, Jack and Dr. Kukreti, for doing your part to keep STEM alive during these special times.  Since STEM has such a "hand-on" instructional format, I am concerned about how it will adapt to the new online format that most instruction is beginning to take.  Actual building and designing through some of our STEM projects brought the briliance out of some of our most reticient students.  We must ensure that the virus does not allow those students to fall back into the crack.  Are there conversations being held about how to design a balance between online and hands on to keep STEM alive as "new" schooling is being discussed?

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 11, 2020 | 08:21 a.m.

    Hello Kimya,

    Nice to hear from you.  The point raised by you is very important pointing out that the success of STEM teaching strategies lies if it can engage some of our most reticent students and they find STEM learning to be meaningful to their own lives.  Both Jack and I have been debating how to design a balance between online and hands on to keep STEM alive.  I hope if you or others reading this reply can give us strategies worth trying or describe successful attempts tried by them.  We will be anxious to hear from all.  Thank you.

  • Icon for: Jack Broering

    Jack Broering

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 06:39 a.m.

    Kimya - thanks for your response.  As a Resource Team member of the CEEMS program you saw first hand how students who might normally "check out" in class became highly engaged when they had to design and build something.  They became better students when they used their hands and minds to create something.

    We have actually begun a discussion on how we might tackle the problem of training teachers on the Challenge Based Learning fundamentals in this distance learning environment.  As you are aware, training teachers to use Challenge Based Learning in their classrooms not only required teaching them the pedagogy but also required that they be immersed in building things to reinforce the concepts they are required to instill in their students.  For example, during their courses at the University of Cincinnati they worked on a number of activites that required them to build things such as earthquake proof buildings, energy capturing windmills and so on.  These activities required face to face interaction with other teachers and as such would be nearly impossible in todays online environment. With respect to our discussion, I'll quote Dr. Kukreti here in a note he sent me regarding this very issue "We have created an infrastructure (through CEEMS and STEMucation Academy) to start the process and modify it to make it best meet the current needs of a Covid-19 like environment.  ..... we have developed the online training program, but need to work out the logistics of the “best” model to offer it to (1) individual teachers and (2) a group of teachers working virtually as a team under both the situations of the students."

    Training teachers is of course only part of the issue as the second part of this is training students which again raises the point of "How do you engage students who are working from home in activities that require team involvement to solve an engineering challenge?"  We don't have the solution to that problem right now as this is in the discussion stage but hope we can address this in the near future.

    Thanks again for your comment and raising this important point.

  • Small default profile

    Kimya Moyo

    K-12 Teacher
    May 11, 2020 | 07:23 a.m.

    Jack, since the quaratine, I've been working with students who throughout the school year received computers to take home, so their familiarity with the devices was a non-issue.  But once, distance learning was implemented 100%, student engagement dropped off.  Those who needed internet access received it through the school, but student interest and attendance decreased over the time.  thus, another point not to overlook is the lack of control schools/teachers have over students once they leave the school building.  We have no idea the environments the students are in once they get home.  Then the students have to make some priority decisions - do I follow through with school work or do I deal with the home issues?  Many choose the latter (understandably so) and the school work takes a back seat.  CBL and EDP works most efficiently when there is teamwork and opportunities for frequent input and feedback.  One disadvantage of distance learning is attendance and accountability inconsistency.  School administrators are now wrangling over what format will schools will take in the fall;  how exciting will it be if we had proposals that incorporated CBL-EDP into distance learning formats!  I can see it being implemented if schools move to a combination of face to face and remote work, yet I anticipate it would be reserved for the advanced students.  Truly engaging formats face inequities under current school designs.  These challenges must be confronted.  

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 11, 2020 | 08:57 a.m.

    Hello Kimya,

    Thanks for pointing out some of the limitations and shortcoming of distance learning that has been enforced upon us after the pandemic.  These are naked facts that cannot be ignored, and a solution has to be sought considering them.  A few ideas come to mind:

    • Doing virtual process-driven type design challenge projects in teams where each team player has a defined role to play and has defined expectations laid out clearly by the teacher. If done in teams then the chances of participation may be higher.  A teacher will need to virtually monitor progress and plan out interventions as needed.  Such process-driven projects may involve the following: computer simulations by a team member; building, testing and finalizing a model by a team member; planning packaging and delivery by a team member, etc.
    • If these projects address some burning issues which we are facing in the pandemic world we are currently living in, they will be attractive - something that addresses a void they feel the pandemic has created in their lives. Student buy-in will be higher.
    • Incorporate in the projects real-world career connections by the teams virtually interact with practicing engineers and scientists or researchers as they work out their challenge solutions.
    • Teams create video presentations of their final solutions which can be made available to the public, e.g., YouTube. Some of these ideas may be picked up by the industry.

    These are possible to do virtually where individuals are working disparately.  These are some foods for thought.

  • Small default profile

    Kimya Moyo

    K-12 Teacher
    May 12, 2020 | 10:03 a.m.

    Thank you, Dr. Kukreti.  I am working on some teams that are focusing on these questions and I will definitely share the ideas.

  • Icon for: Anant Kukreti

    Anant Kukreti

    Lead Presenter
    University of Cincinnati
    May 12, 2020 | 12:22 p.m.

    Hello Kimya:  I will be anxiously waiting to hear back. Thank you. 

  • Icon for: Michelle Callaway

    Michelle Callaway

    K-12 Teacher
    May 12, 2020 | 06:32 p.m.

    The conceptual framework and connection to the Engineering Design Process make this a really useful approach for STEM teachers. I'm excited to explore the example units on your website more in-depth. I'm an elementary STEM teacher, so I would be interested to learn more about how this approach can be used with younger students during a specialist class. One challenge that I have experienced with engineering design is that students forget ideas or questions week-to-week. Because I push into classrooms and only meet with students once per week, it can be challenging to keep momentum. Any advice about visuals or displays that could help with this? 

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