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  1. Joyce Malyn-Smith
  2. https://edc.org/staff/joyce-malyn-smith
  3. Distinguished Scholar
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center (EDC), Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary...
  1. Jackie DeLisi
  2. https://www.edc.org/staff/jacqueline-delisi
  3. Senior Research Scientist
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center (EDC)
  1. Heidi Larson
  2. http://ltd.edc.org/people/heidi-larson
  3. Project Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center (EDC)
  1. Irene Lee
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/irene-a-lee/
  3. Research scientist
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Education Development Center (EDC), MIT STEP Lab

Science+C: Advancing Science through Computing

NSF Awards: 1934112

2022 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12

The Science+C project takes a "decoding" approach to introducing all high school students to computer science in the context of science classrooms.  Each unit engages students in using, decoding, and modifying computer models to better reflect the real-world phenomenon being modeled or to answer new questions. Students are invited to use a computer model to investigate its behavior, read and interpret the code underlying the model to uncover core mechanisms, and relate those mechanisms to scientific processes. Subsequently, they assess the validity of the model (in terms of whether it matches what they know about the scientific phenomenon being modeled) and can modify the model before running new experiments to determine the impact of their changes. Science+C's approach, introducing CS within science classrooms, addresses access and equity by making integrated CS and Science learning available and engaging for all students.

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Discussion from the 2022 STEM For All Video Showcase (18 posts)
  • Icon for: Irene Lee

    Irene Lee

    Co-Presenter
    Research scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 08:17 a.m.

    Thank you for watching our video! Science+C introduces high school students to computer science and computational modeling through core biology, chemistry, and physics classes. While engaging in Science+C units, students can deepen their understanding of mechanisms that drive phenomena by using, decoding, and modifying computer models. Students observe models in action; analyze key mechanisms in the model, assess their validity of those mechanisms in terms of what they know about the scientific phenomenon, and then modify the code to answer new questions or address their validity concerns.  Finally students run new experiments to assess the impact of their modifications.

    In this video, some of our amazing facilitators (who are experienced in teaching the Science+C units) share their impressions of the benefits to incorporating computer modeling and simulation into their teaching. 

    Science+C is a partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education ( MA DESE) and Education Development Center (EDC).  With NSF funding, we are studying the impact of the Science+C curriculum—whether students enrolled in the Science+C courses demonstrate higher levels of science knowledge and computational thinking skills than students who are enrolled in the same science topic courses but without computational enhancement. Teachers from 25 districts in Massachusetts and New Mexico have been implementing the units with their students as part of this study.

     

    Please ask us questions!

     
    2
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Adelmo Eloy
    Heidi Larson
  • Icon for: Heidi Larson

    Heidi Larson

    Co-Presenter
    Project Director
    May 10, 2022 | 04:52 p.m.

    Thanks, Irene. One aspect I appreciate about Science+C is that the program introduces every student to computer science (CS) and computational modeling, even in schools that don't offer a formal CS class. Through their core biology, chemistry, and physics classes, students explore computer models and then think about the validity of the data and models being presented. What is missing? What other questions could this model answer? What is the code that is driving the model? And how could I modify the model to account for different scenarios? Then they get to experiment by changing the code! Students have found this very empowering, and at the same time, they're "getting" the science concepts.

  • Icon for: Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Distinguished Scholar
    May 11, 2022 | 11:58 a.m.

    What challenges have you had, if any, integrating computing and science?

  • Icon for: Joan Ferrini-Mundy

    Joan Ferrini-Mundy

    Facilitator
    University President
    May 12, 2022 | 07:34 a.m.

    Very interesting and important work.  I know it may be early to have results, but I'm interested in what assessment you are doing - to look both at understanding of the science concepts involved, as well as the computational thinking development?  Also, how are teachers reacting to the platform, and are you finding that they are seeking additional background in computing in order to use them?

  • Icon for: Jackie DeLisi

    Jackie DeLisi

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 12:24 p.m.

    Hi Joan, Thanks for this great question! Our research team is examining both the implementation of Science+C in classrooms and the impact on students' disciplinary knowledge, computational thinking, and their interest in science. We have several ways of assessing the outcomes. We've created an adapted disciplinary knowledge assessment using items released from TIMSS and MCAS that are aligned with the Science+C module topics, and we are using a subscale from the Computational Thinking Test as an indicator of growth in computational thinking. We have also developed one additional assessment to examine students' mechanistic reasoning in the science discipline and we'll examine their responses to exit tickets completed after each unit. In terms of the teachers reactions, most have told us that the Science+C materials enable students to more clearly articulate their reasoning and more deeply engage in the disciplinary topics. Teachers are most challenged to differentiate the experiences, especially since students and the teachers themselves have varied prior exposure to computing. The on-going PD helps support teachers' learning and provides opportunities for them to discuss how to differentiate the experience.

  • Icon for: Irene Lee

    Irene Lee

    Co-Presenter
    Research scientist
    May 13, 2022 | 03:30 p.m.

    Adding to Jackie's response, I can say a bit more about the KS-CT instrument that examines students ability to link between coded mechanisms and scientific phenomena they represent.

    In the KS-CT there are 5 scales:
    - A "Modeling and simulation" scale with items on general knowledge (e.g., "Which of the following is necessary to run an experiment with a computer model?") and more specific applied knowledge (e.g.,, "Which of the following questions can be answered with this model?")
    - A "Decoding" (or matching a code segment to a scientific process) scale with items asking students to match a code segment to a process such as the process of hydroxides reacting with hydronium ions)
    - A "CS constructs" scale with items related to relevant code segments (e.g., "What does this line of code do?")
    - A "Science concepts" scale with items on science knowledge relevant to the model (e.g., "How is pH calculated if the concentration of OH is greater than the concentration of H?")
    and
    - A "Trace and Predict" scale with items that provide a starting state then ask the student to predict the outcome of running a piece of code.

    All of the items are Multiple choice items.
    Using this instrument, we hope to examine if students can match coded segments to scientific processes, and what factors / relevant knowledge (CS, Science, or both) might contribute to the ability.

  • Icon for: Adelmo Eloy

    Adelmo Eloy

    Researcher
    May 12, 2022 | 01:45 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing this amazing project!

    The use + decode +modify approach seems very effective in engaging students with computational modeling. We have been designing a project and programming environment with similar goals (you can watch our video here) so I would love to know more about your work. Do you have any website or publication to share?

    Also, similar to Joan's question, have you used any framework to define which componentes of computing/CT are targeted in each unit from Science+C? In addition, I wonder which tools you have been using in this project (I could see NetLogo in the video).

  • Icon for: Heidi Larson

    Heidi Larson

    Co-Presenter
    Project Director
    May 12, 2022 | 08:08 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your own, Adelmo! I love that kids are getting used to the idea of data, patterns, concepts behind real world phenomena, and working their way through developing a model to represent this--just like real scientists! 

    As Joyce notes below, our website is https://scienceplusc.org, and our contact information is scienceplusc@edc.org. Our units are based on the the Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science and Science and Technology/Engineering frameworks, which are in turn based on the Next Generation Science Standards. Although one of my colleagues may have a more definitive answer, the components were determined by surveying teachers and consulting with the state education department for the concepts students struggled with most, and could most benefit from a different approach. 

    NetLogo is the tool we use for the Science+C units. 

  • Icon for: Jessica Stovall

    Jessica Stovall

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2022 | 03:28 p.m.

    I enjoyed watching the video for your project.  I am part of a team that has been researching the impacts of using programming to teach mathematical reasoning. One of the benefits we have noted is shared between out projects.  Namely, integrating CS into core courses exposes all students to computing. Though our current project has been focused on 7th and 8th grade math classrooms, we have utilized our instructional model in science classrooms as well.  We have a high school forensics lesson, an 8th grade science lesson about waves, and a high school bioinformatics lesson. These lessons were developed in conjunction with Physics faculty members and local science teachers.  It is our belief that this method can be useful across many academic disciplines and leads nicely into interdisciplinary lessons.  Thanks for sharing your work!

  • Icon for: Heidi Larson

    Heidi Larson

    Co-Presenter
    Project Director
    May 12, 2022 | 08:22 p.m.

    Thank you, Jessica, and agreed! I appreciated watching your video as to how students in both programs are understanding the uses and relevance of coding within content areas. It seems that this program is almost over, however. What's next? 

    Your project reminded me of this one, working with elementary students around math. I wonder what you'll think of it: Mathematics Through Programming: https://stemforall2022.videohall.com/presentati...

  • Icon for: Jessica Stovall

    Jessica Stovall

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2022 | 10:57 p.m.

    Hello Heidi,

    I had seen that project's video as well and it does seem that our works are very well aligned.  We have seen similar results thus far as well.  Thanks for sharing!

  • Icon for: Joi Spencer

    Joi Spencer

    Facilitator
    Interim Dean and Professor of Mathematics Education
    May 12, 2022 | 05:14 p.m.

    Hello Science + C Team-

    I love the ingenuity of placing foundational computer science into courses that students are already taking. Genius! Can you share a bit about how the curriculum changes from course to course? For example, are the units more advanced in the physics vs biology courses? OR do you assume that all of the students regardless of their science course have had equal minimal exposure to CS? Do you have students who have been exposed to the units over multiple years and across all three courses? How is the intervention structured. I look forward to learning more.

  • May 13, 2022 | 12:49 p.m.

    I agree! The project and its described rationale are so impressive, and the integration brings value to the subject matter and to the students in multiple ways!! Really nice!

  • Icon for: Jackie DeLisi

    Jackie DeLisi

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Scientist
    May 17, 2022 | 10:55 a.m.

    Hi Joi, Thanks for your comment! The units do not progress to be more advanced as they are designed to be able to be integrated into any high school science sequence and are directly aligned with key science concepts in the coursers. The units are also designed to be accessible to all students, including students (and teachers) with no or minimal prior exposure to coding. As Joyce said, we have not yet had students exposed to multiple years of Science+C, but this could be a very interesting direction for future research.

  • Icon for: Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Distinguished Scholar
    May 12, 2022 | 07:56 p.m.

    Our website is:  https://scienceplusc.org/

    We have not yet had students exposed to more than one year of Science+C.  The three courses were developed to help students move through the use/decode/modify trajectory.  We expect students will spend less time being introduced to the technology and use/decode/modify process and move more quickly into learning the science through the simulations.

    We also developed, but have not yet field tested 4 units in AI through Data which we will be field testing this upcoming year.

     

  • Icon for: Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Distinguished Scholar
    May 12, 2022 | 08:06 p.m.

    Scientists today use modeling and simulation and work with data on a daily basis as they solve problems, discover and innovate.  We are very excited to be able to help high schoolers develop the foundational skills and work processes used in today's scientific enterprise. It is our belief that this will "advantage" them as they move along a STEM career path. Interested in Science+C?   If you are interested in using Science+C (either the modeling/simulation units and/or the AI through Data units) - please contact us and we will keep you in mind when we are ready to scale. 

    Website:   https://scienceplusc.org/

  • Icon for: Tichina Ward-Pratt

    Tichina Ward-Pratt

    Facilitator
    Educator
    May 13, 2022 | 08:12 p.m.

    This is an awesome program. I appreciate the integration in core subjects allowing students to have much exposure to CS. 

    I wonder, similar to Joi's point, what are the prerequisites, in terms of CS, that students and teachers would need to have in order to begin this program? Are the integrated science classes expected to be taken consecutively? 

  • Icon for: Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Joyce Malyn-Smith

    Lead Presenter
    Distinguished Scholar
    May 16, 2022 | 12:49 p.m.

    There are no CS requirements.  Teachers are trained to use the platform and the curriculum.  We designed this specifically for science teachers who have had no prior experience with CS.  We developed 7 three day units.  We expect that once each unit is started the learning will run its course until that unit is completed.  The units themselves do not need to be implemented adjacent to one another.  They should be integrated whenever that specific science topic is scheduled to be addressed in your scope and sequence. We hope that this approach enables the curriculum to be teacher friendly.

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