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MSU Scholars Shape Next Generation Teaching of Science

Michigan State University researchers are currently engaged in a wide range projects focused on improving student learning and engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and are among the nation’s leaders in developing new curriculum to help students master some of the core disciplinary ideas and scientific practices outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

K-12 Education


Multiple Literacies in Project-Based Learning
Grant: $5 million, Lucas Education Research
PI: Joe Krajcik
Focus: Using project-based science to improve math and literacy skills for 3rd and 4th grade students

Studying How Beginning Elementary Teachers Notice and Respond to Students’ Scientific Sense-making
Grant: $500,000, National Science Foundation
PI: Christina Schwarz
Focus: Helping new teachers learn the best ways to address student understanding of science in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms


Exploring Potential Learning Trajectories for the Energy Concept in Middle School
Grant: $1.5 million, National Science Foundation
PI: Joe Krajcik
Focus: Developing curriculum and assessments to help middle school students build a robust understanding of energy

A New Genomic Framework for Schools and Communities
Grant: $1.24 million, National Institutes of Health
PI: Joe Krajcik
Focus: Creating a middle school curriculum on the interactions of genomics and the environment

Tools for Teaching and Learning Engineering Practices: Pathways Towards Productive Identity Development in Engineering (I-Engineering)
Grant: $1.3 million, National Science Foundation
PIs: Angela Calabrese Barton (MSU College of Education), Scott Calabrese Barton (MSU College of Engineering) and Edna Tan (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
Focus: Help middle school students learn engineering practices and develop a personal identity of being an engineer that can lead to STEM study and future careers

Sustaining Responsive and Rigorous Teaching Based on Carbon TIME
Grant: $7 million, National Science Foundation
PI: Charles W. “Andy” Anderson
Focus: Refining and setting up structures for wide-scale implementation of Carbon TIME, a model curriculum for teaching students about carbon cycling

Crafting Optimal Learning in Science Environments
Grant: $3.6 million, National Science Foundation
PI: Barbara Schneider
Focus: Testing project-based high school science materials and teaching strategies to promote more engaging classroom learning environments in the U.S. and Finland

Developing and Testing a Model to Support Student Understanding of the Sub-Microscopic Interactions that Govern Biological and Chemical Processes (Interactions)
Grant: $2.1 million, National Science Foundation
PI: Joe Krajcik
Focus: Developing web-based instructional materials for high school students in physical science courses

Higher Education

Creating a Coherent Gateway for STEM Teaching and Learning at MSU
Grant: $500,000, Association of American Universities via the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
PI: Melanie Cooper
Focus: Helping faculty achieve a shared vision for STEM gateway courses and developing structures to support and reward curricular improvements

LEVERS: Leveraging Engagement and Vision to Encourage Retention in STEM
Grant: $1.5 million, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
PI: Sekhar Chivukula (MSU College of Natural Science)
Focus: Transforming introductory STEM courses that serve as gateways to the sciences, with a focus on under-represented student groups

Undergraduate Enrichment Experiences to Support Biomedical Careers: An Investigation of Underlying Psychological Mechanisms
Grant: $50,000, Michigan State University
PI: Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia
Focus: Examining how undergraduate enrichment experiences support students’ pursuit of biomedical research careers

On the web
Learn more about the CREATE for STEM Institute, a hub for MSU research in STEM Education: create4stem.msu.edu


– excerpted from Nicole Geary via New Educator magazine, Fall-Winter 2015-16

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