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Overcoming Obstacles: Reaching All Children Through Rich STEM.

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Presentation on theme: "Overcoming Obstacles: Reaching All Children Through Rich STEM."— Presentation transcript:

1 Overcoming Obstacles: Reaching All Children Through Rich STEM

2 Before we talk about achievement gaps, let’s look at a couple of success stories MODEL PROGRAMS ALL OVER THE NATION HAVE ACHIEVED GREAT RESULTS. THE KEY IS TO ANALYZE WHAT THEY HAVE IN COMMON.

3 Local Initiatives Show: Integrating authentic, interesting and relevant learning (especially in STEM) with language has strong results.

4 Cleveland, Ohio Mathematics and Science Partnership: Science and Literacy Project Integrating language arts and science in inner city schools, the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading program led to higher student performance on assessments of science knowledge, vocabulary, and writing. Teachers also found the program usable, effective, and engaging. Goldschmidt, P., and Jung, H. (2010). Evaluation of Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading: Effective Tools for Developing Literacy through Science in the Early Grades (PDF).Evaluation of Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading: Effective Tools for Developing Literacy through Science in the Early Grades (PDF). Student Gains Gain S.E. Vocabulary Treatment 0.69 0.086 *** Control 0.39 0.079 *** Reading Treatment 2.38 0.104 *** Control 1.18 0.090 *** *** p <.01, ** p <.05, * p<.10

5 Texas Turn- around for At Risk Students In 2012 the Texas basic skills tests changed. All districts saw a drop. This graph compares improvements in 2013 for at risk students in basic skills for the entire state (black) and four districts that embedded their mathematics and science instruction into STEM/Citizen Science through JASON Learning.

6 Southwest Schools/Texas This district integrated middle level Citizen Science with language acquisition in 2013. They found strong gains for economically disadvantaged, White, Hispanic, African American, and All Students. “Although STEM is specific for fields of study in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, we realize the significance of literacy (Reading) in the success of all subjects for our students.”

7 When we teach science, we are also teaching English, not just teaching in English. Opportunities and Challenges for ELLs in the Science Inquiry Classroom (Part 1) Rusty Bresser and Sharon Fargason (2014) The use of guided inquiry (beginning with a more structured approach and then gradually developing to a more open-ended approach to learning) that builds on students’ prior knowledge and science content provides English language learners with opportunities to learn the practice of science (Amaral, Garrison, and Klentschy 2002; Fradd and Lee 1999; Vanosdall et al. 2007; Warren and Rosebery 2008). NSTA Position Science for English Language Learners

8 But in most communities the path to such progress is illusive. What will make a program work? How do individual districts find models?

9 Empowerment [NGSS] PRACTICES MAKE PERFECT…paths to literacy 1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering) 2. Developing and using models 3. Planning and carrying out investigations 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) 7. Engaging in argument from evidence 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information


11 Key idea from successful programs: Reading and mathematics taught in the context of science are more effective than when taught in isolation.  The practices of science are not simply tools for experimenting; they enable students to solve problems in all areas of their lives.  Lessons must have personal and cultural relevance  Lessons must extend to problem solving (engineering integration)  Language, reading and mathematics are learned most quickly when they are in relevant contexts.  Reading and mathematics scores go up when the skills are learned in context  When students see themselves as problem-solvers, they are able to see themselves as success.  Culturally relevant role models  Involvement of the community

12 Barriers in average schools:  Siloing  The perception that language must be taught intensively and separately  Top-Down attitude toward curriculum development  Lack of access to appropriate facilities and materials  Lack of culturally-appropriate role models and literature  Lack of cultural sensitivity  Lack of ammunition!

13 To change school cultures, we must empower teachers and administrators as well. We must look carefully at the factors in their positions for which they are rewarded, and make sure they are coherent with what we want in the end.

14 From NSTA’s Learning Center, a community of over 450,000 educators each year, we hear real stories of promise, practice and problems: High emphasis on testing--only the middle students get attention Lack of facilities to do authentic (STEM) learning safely (especially for students with limited language facility) Little access to information on cultural differences Examples: Reluctance to participate in scientific argumentation Cultural traditions that may conflict with scientific investigations No trade books that are culturally relevant Few culturally relevant role models or real historical background

15 But we hope to do better! Next month NSTA brings together representatives from a dozen national educational groups to chart a path toward a nationally accessible database so that barriers can be overcome. Ideas? Questions?

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