I-STEM, Purdue, South Bend schools partner in program for science teachers

March 18, 2014  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The I-STEM Resource Network, Purdue University's colleges of engineering and education and the South Bend Community School Corp. will partner in a program to help science teachers incorporate mathematics and engineering in their classrooms.

The program will be used in 10 intermediate schools in the South Bend district. It is being funded by a $457,000 grant from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to continue work with the district that focused on implementing research-developed science curriculum and enhancing and integrating literacy strategies into science instruction.

The project goals are to develop teachers' conceptual understandings of mathematics and the engineering design process; align science and mathematics instruction; and develop mathematics extensions and engineering modules that apply the science curriculum.

The fifth- through eighth-grade teachers will attend summer institutes and monthly meetings. The grant will support a new STEM resource teacher in each school who will facilitate focused work on lesson planning and implementation during the school year.

Jennifer Hicks, science program manager for the I-STEM Resource Network at Purdue, is the project director. Purdue faculty members planning and implementing the program include Signe Kastberg, associate professor of curriculum and instruction; Tamara Moore, associate professor of engineering education; and Lynn Bryan, professor of curriculum and instruction.

More than 2,800 students will be taught by the teachers during the program's two-year cycle.

South Bend Community School Corp. is a partner with Purdue in the Indiana Science Initiative, which provides comprehensive inquiry-based science curriculum for grades K-8.  The program, which runs through the 2016-2017 school year, includes materials, training and assessments. The curriculum uses research-based, hands-on, team instruction to keep students engaged.

Professional development for teachers includes literacy enhancements, mathematics extensions and assessment techniques. Lessons are tied to Indiana's Academic Standards for Science – 2010 and provide a complete classroom science curriculum. 

The I-STEM Resource Network was formed in 2006 to expand STEM education in Indiana and improve student success.  It is supported by grants from the Lilly Co. Foundation, Indiana Department of Education, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, BioCrossroads, and the Lilly Endowment.  I-STEM is hosted by Purdue University. 

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Source: Paul Ainslie, I-STEM Resource Network managing director, 765-494-0557, painslie@purdue.edu

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