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Computational Making Profile

Integrating Computational Making Practices in STEM Teaching


This project will create and implement a professional development program for 7th-12th grade teachers to help them integrate computational practice into physics, biology, and mathematics classes. A design principle of disciplinary computational making practice is used to create making spaces in which science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) content is linked to computational thinking though modeling ants (3D paper folding), microbes (complex systems), and automobile air bags (engineering practices). Students will be participants in the second phase of project as teachers and students will co-make projects that address issues in the local community. The project is funded by the STEM+Computing program, which seeks to address emerging challenges in computational STEM areas through the applied integration of computational thinking and computing activities within disciplinary STEM teaching and learning in early childhood education through high school.
The project is guided by two research questions about the ways in which mathematics and science teachers learn about integrating computational practices into their classrooms. The project will focus on disciplinary computational making practices: physical computing and digital fabrication activities inherent to many modern making spaces as a form of computational practice. Computation is central to disciplinary practices in mathematics and science and the recognition of the importance of computational thinking in K-12 education is growing with making emerging as a powerful context for learning. The study will focus on the degree to which three dimensions of learning for teachers (learning through disciplinary practice, attention to students' and their own ways of knowing, and interdisciplinary inquiry into problems of practice) influence the professional learning of mathematics and science teachers as they incorporate computational making into teaching.

Sponsor: Tufts University
Investigators: Brian Gravel (Principal Investigator); James Adler (Co-Principal Investigator); Timothy Atherton (Co-Principal Investigator); Aditi Wagh (Co-Principal Investigator)
Award Number: 1742369

Sponsor: TERC
Investigators: Eli Tucker-Raymond (Principal Investigator); Ann Rosebery (Co-Principal Investigator); Amon Millner (Co-Principal Investigator, from Olin College of Engineering)
Award Number: 1742091