Making Science Visible

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this five-year project explores how interactive dynamic visualizations can improve science learning for 8th-grade linguistically diverse students during inquiry instruction.

Technology and Curriculum Design

  • Collaborating with science and ESL teachers at low-income middle schools, we develop simulations, modeling tools, and animations to make abstract scientific concepts visible to linguistically diverse students.
  • We integrate these visualizations into web-based inquiry projects to improve students' understanding of science through discourse-rich science practices.

Research Questions

  • How can dynamic visualizations improve science learning for English Learners (ELs) and non-ELs?
  • How can log data automatically captured from visualizations provide insight into students' learning patterns?
  • How can simulations and modeling tools engage ELs and non-ELs in discourse-rich science practices?
  • How does engaging science teachers in designing, implementing, and refining visualizations help them develop their understanding of how to use visualizations to support linguistically diverse students?

Iterative Design to Engage All (IDEA) Learners

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), this five-year project explores the extent to which engaging teachers in iterative design processes with scientists increases their content knowledge of and self-efficacy for incorporating current biomedical science into their teaching.

Technology and Curriculum Design

  • Using a design thinking process, we work with high school STEM teachers and scientists to develop, test, and revise curricula for students, particularly minority students and female students who are underrepresented in STEM.
  • Our curricula will focus on cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as a foundation and incorporate research-generated data.

Research Questions

  • How does engaging teachers in iterative design processes increase their knowledge of current PFAS research, systems biology, and biomedical research careers over time?
  • How does engaging teachers in iterative design processes increase their self-efficacy for incorporating current biomedical science into their teaching over time?
  • How did the unit increase students’ awareness and interest in biomedical research careers?
  • Were there any differences in student outcomes by gender and underrepresented minority (URM) status?

Adaptive Intelligent Models (AIM)

Funded by the UNC IDEA grant and SOE Seed Funding, this project explores the effects of Adaptive Intelligent Models (AIM) that provide students with adaptive, automated feedback based on their performance and teachers with interactive dashboards.

Technology Design

  • We develop prototypes of automated feedback systems for AIM tools and dashboards to help teachers monitor student progress.

Research Questions

  • How can we design effective automated feedback to promote linguistically diverse students' science learning?
  • How can real-time, automated feedback engage ELs and non-ELs in discourse-rich modeling practice?
  • How can we design dashboards to help science teachers understand linguistically diverse students' learning progress and levels of understanding?
  • How do science teachers use dashboards to modify their instruction during COVID-19?

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Microscope

Funded by NSF, the DIY Microscope project (PI: Dr. Bob Goldstein) provides elementary school teachers and STEM specialists with free, hands-on workshops about building their own microscopes. Collaborating with Dr. Goldstein, we research how the workshops help teachers and STEM specialists use the microscopes to address curriculum goals and increase their students' interest in science.

Research Questions

  • How can hands-on, microscope-building workshops help elementary school teachers use DIY microscopes in their classrooms to increase their students' interest in science?
  • How do elementary school teachers use the DIY microscopes to teach science?

Targeting Equity in Access to Mentoring (TEAM) ADVANCE

Funded by NSF, TEAM ADVANCE (PI: Dr. Malloy) promotes accessible, equitable, and effective mentoring across the University, with emphasis on supporting women of color and white women in STEM fields. We provide educational materials and resources to chairs, deans, and administrators to support departmental mentoring. We also offer intersectionality-informed programs to improve faculty mentor and mentee experiences at each faculty career stage.

Research Questions

  • What is the impact of participation in TEAM ADVANCE mentoring on early- and mid-career faculty? Are there any differences by gender and race?
  • To what extent does racial and gender-relevant mentoring capacity improve among faculty mentors?
  • In which ways and to what extent does the Special Assistant to the Provost for Faculty Development (SAPFD) facilitate an increase in the amount and perceived quality of mentoring of underrepresented early- and mid-career STEM faculty members?