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STEM Mom Speaks to Teachers at Princeton University
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STEM Mom Speaks to Teachers at Princeton University


STEM Mom facilitates discussion among teachers at Princeton University during their annual YSAP (Young Science Achievers Program) event. [April 20, 2013] …

STEM Mom facilitates discussion among teachers at Princeton University during their annual YSAP (Young Science Achievers Program) event. [April 20, 2013]

This event is for teachers who already implement student research and who are highly successful in encouraging students to DO science, integrated with TEM! This is the powerpoint used during our full-day workshop.

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  • I’m feeling very privileged to be here, talking to who believe is the cream of the crop of teachers who teach research. It is an honor to be here today. While I am
  • The STEM Student Research Handbook is written directly to the student.Although there is no teacher edition of this text, everything you need to facilitate research with students is found in this book. I have included what I call “teacher cues” throughout the text. These are phrases like, “Your teacher will either ask you to do this, or that.” That way you can take this as your cue to have this discussion with your students. After each chapter there are questions that align with the chapter objectives. You could use these as homework questions or as discussion starters. The Chapter Applications help students take what they just read and apply it to their own research topic. It reminds them what they should be working on. Sample rubrics are included for a research paper, oral presentations, and posters.
  • Google Docs is a place where students can keep documents up in the “cloud.”For those of you not familiar with this service, it is a place where files (not just Word documents) can be saved online, and then “shared” with others. For example a student working on a research project can post their proposal, and then add you, the teacher, as an editor. This allows you to view the document at any time and insert comments, highlight using colors and “mark up” the document like you would if you were grading a paper copy. This is especially great for groups because you can see which students are doing a lot of the work, you can see which students add what content etc.. It is invaluable to see how a group is functioning.I found that during the proposal process, having students post to Google Docs was very helpful.
  • Think/Pair/Share: Have participants determine what STEM is. And go to Google Document to add answers there!
  • Science: Content knowledge…what we’ve learned about ourselves, our planet, our universe. Knowledge is learned during the journey of finding an answer to a problem or question we have. And as the green arrows represent, we use use the tools of technology, engineering, and math to further the knowledge.
  • An engineering problem is answered by utilizing content area knowledge in science, and the tools available in technology and mathematics.
  • There are many ways to describe the spectrum of inquiry levels.According to this model, WHO poses the question, who plans the procedure, and who formulates the results determine the level of inquiry.
  • Nature of science: using a variety of methods, based on empirical evidence, open to revision in light of new evidence, science is a way of knowingEngineering Design: determining problems, designing solutions, optimizing design solutionsScience/Technology/Society/Environment: These are all interconnectedIt looks to me like the new standards are a step in the right direction, and fit well with what you and I already know about research…its how science should be experienced.
  • Since we have a wonderful gathering of experienced teachers we are going to spend some time sharing tips from one another. This should help each one of us be able to take something back to improve our own teaching.
  • I’ve divided the research process into 10 phases and I will be breaking you into groups to of 2-3 so we can attack the phases in small groups.
  • Think of the last 2 as Do’s and Don’ts. This is you your chance to share what has (and hasn’t) worked for you!
  • Let’s see if we can make sure each group has technology! –Count them off first. Ok, you have 15 minutes in your small groups to share and jot down ideas; Once each of the groups has had a chance to thoroughly think about their topic, we’ll do a Research Brain Blitz, that will help you to get input from other members of the group.
  • Talk, discuss, share, and write stuff in the Google Doc.
  • In this next activity you’ll be paired up for 5 minutes with another member of the group and you’ll each pick the brain of the other to better fill in gaps for your assigned research phase. [Have groups sit close together, and have group 1 go to group 10 at the time of the switch.]
  • With the added information you got from the brain blitz, work in your phase group to update your ideas and the Google Doc. Determine how you’ll share your findings with the group: Would like this to be entertaining…role play…skits…song…or just talk to us!
  • If you’ve never watched TED videos in the areas of science you are missing out. These will inpsire you, and show you where curiosity can lead.
  • If you’ve never watched TED videos in the areas of science you are missing out. These will inpsire you, and show you where curiosity can lead.
  • Fig. 1.2 pg. 9Once you have a general topic, begin thinking about how you might design an experiment…and do more research
  • From the teacher’s perspective….organizing deadlines is important for keeping students focused and moving forward.
  • Story: Student who did a project with mold without introducing moisture. I knew then, I had to be more involved in the process. Hence more deadlines and feedback.Focusing preliminary ideas is often a difficult step. Students either think too grand, or not grand enough. While you can provide a list of topic ideas, I actually prefer to share with them tools they may have available to them. On pages 6-8 of my book, I list a variety of basic tools and equipment that you probably have in your building. There is just something about students learning about tools or methods that may open up all kids of research ideas for them. For example, students may not know that turbidity of water can be measured. That may jump start a great research project. Research Design Table. This table organizes students independent and dependent variables, background questions,, constants as well as what the experimental groups will be. In a very short, one page, visually appealing manner, you know whether or not students have a sound research design. Background Questions: Library Research Questions:
  • Evidence of Data Collection: Bring in their Lab Notebooks, share with the group, photos etc.
  • Working with a mentor or not?E-Mentor…
  • Pages 6-8: While it may seem backwards to scientists, to a student who wants to experience research, sometimes knowing what tools are available can kickstart an idea.Ask around, find instruments and protocols that can be used to measure changes.
  • Organize a basic Research Design in a table. (pg. 33) This will help you focus on what is important. It will also help you narrow your background research efforts.
  • From Allison Hennings.
  • You can do it!!!!!! Even if you feel ill prepared to teach the literacy aspects of a research project, you can do it. I believe because of my background as a a Science and English teacher, my handbook does a good job of supporting science teachers in the literacy aspects of completing a research project. Not only do you have the right to teach literacy components of research, you have a responsibility to do so. So many careers include skills students learn while doing research, even if they don’t go into science.
  • Once students have a basic topic idea, its time to really begin doing library research….consider taking students on a fieldtrip to a university library. Make friends with your librarian!!!!!!!!!!
  • Pg. 41: List of sites that provide online bibliography organization tools. While it may be easier than ever to plagiarize, it is also easier than ever to keep track of what you read! You can still use the old fashioned index method of note-taking note taking
  • Organize background research within these areasEnitity: Compound, molecule, reaction, etc… you are studying
  • Pg. 44
  • Here is a student example of a student group who posted their Library Research Questions to a wiki. They had to add me as an “editor” so that I could add my comments. You’ll see mine in red.
  • Pg. 61 Students aren’t usually prepared for how much work writing a hypothesis can be. They’ve done a lot of research, they must clearly understand what they are manipulating and what they are measuring, and they may want to include predictions.
  • Wikis are websites that allow their members to have webpages that are easily edited. Then for each page within the wiki there are “tabs” that allow members to see the history which shows the time, date, and what edits each member has made. Another tab is a discussion tab which allows members to talk about the page as they are constructing it. Many classroom management systems (like Moodle) have their own wikis within them.
  • Ok, this is an example of how I use Google docs for grading. Sometimes I insert my comments right in the student work, in red text, or if my comments are more general, I insert a comment. Students can then delete them after they see them (however they can always be seen again by going to revision history.)
  • By going to “File” then “View Revision History” you can see the time, date, and actual changes made by each editor. This is particularly good for group work.
  • Here is a sample Wiki page I put together for students completing semester-long research projects. (I actually use a wiki as a course management system, so research projects are only a part of what I put on the wiki.) The organization for the wiki is along the left hand side of the page. The wiki name is TeachingBiologyLabs, and the name of this particular page is “IRP” which stands for Independent Research Project. At the top of the page you’ll notice various tabs. The on on the far left is the title of the page you are currently looking at. The next is the discussion tab, which is where members of the wiki canThe edit tab, on the far right is how members edit the page.
  • Clicking on the editing tab, pulls up a page that looks similar to word document. You can insert links, embed videos, upload images and files. My students each post links to everything they do for their project here in our class wiki.
  • This is in my course wiki page, and helps me to manage where students post their assignments. It also encourages students to look at one another’s work.
  • After clicking on the discussion button, you get a page “behind the page” that allows for interaction about the content on the “front page.” For students working in groups, it allows them to talk about the PROCESS.
  • The tone of feedback whether it be verbal or written must be supportive and encouraging. I’ll never forget the first semester I returned first drafts of my student’s proposals. I had spent hours writing comments in the margins, asking them to clarify certain aspects of their methods. Their proposals were dripping with ink. But in my mind, it was all done in love! I was helping them to become better writers, better researchers, and better students. THEY did NOT see it that way. I since have learned to communicate the role feedback has in the PROCESS of research. Always find something good to say! That’s not always easy, but students need confidence boosters along the way. Don’t give them specific details of what changes to make. Instead ask them more questions so they can flesh out the ideas themselves. (This also means that they may not end up exactly where you wanted them content-wise. You need to become ok with that.!)
  • Checking for understanding. This type of feedback is to make sure that students understand either a STEM content topic or something about the research process. For example: SH #4: Practicing Writing Hypotheses, will make sure that students know how to write hypothesesChecking for completion: This type of feedback provides accountability for students in that they know that by a certain date something needs to be done.For example: You may have students turn in their background notes after they’ve spent one day in the library. This allows you to spot check to make sure they are writing enough, and that they’ve organized their resources so that they can properly cite. 3) DUA: Do Until Accepted, means that students must produce “A” quality work, and they have the opportunity to redo the assignment until it is. This type of feedback is good when the success of the project hinges on this part of the process being done thoroughly. For example: DUA works great for the proposal process, where students are describing the methods by which they will test a hypothesis. This type of feedback is not always feasible, but is invaluable if you are able to swing it. 4) Class Brainstorming: Allow time for students to get ideas from one another. Students can summarize their research so far, explain problems they’ve had, and even ask for help in obstacles they have some up against. Keep these times student-centered, only interjecting when absolutely necessary. These can become wonderful learning moments for students.5) Peer Editing: Allowing students to carefully check one another’s writing will not only save you time, but will help your students become better communicators. Students can often see flaws in others work better than their own. I provide two Peer editing handouts in the text, one for evaluating data tables and graphs, and the other for the research paper.
  • Saves paper, Even if you give students ½ page with directions, students glue those in, and write data, and analysis in their notebook.
  • Let your OCD side out to be HAPPY! Getting students to see the importance of this!
  • Getting Students to see the difference!!!!
  • Google docs is also a great place for students to post their data.
  • Using tables and graphs: Answer Question #1.Why did certain groups perform better than others?Which groups had the most drastic changes? Are there trends in the data, what might these mean?What outside influences may have impacted the results?Are there outlier data, what could this mean?How might the procedure have influenced the results?
  • Wouldn’t it be great if the results of an experiement were always clear? Yes, data support my hypothesis, there is a connection! If the data support your hypothesis, but you believe it is not because of the IV, you need to explore the reasons for this. If the data do connect your two variables, but you believe this might be because of a research design issue, you will need to explore this. How you answer this question will be important in your discussion. You will either confirm or deny a relationship between the two variables.
  • Wouldn’t it be great if the results of an experiment were always clear? Yes, data support my hypothesis, there is a connection! If the data support your hypothesis, but you believe it is not because of the IV, you need to explore the reasons for this. If the data do connect your two variables, but you believe this might be because of a research design issue, you will need to explore this. How you answer this question will be important in your discussion. You will either confirm or deny a relationship between the two variables.
  • When talking to students about the paper or poster, talk about how scientific writing is similar and different than the writing they do for English class.Don’t down play the importance of scientists needing to communicate. Scientists are no good to the scientific community if they can’t communicate.
  • “In this present report, the results of an experiment are described in which coffee and tea drinkers were tested to see whether…”“We tested coffee and tea drinkers to find out whether…”The debate between active and passive voice is still strong today. Some journals require passive voice, in all section but the methods. In methods sections then, STEM scientists can either choose to write in 1st person, or use the term “researcher.”The best solution to this issue, is to have a place where students will be sharing their research, and follow their guidelines for voice and tense. ISEF, Google Fair, and others.


  • 1. StudentResearchDr. Darci J. HarlandAuthor of the STEM StudentResearch HandbookYSAP @ Princeton UniversityApril 20, 2013
  • 2. During Our Time TogetherFind Someone Who…STEM Student Research HandbookWhat is STEM?Defining InquiryNew Generation Science StandardsYou’re Turn: Challenges andIf you tweet about today’s event usehashtag #hsresearch
  • 3. FindSomeoneWho…
  • 4. The STEMStudentResearchHandbook
  • 5. Included in the HandbookWritten to the studentTeacher cues withinChapter Question & ApplicationSample Rubrics
  • 6. Groups, Technology, & LiteracyTips for working instudent groupsSuggestions fortechnology useLiteracy Aspects
  • 7. Introduce Google Drive for sharing &collaborationWord DocumentsExcel spreadsheetsAssignmentsProposal (Word)Data recording (Excel)
  • 8. DefiningSTEMThe buzz word defined.
  • 9. WelcomeWhat is STEM?
  • 10. WelcomeAnatomy, astronomy, biology,botany, chemistry, earth science,geology, physics, and zoology.
  • 11. WelcomeA) Tools used to build, create, anddesign, mechanical and digitalB) Digital teaching & learning
  • 12. WelcomeBioengineering, materials engineering,mechanical, environmental, civil,agricultural, optical, biomedical…
  • 13. WelcomeMeasurements, calculations, statistics;The language & tool of “STE.”
  • 14. Welcome
  • 15. Welcome
  • 16. Science teaching is…Supporting students as they ask goodquestions, and use STEM tools to findanswers to STEM related issues.Focusing students on solvingproblems in context of somethingwith which they can relate; studentslearn facts along the way.
  • 17. The TruthAboutInquiryWhat you know…but manydo not!
  • 18. Misconceptions about Inquiry Inquiry is not…thesame as “Hands-On.” Students don’t needbackground information beforethey can begin learning. Lab Reports and post labquestions are not usually Inquiry.
  • 19. Its NOT Inquiry if… students know what resultsthey are supposed to get. the question and steps arepredetermined for students. the teacher is workingharder than the students.
  • 20. Demo-nstrationActivity Teacher-InitiatedStudent-InitiatedPosing theQuestionTeacher Teacher Teacher StudentPlanning theProcedureTeacher Teacher Student StudentFormulatingthe ResultsTeacher Student Student StudentFrom: D. Llewellyn. 2002. Inquiry within: Implementing inquiry-based science standards. Thousand Oaks,Corwin Press.An interview I did for NSTA regarding my book.Levels of Inquiry
  • 21. New Generation ScienceStandards & FrameworkNature of ScienceEngineering DesignScience, Technology, Society, &Environment
  • 22. Best ofthe BestLet’s share what teachingand learning strategies workfor each phase of theresearch process.
  • 23. Phases of the ResearchProcess① Getting a topic② Finding mentors & materials③ Developing a Sound Research Design④ Background Research and Note taking⑤ Writing hypotheses and procedures⑥ Organizing a lab notebook⑦ Data collection (quantitative/qualitative)⑧ Statistics & Graphics⑨ Scientific Writing⑩ Oral Presentation of Research
  • 24. For Your Assigned Phase Biggest challenge for students in this phase: Biggest challenge for teachers teaching thisphase: Ways to teach, support, and facilitatestudents during this phase: Tips for teachers and things NOT to do duringthis phase:
  • 25. For Research Design Phase (example) Biggest challenge for students in this phase: Narrowing variable to be tested & constants Biggest challenge for teachers teaching thisphase: Focusing students’ excitement into a testable idea Ways to teach, support, and facilitate studentsduring this phase: Provide examples (pg. 33), Available tools (pgs. 6-8) Tips for teachers and things NOT to do during thisphase: Allow them to conduct an experiment that you’venot approved.
  • 26. Assess my Google Doc Go to Click on the image there This will allow all of us to compile adocument of the best of the best.
  • 27. Let’s Form Our Groups① Getting a topic② Finding mentors & materials③ Developing a Sound Research Design④ Background Research and Note taking⑤ Writing hypotheses and procedures⑥ Organizing a lab notebook⑦ Data collection (quantitative/qualitative)⑧ Statistics & Graphics⑨ Scientific Writing⑩ Oral Presentation of Research
  • 28. For Your Assigned Phase Biggest challenge for students in this phase: Biggest challenge for teachers teaching thisphase: Ways to teach, support, and facilitatestudents during this phase: Tips for teachers and things NOT to do duringthis phase:
  • 29. Research Brain Blitz One group stays seated; theother group will rotate 5 minutes to pick the brain ofyour partner & to have your brainpicked
  • 30. Back In Your Phase Group Update your group’s thoughts Update Google Doc Determine how you’ll share yourfindings with the group
  • 31. Phases oftheResearchProcess
  • 32. Getting aResearchTopic
  • 33. Getting A Research
  • 34. “Citizen Science”Getting A Research Topic
  • 35. Refine The Topic Idea
  • 36. Harland, D.J.(2013) “TheDevils in theDeadlines:Planning a Long-Term ResearchProject.” TheScience Teacher,80(1), 44-48.Setting Deadlines
  • 37. Sample Deadlines Focusing Preliminary Research Ideas(SH#1) Research Design Table (SH#2) Background Research Questions(SH#3) Evidence of library backgroundresearch Writing Hypotheses (SH#4) Research Proposal Organizing Laboratory Notebook
  • 38. Sample Deadlines (cont.) Evidence of Data Collection Organize Data into Tables &Graphs Peer Editing of data tables &graphs (SH#5) Rough Draft of Paper Peer Editing of Paper (SH#6) Oral Presentation
  • 39. FindingMentors &Materials
  • 40. Drafting the Mentor EmailProper TitleExplanation of Student BackgroundClear Identification of Need (time,scope, level)Reference to Published WorkPreviewedMonitored School Email Only Mentoring Guidelines Safety Protocol Permissions
  • 41. Consider the tools…
  • 42. Developinga SoundResearchDesign
  • 43. Cost Analysis“Grocery List”MaterialsConsumablesNon-consumablesVendor ComparisonCollaborative BargainingFund ManagementFundraising – Blog Event Sponsor
  • 44. BackgroundResearchand TakingNotes
  • 45.  Writing across the curriculum Science teachers teaching libraryresearch skills? Science teachers teaching note takingskills? Science teachers teaching writing skills? Talk to English department Work within the methods they use Documentation style (MLA/APA) & notetaking strategiesConfidence to Teach Literacy
  • 46. Continue in Background Research vs. Identifying reliable resources Free Open Access Scholarly research articles for free! See pg. 39 for a listing
  • 47. Read-Read-Read &Take Organized Notes…
  • 48. Efficient Note Taking Write 5 overarching questionsto answer Entity Independent variable Dependent variable Connections between the 2variables
  • 49. My Note Taking System References are Recorded ona single sheet
  • 50. My Note Taking System Notes are organized by 5background questions.
  • 51. Using a Wiki for Grading
  • 52. WritingHypotheses& Proposals
  • 53. Hypothesis Writing
  • 54. Wikis Easily editable webpages Multiple contributors Upload files and images Tabs “behind the page” History-who made what edits Discussion
  • 55. Using Google Drive for Grading
  • 56. Google Drive: Revision History
  • 57. Sample Wiki Homepage
  • 58. Editing a Wiki
  • 59. Tone of Feedback Oral and Written Supportive and Encouraging Find positive things to say/write. Don’t give them changes tomake, ask them more questions.
  • 60. Types of Feedback Checking for understanding Checking for completion Do Until Accepted (DUA) Class Brainstorming Peer Editing
  • 61. Lab NoteBookTeaching accurate recordkeeping
  • 62. Lab Notebook Record ofObserved changes Record of measurements Graphical Data Label sketches/photos Write procedures Calculating Analyzing results
  • 63. Lab Notebook Develop Tables for Recording Data Quantitative (#) Qualitative (descriptions)
  • 64. Pay Attention to the Details Monitor and record theinfluence of external variables KeeppH, temperature, humidity, light, evaporation rate, etc… theSAME if this is not what you aretesting.
  • 65. +Observations vs. Inferences A possibleexplanation foran observationYour perceptionof what ishappening.Can change withadditional data Measurements. A record of whatis seen, heard,smelled, felt, ortasted. Facts that cannot be argued orchanged.
  • 66. DataCollection
  • 67. Google Drive: Data Collection (Excel)
  • 68. +Recording Observations &Inferences
  • 69. Statistics &Graphs
  • 70. +Descriptive vs. Inferential Stats Calculations thatdescribe the data Highlight the mosttypical values in aset of data Examples: Central tendency;mean, median,mode Range Standarddeviation Variance Calculations thatdetermine whetherdifferences betweengroups are due to chanceor to the treatment Determines if results arestatistically significant Examples: t-tests ANOVA Chi-Square Correlation
  • 71. What do the Data Mean?1. What is true about my data? Whatnew questions come from the data?
  • 72. 2. How do the data describe therelationship between the twovariables?IV DVWhat do the Data Mean?
  • 73. Did thechange I make(IV), cause theeffect Imeasured(DV)?IV DVYes….why?No….why?What do the Data Mean?
  • 74. 3. Do the data support thehypothesis?Proved SupportedHow strongly do the data supportthe results?If no connection….why?What do the Data Mean?
  • 75. ScientificWriting
  • 76. Scientific Writing Similar to writing in English class Proper grammar & spelling Topic Sentences & paragraphorganization Transition words for organization Different than writing in Englishclass Succinct writing is preferable
  • 77. Passive vs. Active VoiceVoice & Pronoun Sample SentenceActive Voice1st Person (Future tense)“I will remove the ballbearing.”Active Voice1st Person (Past tense)“I removed the ball bearing.”Passive VoiceNo pronoun (Future tense)“The ball bearing will beremoved.”Passive VoiceNo pronoun (Past tense)“The ball bearing wasremoved.”2nd PersonDirective“Remove the ball bearing.”(Assumed You)
  • 78. OralPresentations& Publications
  • 79. Student PublishingJournal ofExperimentalSecondaryScience (JESS)Journal ofEmergingInvestigators(JEI)
  • 80. Failureis TotallyAnOption!CollaborationMust beModeled &TaughtTwo Key Ideas
  • 81. Welcomewww.STEMmom.orgdrdjharland@gmail.comTwitter: #djSTEMmom with Me!