ACT: Addressing the Complexity of Teaching

ACT will develop and study an innovative model for a coordinated program of undergraduate science and education courses that focus on prospective teachers as learners. The purpose will be to develop teachers who learn science in ways they are expected to teach science as articulated in reform documents such as Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Sciences in Grades K-8 and the Framework for K12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2007, 2011). Contact: Sue Ann Bottoms, Kathryn Ciechanowski, Matt Nyman & Emily van Zee

Algebra in Context

Algebra in Context addressed the achievement gap for low SES freshman studying Algebra I by applying research-based, mathematical teaching practices in three distinct contexts--mathematics, science, and career technical education classes. The project was conducted in the School of IDEAS, one of three Gates-supported small schools (< 400) at North Eugene High School, who deliver coordinated instruction in algebraic reasoning to approximately 300 freshmen in a non-tracked algebra program. Contact: Rebekah Elliott & Larry Flick 


Oregon State University, like many others, is on the brink of a transformation where the bodies of scholarship concerning teaching and learning are being applied inward to comprehensively examine and evolve the institutions own practices. Our focus is in inspiring and studying change concerning teaching and learning in OSU’s large-enrollment introductory STEM courses. The ESTEME @ OSU (Enhancing STEM Education at Oregon State University) project is focusing on increasing the use of evidence-based instructional practices (EBIPs) to enhance the effectiveness of STEM classes. The project is supported by the National Science Foundation's WIDER program with project investigators, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students across the STEM disciplines and the College of Education.  Jana Bouwma-Gearhart is lead researcher concerning the project’s impact on organizational learning and change.  Contact:  Jana Bouwma-Gearhart

FIESTAS (Families Involved in Education: Sociocultural Teaching and STEM) 

collaborative project between OSU’s College of Education, 4H Youth Development, and the Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) program. The purpose is to enhance the knowledge of STEM related topics of Latino and underrepresented youth in the 3rd to 5th grades. The primary reason for this age range is to reach youth early in their schooling, especially those underrepresented in STEM fields. Because of the changing demographics of the K-12 population, which do not align with the demographic of the preservice teacher demographics, we think that engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse youth is needed. Contact: SueAnn Bottoms 

Free-Choice Learning Lab

Oregon Sea Grant‘s Free-Choice Learning Lab uses real-time assessment and evaluation allowing visitors at the Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitors Center the opportunity to construct knowledge across learning contexts and become active participants in research. The project funded by NSF has three components: 1) deployment of cyberlab evaluation tools including facial recognition software, 2) development of three research platforms and associated research, and 3) development of an ISE Cyber Scholars program that brings ISE professionals from around the country to work in the setting to develop their own research questions and building capacity for similar work in different sties. All research tools and data are available remotely allowing graduate students and faculty studying learning at OSU in multiple programs to do their research at the coast from Corvallis. Contact: Shawn Rowe 

Oregon Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership (OMTEP)

An APLU-SMTI sponsored project that plays a significant role in furthering work already underway in Oregon. The Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership offers broad opportunities for the OMTEP to share strategic goals, new knowledge and strategies among institutions around the country in the critical area of mathematics teacher education. We take teacher education to mean both the academic preparation and internship experiences for new teachers and the professional development of professional teachers and university faculty in collaborative partnerships. As with all disciplined inquiry, partners will commit to observe critique, reflect, and debate the efficacy of their work in the light of high quality data collected in a variety of formats. The Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) imply a new way of doing business that requires a long-term view of changing how mathematics is taught. Contact: Rebekah Elliott

Research in Mathematics Leader Learning

RMLL is a large-scale, multi-site, two-phased research cycle with WestEd and the University of Washington through a $2.2 million National Science Foundation research grant. RMLL is a qualitative and quantitative study of 70 leaders with a 40-leader comparison group and 13 video-based case studies of leaders working with more than 150 teachers. In addition to complex research design in sites distributed across the United States, as part of the study, we have written two series of video and narrative case-based modules and developed over 100 hours of materials for leaders. Contact: Rebekah Elliott 

Secondary Science and Mathematics Teachers Learning Practice

Secondary Science and Mathematics Teachers Learning Practice centers on a premise that to learn skilled instructional practice that attends to ambitious learning goals for all students there are three essential components: (1) novice teachers need to examine teaching using student work, lesson plans, video of teaching/learning; (2) they need to engage in guided or scaffolded opportunities to teach; and (3) they need focused feedback and assessment on the quality of instruction. It is believed this project will have a significant effect on our novice teachers’ abilities to enact ambitious teaching of science and mathematics in the classroom and will inform the work of teacher education more broadly. Contact: Rebekah Elliott and Wendy Aaron

Science and Engineering in the Lives of Students 

A partnership with Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Science Media Group, Chemeketa and Rogue Community Colleges, and Vernier Software & Technology. The project has produced a website (release Summer 2013) containing video examples of how science is used in construction engineering contexts. The central principle is to explore science that students actually use or experience in everyday living. The activities, web links, and other resources are organized to explore the science topics of thermodynamics, electricity, and mechanics of materials. Contact: Larry Flick 

Strengthening Yields in Mathematics through Metrics, Evaluation, and Teaching, Research to Improve Educational Systems (Symmetries)

Symmetries applies the improvement science process of networked improvement communities to the problem of student performance in mathematics and, eventually, to other STEM subjects from elementary to college within a K-16 partnership. The target of our work is supporting successful mathematics transitions from elementary school through college, i.e. math transitions from elementary school to middle school to high school to college. We argue that mathematics is a lynchpin for student academic success. Contact: Larry Flick

Synergies in the Parkrose Community

A four-year longitudinal study, funded by the Noyce and Lemelson Foundations, to understand how, when, where, why and with whom children access and use STEM resources in their daily lives. The premise of SYNERGIES is that if one better understands how children become interested and engaged with STEM (or not) across settings, time and space, it will be possible to create a community-wide, research-based educational system that is more effective and synergistic. Underlying this applied research is the creation of a complex Agent-Based computer model of STEM learning activity within Parkrose. This model will allow Parkrose citizens, STEM educators and learning researchers to visualize the multi-dimensional dynamics of STEM learning engaged in by Parkrose children: in school, watching TV, visiting museums and natural areas, and surfing the Internet, etc. It will also be a tool to test the power of possible educational interventions designed to improve the STEM learning system in Parkrose that can be broadly applied to long-term STEM education improvements locally, nationally and internationally. Components of the project are currently being replicated in Colorado and South Korea. Contact: John Falk & Lynn Dierking 

Teaching with Technology

An online Masters of Science program in both Science Education and in Mathematics Education has an emphasis on interdisciplinary teaching and learning with current and emerging technologies in the K-12 classroom. The program is informed by Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge framework (TPACK) that supports an online community of learners in supporting TPACK development where shared and individual knowledge are key components in the learning. Contact: Maggie Niess 

Tracking the Processes of Data Driven Decision-Making In Higher Education

This project concerns the cognitive, social, and organizational factors that shape how STEM faculty plan and teach their courses, and implications for organizational change. The study uses a longitudinal mixed methods case study design to study decision-making and instructional practice over the course of three years at three research universities with active STEM education projects, treating teaching as a multi-dimensional practice that cannot be reduced to a single data point, and instead is comprised of course planning, classroom practice that is studied using the Teaching Dimensions Observation Protocol (TDOP), and student interpretations of teaching efficacy. After each round of data analysis, reports are provided to STEM education leaders, and analysts will then assess the utility of these data by interviewing these leaders in each year of the project. This project was previously funded by the National Science Foundation and involved faculty and students from OSU and University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Contact:  Jana Bouwma-Gearhart


VISTA translates research-based best teaching practices into improved science teaching and student learning for all students at all levels. For elementary teachers, VISTA provides professional development and coaching to support inclusion of inquiry-based and explicit nature of science instruction in the context of problem-based learning. For early career middle and high school teachers, VISTA professional development and coaching emphasizes how to effectively teach inquiry-based science with and without technology, how to use student performance to drive future instruction, and how to adapt instruction for diverse learners. Contact: Randy Bell