DD: ENGAGE: Integrating Computing into Middle School Science Classrooms with Collaborative Game-based Learning

Co-PI: Kristy E. Boyer

Sponsor: National Science Foundation

Start Date: August 15, 2016

End Date: July 31, 2020

Amount: $672,928


The STEM+Computing Partnership (STEM+C) program seeks to advance multidisciplinary integration of computing in STEM teaching and learning through applied research and development across one or more domains. Building on a previously developed and tested prototype for computer science education in a middle school oceanography elective, the ENGAGE project’s objective is to design and study a more comprehensive curricular strategy for middle school life science using a game-based learning environment that will deeply integrate computational thinking practices within the life science curriculum. Topics will include the study of interdependent relationships of species in ecosystems, matter and energy in organisms and ecosystems, and natural selection of species and their adaptations for survival. Along with a focus on student learning, the project will develop and study a teacher professional development model to support teachers in the integration of computational thinking in middle school life science. Principal Investigators will gather specific evidence about the ways in which game-based learning can effectively support computationally rich science practices aligned with the new Science Education Framework (National Research Council, 2012) and the Computer Science Teachers’ Association, Computer Science Education Computational Thinking Framework (2016). Specifically, the effort will: (1) design an innovative curricular strategy and novel game-based learning environment to develop computationally rich science practices (developing and using models, and analyzing and interpreting data), for middle school students from North Carolina and Florida; (2) investigate how middle school students develop computational thinking practices (creating abstractions and models, analyzing problems and artifacts, and developing computational artifacts) in middle school science classrooms with the game-based learning environment; and (3) develop an evidence-based teacher professional development program that supports teachers in the deep integration of computational thinking into middle grades science.

More Information: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1640141&HistoricalAwards=false