STEMGenetics | Curricular Design and Research
Since 2012, bluknowledge llc has provided curricular design and research and professional learning services for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Discovery Research K-12 (DRK-12) grant: Designing an Integrated Framework for Genetics Education to Develop Innovative Curricula and Assessment. (Principal Investigators: Drs. Michelle Williams of Michigan State University and Kevin McElhaney (previously Angela H. DeBarger) of SRI)
This 5-year project explores the integration of best practices in technology-supported instructional design, formative assessments, and teacher professional development for genetics instruction across upper-elementary, middle and high school.
Curricular Design and Research: bluknowledge llc virtually collaborates with educational researchers with science curriculum design and assessment expertise, scientists, doctoral students, science teachers, and technology designers, to codesign the 4-week Web-based Inquiry in Science Environment (WISE) unit: Using Genetics to Get What You Want: Feeding the World in 2052. The unit promotes a deep understanding of heredity in animals and plants with (a) personally relevant socio-scientific context, (b) research-based instructional design principles and patterns, and (c) interactive scientific animations that teach about genetic transfer across generations.
Read A Design Inquiry: Bridging Assessment and Curriculum Frameworks to Engage Students in Science Practices for more information on the iterative design process. bluknowledge llc also collaboratively conducts qualitative research on student learning to investigate the impact of the Grade 7 STEMGenetics Heredity Curriculum on students’ integrated understanding of genetic expression.
Professional Learning: bluknowledge llc codesigns and facilitates effective professional learning experiences for teachers in Texas and Michigan. These in-person and virtual sessions aim to support teachers to
- articulate the design rationale and expected student learning outcomes for the Grade 7 STEMGenetics Heredity Curriculum related to scientific content, curricular sequence, and learning technologies (e.g., WISE, Idea Manager: Idea Basket + Explanation Builder)
- assess student-generated models and explanations to identify non-normative and normative ideas about traits and characteristics, genetic expression, and sexual reproduction and provide productive feedback that scaffolds students’ understanding of heredity
- identify and practice effective instructional strategies for facilitating student engagement when working in WISE, conducting hands-on learning activities, and during collaborative classroom discussions.