Smithsonian Science for NC and SC Classrooms
About the Project
In 2019, the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) was awarded an early-phase Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant (PR# U411C190055) for its proposal “Smithsonian Science for the Classroom: Improving Student Achievement Across State Borders and State Standards.” The grant program, administered by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) at the U.S. Department of Education, supports the development, implementation, and initial evaluation of evidence-based innovations to improve student achievement.
The project, titled Smithsonian Science for North and South Carolina Classrooms, will be conducted between October 2019 – September 2024 in North and South Carolina. This project will impact third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms in about 50 schools across seven districts in the two states. For more information, contact Katie Gainsback, Program Manager (email@example.com).
The goals of the project are to provide curriculum and content professional development to teachers in an ongoing manner, focused on student learning in science and engineering to result in increased teacher confidence and preparedness that will translate to increased student achievement in science, math, and reading.
Participating schools will receive:
• Smithsonian Science for the Classroom modules at grades 3-5.
• Professional learning opportunities for each module taught.
• Modest stipends for participating grade 3-5 teachers.
• Increased local capacity via a cadre of teachers trained in inquiry-based teaching.
• Insight into the impact of phenomenon-based curriculum on student achievement in each state.
North and South Carolina
The North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center is the regional partner and liaison in North Carolina. They identified Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Polk County School Districts to participate. The South Carolina Coalition for Mathematics and Science is the regional partner and liaison in South Carolina. They identified Marion, Marlboro, and Orangeburg County School Districts to participate.
The Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP) at the University of Memphis will evaluate the impact of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom modules and professional development on student achievement using standardized assessments, classroom observations, teacher surveys, and focus groups. Participating schools will be randomly assigned as either “treatment” or “comparison” schools. Treatment schools will receive both an engineering and science module at grades 3-5 with two levels of accompanying professional development. Comparison schools will teach science using “business-as-usual” for years 1-4 of the research study, but will receive one module and one level of professional development from SSEC in the final year of the project.