Almost 50 Maine middle and high schools will have a chance to redesign their physical science curricula with the help a $12.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to the University of Maine’s Maine Center for Research in STEM Education.
The grant will be used to form the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership, creating 12 jobs and generating curricula that will be used in 12 high schools and 36 middle schools. It also will fund professional development programs for schoolteachers and UMaine faculty and students, as well as the purchase of supplies for local schools.
The curricula will be tailored for students in grades 6-9, which are crucial years. The course of study would be organized so that students who reach ninth grade have a common background.
“A lot of students close the door on science and math in grades 6-9,” says Susan McKay, director of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education and a professor of physics who is overseeing the new partnership. “I think we can really set up students for success if we can take some of the research about how to sequence ideas and implement a curriculum using that research, so the seventh-grade teacher knows what the students have done in sixth grade.”
Originally published in UMaine Today Magazine, Winter 2010