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Campus Programs - 2011 Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants

Over the 2011 summer, the PSP was fortunate to have four dedicated and energetic undergraduate students working with the Teachers in Residence (TIR), faculty, staff, and graduate students. Their six-week internships began with the Summer Academy in Winter Harbor, where they received an orientation to the PSP, and continued with group and individual work projects over the next five weeks at the University of Maine. All four students have interests in both sciences and education.

Rebecca Allen worked with the SEPUP (Science Education for Public Understanding Program) group, whose goal was to make the fall piloting teachers’ first experience with the SEPUP curriculum an easy and enjoyable resource. Rebecca’s work included: finding supplemental literacy materials for the reading activities in the units; creating documents to help teachers find the materials needed for each activity; and testing each activity to find the stumbling points. She also helped to find the math content in SEPUP, and to determine whether students would have seen and/or mastered the math needed for the SEPUP activities. Finally, she worked with graduate students on projects involving student assessments, and data about teaching assistant evaluations. Rebecca continues to work with the PSP this semester, helping to organize materials to send to piloting teachers’ classrooms

I have learned so much from my six weeks in the PSP. My work this summer has given me the opportunity to become familiar with many different aspects of teaching. This experience will help me be better prepared for my first day in a classroom when I become a teacher.    - Rebecca Allen

India Stewart was also part of the SEPUP group, working to make the curriculum pilot go smoothly for teachers in the fall by testing lessons and adding useful resources and guides. She helped on a project to create a “Teacher Pre-activity Prep List.” She also worked with data analysis for a graduate student, looking at student understanding of seasons. India is also continuing to work with the PSP this academic year, working in classrooms with middle school science teachers as they implement the new curricula.

Over the past six weeks I have enhanced my communication skills, gained knowledge about the technical aspects of teaching, and delved into the research. This opportunity has hooked me, a hook that will allow me to expand on the expertise I have gained.   - India Stewart

Alexander Belliveau worked with the 9th grade curriculum group. The goals of this group were to put together a framework for evaluating potential curricula, as well as developing a few recommendations about good curricula that meet PSP criteria. This work involved becoming familiar with Common Core Standards, AAAS standards, and Maine Learning Results for Science. It also involved creating a rubric for evaluating curricula, and teaching sample lessons to the Teachers in Residence group. Alex also worked with the PBIS (Project-based Inquiry Science) math integration group, looking at alignment with Common Core math standards.

At the beginning of this project I was very hesitant to contribute and was unsure if I could add anything to discussions. Now I realize that I had a lot of valuable insights to give to the teachers – mainly due to my perspective as a current student. I’m definitely curious to see how implementation goes with the 9th graders and also the PBIS and SEPUP groups.   -Alexander Belliveau

Vincent Lewis worked with teachers and graduate students in the PBIS group – editing and organizing lessons; checking alignment with science and math standards; and constructing wiki pages for the new PSP web site, which piloting teachers have access to. Vincent also worked with Chemistry faculty and graduate students, helping to develop an inquiry-based Polymer lab for the University’s introductory chemistry engineering course.

My research was very extensive, understanding analogies, understanding the learning cycle, learning about polymers and electrolysis, conducting trials, and writing different types of short papers for understanding this lab. The work I have done was very constructive, and I feel very grateful to have this opportunity and experience conducting research.     -Vincent Lewis

Thank you to all of these students for your great contributions to the PSP! We plan to make this experience available to a new group of undergraduate students next summer. Please contact Liz Burroughs with questions.

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