John Thompson and Michael Wittmann are co-PIs on an NSF Math Science Partnership grant, led by the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education, that will target the teaching and learning of physical sciences in grades 6-9 and the preparation of science teachers at the University of Maine. This $12-million project will fundamentally affect the activities of the PERL and the RiSE Center, putting much more emphasis on research on precollege teaching and learning and the preparation and professional development of grades 6-12 physical science teachers.
The Maine Physical Sciences Curriculum Partnership brings together forty-two rural Maine schools, the University of Maine, three Maine non-profits with expertise in science education, and science and technology leaders at the Maine Department of Education.
From the grant proposal Project Summary:
The partners in this project will collaboratively select, refine, and implement coherent, research-supported curricula and then provide the ongoing intensive professional development requisite for strong implementation. Also, students preparing to teach science from the University and other Maine colleges and universities will be participants in the curriculum selection process, professional development, and implementation, and will assist as teaching partners in the classroom as teachers begin to use the curriculum. Thus, at the core of this project is a partnership that focuses on the implementation of proven curricular resources along with the full range of critical supports. In this way, the implementation work to be carried out in these rural districts also provides a powerful context for the preparation of future teachers as well as a rich venue for research that both informs the project and helps document the essential design features of the underlying approach.