STEM

U of Virginia to Study K–12 Student Engagement, Success in STEM

The Overdeck Family Foundation and the Simons Foundation have launched a new competition designed to inspire math and science learning outside of K–12 classroom. Projects funded through the Science Everywhere Innovation Challenge will be shared with classrooms across the country and also used as part of a research study at the University of Virginia.

The Science Everywhere Innovation Challenge invites teachers from across the country to share their ideas "for creative, hands-on projects that inspire students to explore math and science outside the classroom," according to a news release. Teachers who submit the best ideas will have the opportunity to win one of five $5,000 prizes.

As part of the challenge, DonorsChoose.org is collecting donations to provide classrooms across the country with the math and science supplies needed to complete projects from the challenge. The Overdeck Family Foundation and the Simons Foundation are offering nearly half a million dollars in matching donations to fund the projects.

Teachers must submit their entries by Friday, March 24, 2017. Over the summer, a panel of judges will review the entries based on a comprehensive rubric, and the winners will be announced on Sept. 5, 2017.

Winning projects must:

  • Cover core math and science topics;
  • Promote creative, engaging hands-on learning outside of class;
  • Clearly articulate a process with a beginning, middle and end;
  • Include goals and a method for measuring learning outcomes;
  • Demonstrate student learning as measured by external research evaluation; and
  • Be easily replicable in a wide range of environments.

The panel of judges will include six teachers with experience promoting outside-school math and science activities with their students.

Robert Tai, an associate professor of education at the University of Virginia, will lead the study, which aims "to understand the impact this type of out-of-school learning experience has on student engagement and success."

Further information about the competition can be found on the DonorsChoose.org site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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