ECU grant to benefit schools in three counties

East Carolina University was awarded a three-year mathematics science partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education for partnership with local education agencies. The program is funded at nearly $175,000 for three years.

ECU will partner with Beaufort, Craven and Wayne county schools to provide content and professional development for teachers in the K-8 physical sciences. Participating organizations from ECU include the Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education and the departments of physics, mathematics, science and instructional technology education.

The partnership welcomes 25 teachers from participating schools to content knowledge sessions held on Saturdays during the school year. Sessions will include hands-on activities, experiments, inquiry-based learning and integrated pedagogical discussions.

After the school year, teachers will form teams for three days of intense work developing a curriculum unit. Teams will teach their units to students attending a five-day session at the ECU Summer Science Camp. After the first year, teacher leaders will be chosen from previous year participants to serve as mentors.

Teacher participants and leaders will earn 84 hours of face-to-face professional development.

Pre- and post-tests of teachers and students will measure content learning outcomes and student achievement. Researchers will examine whether the professional development activities positively impact student achievement when participating teachers return to a regular classroom setting. Testing will track student achievement before and after the teachers’ participation and compare students with others in the same grade level.

Principle investigator of the grant was Dr. Mark Sprague, assistant chair of undergraduate studies and associate professor in ECU’s Department of Physics.   Co-principle investigator Tammy D. Lee, teaching instructor in the ECU College of Education, worked with local educational agencies to craft the proposal.

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For additional information, contact Tammy Lee at (252) 328-6736 or leeta@ecu.edu.

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