UNC, Mines Project Awarded $140,000 for Early Childhood STEM Learning Challenge

February 23, 2017

Feb. 23, 2017 — A national network focused on preparing and retaining 100,000 excellent K-12 STEM teachers by 2021 announced grant funding for a collaborative project between the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado School of Mines.

The $140,000 grant is one of 10 announced by 100Kin10 as part of the Early Childhood STEM Learning Challenge.

The funding will support "Partnerships for STEM Identity: 3 Populations of Active Learners (PSI3)."

"PSI3 reimagines science and math teacher preparation by pairing teacher candidates with seasoned elementary teachers to co-design and deliver engaging STEM lessons to K-3 classrooms," said UNC Associate Professor Wendy Adams, PSI3 principal investigator.

"The grant will enable us to both continue to nurture this program, while also broadening the reach of the project and expanding the number of STEM teacher candidates who are able to improve their pedagogical skills and the number of classroom teachers who receive rich, age-appropriate content."

In addition to financial support to PSI3, this grant enables UNC and Mines to engage in an ongoing learning community using the latest research in improvement sciences and receive support from researchers and field experts led by the 100Kin10 Research and Innovation Team.

The Early Childhood STEM Learning Challenge is part of 100Kin10's commitment to encourage the use of design thinking and apply solutions from outside fields to solve complex problems in STEM education. All 280-plus members of the 100Kin10 network were encouraged to devise "moonshot" ideas that answer a crucial question to improve STEM education: "How should we support teachers to create active STEM learning environments for young students across the country?"

"To better prepare all students to solve the world's most pressing problems, we need to help teachers deliver STEM content in active ways that support their students' creative use of this knowledge," said 100Kin10 Executive Director Talia Milgrom-Elcott. "Increasing active learning - which engages students in thinking, questioning, and problem solving grounded in real-world problems - for our youngest learners is a key part of improving STEM education and building a robust and diverse pipeline of STEM talent for the future.

"By inviting our network members to tackle the challenge of expanding early childhood active STEM learning through user-centered design and experimentation, we've seen tremendous solutions emerge."