WRIST Teacher Activities
Activities of Summer Research Experience
Participants in the six-week summer research program will be involved in these activities:
Orientation and Training (Week 1)
Any necessary training such as safety training, techniques and procedures for PBL, scientific research ethics, research methods, current research and technology trends, and the use of laboratory equipment will be given during the first week.
Orientation session (Day 1 - 2): The teachers will get acquainted with current research and technology trends and clearly defined goals of the research projects. Detailed schedules of the summer activities will be presented.
Problem Based Learning (PBL) Training (Day 3-4): The WRIST project will provide a prominent vehicle for PBL-based instructional and laboratory module development. The PIs and faculty mentors will lead the training and help the teachers to develop an understanding of the PBL process and its implications for instruction so as to allow the teachers to design their PBL lessons. Through the PBL training, the RET teachers will learn how to incorporate the research experience into instructional modules aligned with state and national standards, and expand them to enhance their classroom effectiveness in the coming school year.
Other training activities on different topics such as scientific research ethics, research methods, and safety training will be organized as needed. Teachers and faculty mentors will also start discussing their research during the first week.
Individual/Group Research Sessions with Mentors (Weeks 2-6)
Individual research projects are carried out by the teachers and their mentors. Mentors will guide teachers in specific research projects and procedures that involve background reading, preliminary investigation, data collection, problem analysis, prototype building, experimentation and testing, etc. Daily or weekly group meetings will be held at which the teacher-mentor pairs discuss their research approaches and experiences, share their knowledge, and collaborate across project/disciplinary boundaries.Presentation sessions (Friday each week): Teachers or teacher-mentor pairs will orally present their research progress, issues and problems, and milestones in the research project. The activity will be held jointly with our ITEST SPARCS program to allow participants to share knowledge and experience of both groups, broaden their exposure to diverse research topics, and foster collaborations and networking.
Social activity sessions (Once a week, evening or weekend): Participating teachers and mentors will get acquainted with each other and build long-term professional relationships and networks. Activities include board games, picnics, Shakespeare on the Green at UNO, Omaha Summer Arts Festival, etc.
Developing Instructional & Course Modules (Week 2-6)
Industry partners will brainstorm with the RET teachers to produce suitable problems that relate to the teachers’ disciplines and have industrial relevance. The development of course modules will be coached by Dr. Michelle Friend and the modules will be based on the following components:
- Identification of STEM course modules to be modified and documentation of relevant course characteristics
- Identification of STEM content learning objectives, CS learning objectives, and their relationship to standards.
- Deployment and integration plan, discussing the schedule for incorporating lessons in STEM courses at the particular school or for developing a new course, as well as strategies for addressing resource needs and skills gaps.
- Lesson refinement and customization, discussing teaching methods to employ for each lesson module as well as applicable assessment options (e.g., project-based, exam-based, etc.).