Integrating Science with Mathematics and Engineering: Linking Home and School Learning for All Young Learners
Our Early STEM Learning team is working with preschool educators and families from disadvantaged communities to co-design resources that integrate science with mathematics and engineering, connect home and school learning, and support dual language learners.
With NSF funding, we are designing STEM activities for early learners (ages 3-5). Our multidisciplinary team includes researchers, developers of curricula, media designers, preschool educators and parents/caregivers. Stakeholders are directly and actively involved in the development and iterative pilot testing of digital and hands-on activities. This helps ensure that design decisions are evidence-based, take into account the interests of young children and families, link home and school learning, and address the needs and strengths of dual language learners.
Across the country, our youngest learners continue to have few opportunities to engage meaningfully in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. This is especially true in programs serving children from low-income communities, where resources are scarce. This project aims to investigate the integration of science with mathematics and engineering and develop resources that provide preschool children with integrated STEM learning experiences. It also investigates the connection between home and school learning and will develop resources that strengthen children’s experiences at school and home. This includes investigating the needs of, and designing for, dual language learners who represent a large (and growing) proportion of the population served by public preschool programs. Using design based research (DBR), the team is: (1) developing learning blueprints to guide the design of classroom and family learning resources; (2) co-designing resources with teachers and parents from underserved communities; (3) conducting a series of formative pilot studies with partner teachers and parents; and (4) conducting a quasi-experimental field study in preschool classrooms and homes to examine both implementation and learning outcomes.