Lawrence Hall of Science Research Featured in NSF Video Showcase

May 10, 2022

Beginning Tuesday, May 10, The Lawrence Hall of Science will be participating in the annual National Science Foundation (NSF) “STEM for All” Video Showcase. The virtual event highlights federally-funded research being conducted across the nation to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The featured videos share strategies and tactics for broadening access and increasing equitable outcomes for all students.

This year, The Lawrence has submitted two research projects for consideration and discussion. Now through May 17, researchers and educators can watch and discuss the videos, and even ask our staff questions about their work. Participants can then vote for their favorite research projects, with prizes available for the top vote getters. Read on for details about our videos, and information on how you can join the discussion and vote on the NSF Showcase website!

Community Science Investigations for Social Justice

Science doesn’t just happen in the classroom. This video highlights our East Bay Academy of Young Scientists (EBAYS), which engages local youth in scientific investigations based in their communities and driven by local social justice issues. In addition to improving environmental science education, EBAYS encourages students to become advocates for justice and to identify sustainable solutions. Participants in the program grew to value science as a tool for improving the quality of life in their communities.

Looking forward, the video shares strong evidence to support the establishment of a formal, classroom-embedded model based on EBAYS that could further broaden participation and teach more students the skills they need to succeed in STEM careers and as social advocates.

Learning at the Intersection of Science and Computing

We live in an increasingly computational world. This video showcases new research conducted at The Lawrence into the important intersection between computational thinking and science learning. As more and more real-world scientists rely on programming and computer modeling, it is becoming important to develop students’ computational thinking alongside science learning. The field is young, with researchers and educators just beginning to explore the cognitive practices involved in computational thinking, and how they are distinct from other commonly-taught skills.

Researchers at The Lawrence asked “what elements of computational thinking are learnable, and how can we measure students’ proficiency?” The result of their work is a new model of Computational Thinking for Science (CT-S), as well as an assessment tool that can effectively evaluate computational thinking skills. The CT-S model and assessment tool will allow further study into how engaging in computational thinking supports science learning. By centering computational thinking as a critical part of science learning, researchers hope to prepare students for success in STEM careers and broaden participation in scientific discovery now and into the future.

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