AERA Showcases Research Advancing Science Learning at 25th Annual CNSF Exhibition on Capitol Hill
AERA Showcases Research Advancing Science Learning at 25th Annual CNSF Exhibition on Capitol Hill

May 2019

AERA member Mimi Recker, professor of instructional technology and learning sciences at Utah State University, participated in the 25th Annual Exhibition of the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) on April 30. The yearly Capitol Hill event is a major showcase of research and education projects supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Mimi Recker

More than 30 projects accomplished through NSF grants were on display at this year’s exhibition in the Rayburn House Office Building, titled “Building the Future: Federal Investments in Science, Engineering and Education.” AERA’s exhibit booth featured Recker’s project, a research-practice partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder, Utah State University, and Denver Public Schools, which aims to advance middle school science learning through computing technologies.

Recker Discusses her NSF-funded
research at the 25th Annual
CNSF Exhibition

Titled “School Wide Labs: Supporting the Integration of Computational Thinking into Middle School Science through Curriculum and Professional Development,” Recker’s project sought to develop professional learning processes and tools to support the integration of computational thinking into middle school science using a sensing platform.

The project, which developed two real-life “storylines,” engaged 650 diverse grade 5–8 students from five public schools in Denver, Colorado. Students used the sensory platform to collect real-time data to analyze and help inform answers on scientific investigations in their school and community.

Through the NSF grant supporting this work, teachers have been given professional development opportunities to create lessons to use in middle school classrooms to engage students in computational thinking.

In addition to presenting her research at the exhibition, Recker visited staff of congressional offices in the Utah delegation, including Sen. Mike Lee (R), Sen. Mitt Romney (R), Rep. Bob Bishop (R), and Rep. Ben McAdams (D). Recker discussed the importance of increasing federal investment in education research and in the social and behavioral sciences more broadly.

Particpants of the 25th Annual
CNSF Exhibition

Other social and behavioral science associations participating in the exhibition included the American Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association, the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences, the Society for Research in Child Development, and more.


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