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3D-RST Project Overview

Video Overview
2022 Stem For All Video Showcase

3D-RST Project Overview

The Developing Three-dimensional Science Teachers in Underserved Rural Settings (or 3D Rural Science Teachers, 3D-RST) provides professional development to rural high school biology and chemistry teachers.

Primary goals

  • Principles:
    Develop a social support system among rural teachers by offering teacher professional development via
    technology-mediated lesson study (TMLS) that supports translating professional learning into classroom practice.
  • People:
    Build expertise and capacity among rural Utah science teachers to support three-dimensional science
    teaching – science teaching that combines 1) disciplinary core ideas, 2) science practices, and 3) crosscutting concepts.
  • Products:
    Create and disseminate high-quality 3D science lesson plans aligned with the Utah Science and Engineering Education
    (SEEd) standards and the Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that will be shared with teachers in the state and
    across the country.

Summer workshops

To accomplish these goals, summer workshops involving high school biology and chemistry teachers from four rural Utah regions are conducted to help teachers with 3D science teaching.

3D science teaching incorporates disciplinary core ideas, science practices, and crosscutting concepts to help students meet performance expectations by engaging with authentic science phenomena.

In the workshop, participants co-design 3D science lessons aligned with SEEd and NGSS by collaborating with the 3D-RST team and teachers of the same subject from the same region of the state. Twelve teachers participated in the first year, and 88 teachers will be involved throughout the project, beginning with biology in the first year and phasing into chemistry by year three.

Following the workshop, these subject-region teams engage in a novel form of professional learning: technology-mediated lesson study. TMLS cycles evaluate, revise, and create additional lesson plans during the school year.

This research

The 3D-RST team studies the effects of co-design activities and TMLS cycles on teachers’ changing capacity, practice, and social support system using mixed-methods research. Changes in capacity and practice are examined qualitatively through interviews, video observations of classroom teaching, and TMLS meetings. The effects of TMLS on teachers’ social support systems are analyzed quantitatively using social network analysis to identify individuals who act as information hubs for 3D science teaching.

Interviews are used to understand teacher social interactions better and help us support the rural science teacher community in increasingly effective ways. Using design-based implementation research, we will iteratively improve the professional learning experience collaboratively with the science teacher leaders participating in the project.

Intellectual Merit

This project will develop and test a novel model for science teacher professional learning applied to rural settings: Technology-Mediated Lesson Study (TMLS). We will learn how TMLS supports teachers in the process of translating professional learning into practice and investigate the impact of changing teachers’ social support networks to include teachers of the same subject from other rural schools. Additionally, what we learn about how unique contextual factors interfere with or support 3D science teaching in rural schools will help inform the design of more effective professional learning for rural science teachers. Although we originally conceived TMLS as a method for supporting rural science teachers, it may also work to support professional learning for any teachers in a remote instruction situation (such as was seen during the COVID-19 pandemic).

Broader Impacts

  • The TMLS model for professional learning is designed to be scalable and transferable to other rural areas of the country with
    minimal investment as Utah moves toward full implementation of the new 3D science standards.
  • This project will develop the capacity for 3D science teaching for 88 rural science teachers in four regions of the state of Utah.
    These teachers will reach approximately 10,000 rural Utah students each year, many of whom are members of the sovereign Ute,
    Paiute, Goshute, Navajo (Diné), and Shoshone Nations.
  • The 3D science lesson plans that participants design will be made available to all Utah teachers and shared with a national audience
    through the Achieve (authors of NGSS) website, which provides peer-reviewed 3D science lesson plans.