Prime the Pipeline Project (P3): Putting Knowledge to Work
A group of 60 10th grade students and 40 high school math and science teachers in Arizona, as members of scientific villages, explore integrated STEM and business-type problems with mentorship by college students, faculty, scientists, and professionals.
Prime the Pipeline Project (P3): Putting Knowledge to Work is designed to engage high school students as active members of a scientific village comprised of students, math and science teachers, university faculty, undergraduate student mentors, industry professionals, and scientists. Participants include a cohort of up to 60 grade 10 high school students (class of 2011) and 40 high school teachers (half science and half math), from the Phoenix, Arizona east valley. Village members work collaboratively on problems that are of high interest, mirror the workplace, and have social significance with solutions that require the application of skills and concepts from STEM and workplace technologies while drawing upon a repertoire of problem solving heuristics. Students stay in the science village for 3 years beginning in grade 10 and participate in combined after school and campus-based academic-year programs and summer institutes. Math and science teachers participate as both learners and co-leaders. Teachers are engaged in professional development Connections Courses that focus on the key concepts and technologies needed to solve problems, strategies for assessing student understanding, and STEM career opportunities. Business and industry partners such as Intel and Microchip provide support by co-developing integrated projects, mentoring youth and teachers, and offering summer apprenticeships. The project website includes participant updates while encouraging communication and providing career advice. The P3 project's innovative design provides an opportunity to determine the effectiveness and transformative nature of a sustained 3-year scientific village approach as a means to increase STEM majors.