Celebrate Black History Month
February is Black History Month, when we honor and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of some great champions of STEM—“Hidden Figures” who are hidden no more. We also celebrate by carrying their legacy forward into the future.
A central goal of the NSF-ITEST program is to broaden participation in STEM fields by students from traditionally underrepresented and historically marginalized groups. Over the years, ITEST projects have developed many innovative strategies for recruiting, retaining, and engaging these students in STEM education and career pathways. Click on the links below to see some examples of ITEST projects and materials that are promoting a more equitable STEM workforce and inspiring the next generation of STEM innovators.
Back to School - ITEST Project Adaptations: Tips from the Field
In the virtual and hybrid school environment that students and teachers have had to embrace as their new reality, recruitment and data collection have been among the most difficult adaptations for ITEST projects to make. STELAR connected with 5 ITEST projects to find out what major challenges they faced in implementing their projects during the pandemic. We found that although many stakeholders involved in the ITEST project implementation have felt overwhelmed by the numerous ways that they h
Creating 3D Plant Models Using Tinkercad and Fusion 360
This 3D modeling project addresses the disconnect between science, design and technology, and how high school students can benefit from innovative learning experiences in plant and agriculture sciences that integrate these disciplines while gaining interest in and skills for future STEAM careers. Students use the software Tinkercad or Fusion 360 to create 3D models of species of research importance at the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, MO. Students work in collaborative teams made of self-identified scientists, technophiles, and artists.
Early College Career Exploration Through STEM Courses and Apprenticeships in Advanced Manufacturing
In the wake of COVID-19, Greater Cleveland’s low-income families need a stronger pathway out of poverty. Cleveland’s residents are getting poorer: the city’s overall poverty rate reached 34.6% in 2018, up from 27% in 2006. For children, that rate reached 50.9%, up from 41.9% in 2006.
Students Build Augmented and Virtual Reality Plant Models to Understand the Role of Design in STEM
This exploratory project will study the integration of science, design and advanced technology in high school education through a set of innovative learning experiences in the context of plant science using augmented and virtual reality (AVR) technologies. Underrepresented and underserved students from both urban and rural communities will have access to novel educational tools while learning how to create 3D models of different parts of plants in small collaborative teams.
Digital Mathematics Storytelling: Fraction Stories from Urban Emergent Communities
Many elementary school children in urban communities are not given the opportunity to relate what they see in school to the mathematics they see in their homes, families, and communities. This project will help solve this problem through a digital storytelling approach. It will investigate how elementary grade children can use mobile technology to create digital mathematics stories. These stories will be made from videos, photos, and audio. Students will connect mathematics from out-of-school settings to the mathematics they learn in school.
Transforming Preschoolers’ Spatial Orientation: Leveraging New Technologies for Learning in Early Childhood Classrooms and at Home
The development of spatial orientation (SO) skills – the ability to identify the position of objects in space – is a strong predictor of math skills and later school success and academic achievement. However, even with the increasing evidence in the importance of SO skills for children, they are rarely included in kindergarten and primary school curriculum. This puts children at a severe learning disadvantage; children who lag behind their peers in school-entry mathematical skills are at high risk to continue to do so.