Tufts CEEO Secures Five New Grants in 2023

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Biomimicry as an Authentic Anchor: Giving Teachers the Tools to Adapt an Interdisciplinary Middle School Curriculum

Funding: NSF – DRK12 (This project is funded through TERC and CEEO is a subaward.)

Project Dates: 8/1/23-7/31/26

Award Amount: $312,990

Project personnel: Kristen Wendell, PI, Ethan Danahy, CoPI

Project description: This study will examine teacher choices and learning within a professional development and curricular program that is focused on biomimicry as an anchor for interdisciplinary middle school STEM curriculum.

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The Smart Playground: Computational Thinking through Robotics in Early Childhood

Funding: NSF – DRK12

Project Dates: 8/01/23-7/31/27

Award Amount: $699,960.00

Subawards: Andres Bustamante (University of California, Irvine) and Marina Bers (Boston College)

Project personnel: Chris Rogers, PI, Jennifer Cross, CoPI

Project description: This project will co-design and evaluate an outdoor, distributed robotics-augmented playground to promote computational thinking (CT) with Latine kindergarten students and teachers from Santa Ana, CA using a culturally responsive approach. In addition, researchers will develop a set of activities aimed at promoting the development of CT while engaging with the different design elements of the Smart Playground. They will also investigate how the Smart Playgrounds model can introduce and reinforce CT concepts and how the co-designed technologies.

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Making One’s Way in Engineering: Studying Becoming and Belonging in Maker-Based Engineering Learning

Funding: Tufts University – Springboard

Project Dates: 7/1/23-6/30/24

Award Amount: $34,993.68

Project personnel: Brian Gravel, PI, COPIs: Chris Rogers, Ethan Danahy, Kristen Wendell, Greses Pérez

Project description: As students enter engineering school, they navigate complex social relations and settings that demand they negotiate their relationships to engineering as a field and identity. In this Springboard grant, we explore these complex processes of identity negotiation and what it means to belong in engineering. We explore making as an activity that might support students in mapping their histories as learners with the disciplinary activity of engineering, supporting identity negotiations. The project involves interviews and workshops with current engineering students with a goal of developing future NSF proposals to study these dynamics in more depth.

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Engaging IEP Teams as Co-Designers of Computing Activities for Autistic Students

Funding: NSF-CS4ALL

Project Dates: 9/1/23-8/31/25

Award Amount: $299,813.00

Project personnel: Jennifer Cross, PI, Elissa Milto, CoPI

Project description: In this project, researchers seek to develop new tools and resources to create a model of computational thinking activities for autistic students co-designed with special education teachers and other members of IEP teams. This work will be done in partnership with education practitioners including special education teachers, paraeducators, therapists, and administrators from the Winter Hill Community Innovation School (WHCIS). 

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Community Tech Press: Sixth-Grade Youth Expanding Engineering through Critical Multilingual Journalism

Funding: NSF – DRK12

Project Dates: 6/01/23-5/31/27

Award Amount: $1,278,386.00

Project personnel: Chelsea Andrews, PI, Kristen Wendell, CoPI, Greses Pérez, CoPI

Project description: In this project, researchers will collaborate with teachers, content experts, and community experts to develop a critical tech journalism curriculum and supporting materials that introduce climate technology and integrate engineering design and communication design for all students.

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