Students in the STEM Specialization will take a series of four graduate courses focusing on integrated STEM Education.
These courses can be used as a specialization within a Master in Education (M.Ed.) degree, or can be taken standalone as a professional development sequence.
This course introduces students to the discipline of the learning sciences and to designing integrated STEM learning environments. The course is taught through face-to-face discussions, hands-on investigations, and field trips to traditional and nontraditional sites for STEM teaching and learning in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Students in this course complete several projects, including conducting and analyzing problem-solving interviews, leading tinkering sessions where students explore emerging technologies to teach STEM content, and writing integrated STEM lesson plans. Topics covered in this course include: the development of expertise in STEM, formal and informal settings for STEM learning, effective approaches to STEM instruction, maker-based learning in STEM, and integrating new learning technologies into STEM classes.
This course prepares students to develop classroom activities connected to STEM that promote designing and making with new and old technologies. The course is taught through a series of class discussions, design experiences in the Simmons Design Lab and Deason Innovation Gym, and field trips to community sites engaged in traditional and nontraditional activities focused on designing and making. Students enrolled in the course will explore the link between designing and making and K-12 STEM learning, investigate the attributes of a successful design challenge, and outline the components of school-based makerspaces that make them innovative venues for K-12 STEM learning. Across the semester, students will complete three design challenges. Additionally, students will draft a grant proposal for the materials necessary to implement an integrated STEM project focused on designing and making with an emerging technology.
This course introduces students to the fundamental coding and technology skills needed to design computational computing assignments for STEM education. This course is taught through a series of hands-on tutorials and programming assignments designed to build skills and confidence in coding. Students enrolled in this course explore common approaches to coding in K-12 education, including block programming, object oriented scripting, and app development. Across the semester, students learn to solve problems with code using these approaches. The course culminates with an instructional design project where students design a problem-based coding assignment for a STEM lesson and create sample code to demonstrate how a student might solve a problem with computational computing.
This course is taught in a practicum style and involves deep engagement in extended investigations in STEM fields. Students in this course will choose a STEM topic for their “capstone project” for the STEM specialization sequence. This topic must relate to something that students could experience in the DFW community – such as a project involving water quality at White Rock Lake, a project involving mathematical considerations in DFW architecture or urban planning, or a project involving engineering principles behind alternative energy sources at the Dallas Arboretum. The project will involve the student in this course first engaging with the topic on their own, and then they will explore how they could use their topic as a vehicle for STEM integration and effective STEM instruction in their own K-12 classroom.