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NSF grant to fund College of Education STEM research project


Purdue University's College of Education was awarded $2 million in grant funding from the National Science Foundation for the project "Using Principles of Design to Advance Teacher Education."

As part of the project, faculty from the colleges of Education, Engineering and Science will work directly with 240 undergraduate students studying elementary education over five years to broaden the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning landscape by integrating engineering design principles across five required undergraduate science courses. The intent is to establish a new generation of high-quality, exemplary elementary STEM educators while redesigning an existing elementary science teacher preparation model.

The NSF gave $1.5 million of the grant funds initially. The project will receive the remaining funding three years into the project. Professor Brenda Capobianco from the College of Education is the primary investigator on the grant.

"Little is known about how STEM faculty bridge their ideas and instructional expertise to create a new model for elementary science teacher preparation. That's what makes this project important," Capobianco said. "Our findings will help science and education faculty understand how preservice elementary teachers learn STEM concepts and devise creative new ways to integrate these principles and practices into their teaching."

Co-primary investigators for the project are professors Robin Adams, School of Engineering Education; Kendra Erk, School of Materials Engineering; David Eichinger, Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Department of Biological Sciences; Selcen Guzey, Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Department of Biological Sciences; Sanjay Rebello, Department of Physics and Astronomy and Department of Curriculum and Instruction; and Minjung Ryu, Department of Curriculum and Instruction and Department of Chemistry.

"The College of Education is proud to lead this transformative project," said Maryann Santos, dean of the college. "Because it focuses on creating better teachers, the project will ultimately advance STEM learning among K-6 students."

About the College of Education

Purdue's College of Education meets the challenges of educating 21st century learners by discovering what works in education. The college prepares highly qualified educators and conducts research that informs how teachers teach and students learn. With a focus on integrated P-12 STEM education and a commitment to social justice and diversity, graduates are prepared to be leaders in education, business and society.

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084,

Source: Brenda Capobianco, 765-494-9635,

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