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NSF Commits $3 Million for Elementary Science Teacher Prep

The National Science Foundation has just awarded $2.9 million to study a program at Western Washington University that prepares elementary teachers in science.

This is the second announcement I've come across this month to help elementary teachers in this discipline (or STEM more broadly). Could it be that increased attention is coming to this area, which a number of experts have suggested has generally not received the focus and resources it merits?

The five-year study supported by the NSF will follow future K-6 teachers as they complete their science content courses and instructional-methods courses at Western Washington University, according to a press release. Researchers will also follow a group of graduates during their first few years in the classroom to gauge the impact on their science instruction and students' understanding of science.

"In this study, we will not only track our students into their first years of teaching, but we will also be able to isolate specific elements within our program to see what the impacts might be on teaching," Chris Ohana, a professor of science education and elementary education at Western Washington University, and the study's principal investigator, said in the press release.

In early August, I blogged about a new set of private grants to expand the work of the National Center for STEM Elementary Education at St. Catherine University. That center is devoted to both preparing new teachers to effectively teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and providing professional development and advanced certification to existing teachers.

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