High School students at NHS took part in the 4-week Youth as Inventors program which engaged them in team-based invention projects, developed skills related to teamwork, leadership and communication and provided near-peer college student mentorship. During their time together they work through the invention process in order to create something to solve a problem related to the issue that they define within their community. This year, youth worked to solve various aspects of the marine debris and microplastics issue. Groups initially met in a afterschool setting and then spent 3 days at Hatfield Marine Science Center’s innovation lab bringing their ideas to life through prototyping and testing. Students finished their projects by presenting to their families and community members as part of HMSC’s Markham symposium.

Our scholarly work happens across research, teaching and learning, and outreach and engagement. The publications below show our collaborative work with researchers, educators, broader impacts professionals, and community partners to create a world where all youth envision their potential, have a sense of belonging, thrive and succeed.

Latest Highlight!

Troy E. Hall, Jay Well, and Elizabeth Emery, 2021
NSTA/Connected Science Learning May-June 2021 (Volume 3, Issue 3) 
As all science teachers know, the rate of scientific advancement is accelerating, far outpacing the ability of teachers or students to master. Nevertheless, scientific understanding is crucial to address contemporary social and environmental challenges, from climate change to food supply to vaccines. Citizens must be able to interpret scientific claims presented in the media and online to make informed personal and political decisions. Informed decision-making requires scientific literacy, the ability to decipher fact from fiction, and a willingness to engage in open-minded, productive discussions around contentious issues. Scientific literacy does not come naturally for most people; these skills need to be taught, practiced, and honed (Hodgin and Kahne 2018). Such scientific literacy skills are recognized specifically in the science and engineering practice of Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; NGSS Lead States 2013). However, these skills can be difficult to integrate into lessons because—while these practices have been identified as important—it is not well understood how to teach them in the digital age.
This article describes a biology lesson we developed that incorporates a relatively new approach to teaching middle and high school students how to fact-check online information. This lesson emerged out of a partnership between school science teachers, an academic unit at Oregon State University (OSU), and OSU’s Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) program. SMILE is a longstanding precollege program that increases underrepresented students’ access to and success in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and careers. For more than 30 years, the program has provided a range of educational activities, predominantly in rural areas, to help broaden underrepresented student groups’ participation in STEM and provide professional development resources to support teachers in meeting their students’ needs. Our lesson focuses on social media posts about genetic engineering (GE) of plants, but this promising approach to digital literacy can be adopted for other scientific topics and internet information sources.

More Publications

Washburn, Quinn; Wolf, Sarah; Well, Jay; Noell, Stephen; Lee, Chih-Ping; Bolaños, Luis; Giovannoni, Stephen J.; and Suffridge, Christopher (2021)

Oligotrophic: A marine microbiology board game-based activity for high school science classrooms

NSTA/ The Science Teacher—May/June 2021 (Volume 88, Issue 5)

Abstract: Climate change is a challenge that all students will encounter; in fact, they are dealing with its early effects now. It is important that students under-stand the role the ocean plays in mitigating climate change, and how every person on this planet is uniquely connected to the ocean. Identifying these connections can be challenging for students in rural or underserved ar- eas, many of whom do not live by, or interact with, the ocean. Through the use of the board game Oligotrophic and the accompanying lesson, we hope to show students their personal connection to the oceans, the carbon cycle, and climate change.

Talamantes, Adam (2020)
Equity Strategies: Community Hosts and Design Thinking in a Middle School Summer Camp
NSTA/ Connected Science Learning July - September 2020 (Volume 2, Issue 3)
Abstract: There is a growing need to document, assess, and evaluate strategies used to successfully engage historically underserved youth in equitable Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning experiences (Penuel 2017). Equity strategies relate to ways that organizations leverage research and practice to promote “the agency of the educators and the learners, and they present opportunities for collective efforts to challenge historically shaped inequities that many engaged in everyday science seek to address” (Penuel 2017, p. 520). iINVENT attempts to enact and assess ongoing equity strategies to provide underrepresented youth (e.g., rural, low-income, Spanish speaking, first-generation college student) access to equitable STEM education experiences framed as invention. The specific strategies are (1) using Design Thinking, undergraduate mentors, and open-ended invention projects to support engagement in camp activities and (2) partnering with community hosts to find a location for the camp and recruit local youth.

Rowe, Shawn; Riggio, Mariapaola; De Amicis, Raffaele; and Rowe, Susan (2020)
Teacher Perceptions of Training and Pedagogical Value of Cross-Reality and Sensor Data from Smart Buildings
Education Sciences, Received: 31 July 2020; Accepted: 2 September 2020; Published: 4 September 2020
Abstract: This paper discusses elementary, and secondary (K-12) teachers’ perceptions of cross-reality (XR) tools for data visualization and use of sensor data from the built environment in classroom curricula. Our objective was to explore the use of sensor-informed XR in the built environment and civil engineering (BECE) field to support K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiential learning and foster BECE-related career awareness. We conducted surveys and informal questionnaires with 33 primary and secondary teachers attending an annual two-day university-based teacher professional development workshop as part of a statewide STEM afterschool program serving students in rural communities. We assessed teachers’ familiarity with, knowledge about, and appraisal of using cross-reality platforms and sensor data in classrooms and after school curricula. Findings show that, while all teachers reported relatively high interest in learning about sensor applications and innovative interactive techniques, middle school teachers in particular were most likely to see value in using these applications for teaching and learning. Implications for teacher professional development are discussed.

Taylor, Seth; Calvo-Amodio, Javier; and Well, Jay (2020)
A Method for Measuring Systems Thinking Learning
Systems 2020, 8(2), 11
Abstract: The myriad of problems facing the world today are increasingly complex, dynamic, and transcend multiple domains. This necessitates the need for trans-disciplinary approaches capable of providing a framework to help solve these problems. Systems thinking provides the skills necessary for people to approach these types of problems. However, a lack of awareness and understanding of systems thinking hinders a potential systems-literate and systems-capable society. Systems thinking is comprised of four underlying concepts or skills: distinction-making, organizing systems, inter-relating, and perspective-taking. The path to becoming a systems thinker follows a process comprised of three levels—sensibility (awareness of systems), literacy (knowledge of systems), and capability (understanding of systems)—repeated across multiple learning phases. During this research study, a method was defined to measure whether non-experts learned the underlying systems thinking concepts according to this learning process. An experiment was conducted with 97 middle and high school students who were asked to draw a fish-tank system before and after being taught to apply the systems thinking concepts as skills for identifying elements, interactions, and roles/purposes. The results provide evidence to conclude that student learning of systems thinking significantly increased from the first drawing to the second drawing.

S.I. Bottoms, K. Ciechanowski, K. Jones, J. de la Hoz, A.L. Fonseca (2017)
Leveraging the community context of Family Math and Science Nights to develop culturally responsive teaching practices
Teaching and Teacher Education, 61 (2017), pp. 1-15
Abstract: This paper examines how elementary teacher candidates experience Family Math and Science Nights with culturally and linguistically diverse children and families. Weekly reflections were analyzed using Gay's (2002, 2013) Culturally Responsive Teaching framework to highlight the process of enacting and thinking in key areas: (1) Changing attitudes and beliefs, (2) Leveraging culture and difference, (3) Grappling with resistance, and (4) Improving pedagogical connections. An action-oriented focus underscores that teacher candidates need multiple rounds of practice to disrupt traditional notions of teaching and move towards cultural responsiveness. Findings suggest the importance of repeated practice, context, and focused guided reflection.

S. I. Bottoms et al. 2016  S. I. Bottoms, K. M. Ciechanowski, B. Hartman
Learning to Teach Elementary Science Through Iterative Cycles of Enactment in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Contexts
Journal of Science Teacher Education (2015) 26:715-742
Abstract: Iterative cycles of enactment embedded in culturally and linguistically diverse contexts provide rich opportunities for preservice teachers (PSTs) to enact core practices of science. This study is situated in the larger Families Involved in Sociocultural Teaching and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (FIESTAS) project, which weaves together cycles of enactment, core practices in science education and culturally relevant pedagogies. The theoretical framework draws upon situated learning theory and communities of practice. Using video analysis by PSTs and course artifacts, the authors studied how the iterative process of these cycles guided PSTs development as teachers of elementary science. Findings demonstrate how PSTs were drawing on resources to inform practice, purposefully noticing their practice, renegotiating their roles in teaching, and reconsidering "professional blindness" through cultural practice.

Ciechanowski et al. 2015  K. Ciechanowski, S. Bottoms, A.L. Fonseca, T. St. Clair
Should Rey Mysterio Drink Gatorade? Cultural Competence in Afterschool STEM Programming
Afterschool Matters (Spring 2015), pp. 29-37
The afterschool hours offer children unscripted and flexible time to explore their spaces and interests so they can learn in and from their surroundings. They engage with the world, exploring natural environments and connecting with others through social relationships. For example, during informal fútbol games with friends, children learn how to position their bodies to block opponents and take shots at goal. At home, they view cartoons on television and delight in characters that float by escaping from gravity. With their families, they prepare the garden in spring by collecting earthworms and expelling slugs. While interacting with the world, they build relationships with family, friends, and community members to co-construct understanding and share knowledge.

Bottoms, SueAnn I. (2007)
Inside a school-university partnership: Participation in a community of practice as professional growth
Oregon State University Scholars Archive
Abstract: Research suggests that long-term participation in professional development is critical in helping teachers meet the increasing demands of reform efforts and changing practice (Gallucci, 2003; Darling-Hammond, 1995; Little, 1993). Understanding the influence that participation in a community of teachers as a community of practice may have on teachers’ professional growth requires a deeper understanding of those aspects of teacher community that encourage or discourage participation. This research examines teachers’ perceptions as to why they participate in a community of practice. It also addresses what these perceptions suggest about the potential resources that participation in a community of practice provide in support of professional growth. This study utilizes community of practice as theoretical framework because it encourages thought about learning as participation rather than simply the acquisition of knowledge or skills (Wenger, 1999). This mid-level analysis focuses on the actions, artifacts, tools, stories, events, and discourse of the participants in a given context. It is a critical case study using a phenomenological perspective (Patton, 2005) to understand the essence of the experience of participation from the perspective of the participants themselves. Analysis of participants’ responses indicates that from their perspective, participation in a community of teachers as community of practice through a school-university partnership constitutes a resource for professional growth. Teachers in this study describe their participation in terms of leadership, disengagement, student-centered ness, pedagogy and pedagogical content knowledge, financial and material resources, professional development, collegial interactions and relationships, and shared personal practice. Analysis of participation is characterized by reason(s) for initial participation, for continuing or discontinuing participation, in terms of collegial interactions and relationships, and by changes in participation or experience over time.