Notable Grants

Research Insights

Creating Cognitively-demanding, Conceptually-focused Coding Opportunities in Mathematics and Science 

This project will develop units of instruction for third, fourth, and fifth grade students that integrate coding into mathematics and science. Computer coding is an essential part of knowledge for the current generation of students, and it is important for it to be taught beginning at the elementary school level. Many students who are interested in mathematics, science, and computers in early grades lose interest as they progress through the grades. One way to pique and keep their interest involves using educational robotics and coding. However, in the increasingly packed curriculum, there is little time for coding and robotics to be taught as separate subjects. Instead, it is useful to integrate coding and educational robotics into other school subjects, such as mathematics and science. This project builds on frameworks from mathematics and science education to examine the level of cognitive demand of coding and robotics tasks. Tasks will be written with specific attention to the needs and interests of female and rural students, who are often underrepresented in STEM fields. This project aims to produce exemplary tasks that elementary school teachers can use as they integrate computer coding of educational robots into their regular classroom learning activities. This project will also create a framework that guides mentoring and professional development programs that develop teachers’ capacity to integrate computer coding with other STEM content areas. 
This project builds on a longstanding research-practice partnership to develop units of instruction integrating coding into mathematics and science instruction through use of argumentation as a pedagogical strategy combined with research into their usefulness. The units will be co-designed by teachers from Jackson County School System and researchers from the University of Georgia. This project addresses the following research questions: (1) What are the characteristics of well-designed tasks that integrate coding with mathematics or coding with science?; (2)What resources and decision-making strategies do experienced teachers employ when they design (and revise) conceptually-focused, cognitively-demanding tasks that integrate coding with mathematics or integrate coding with science (COMS tasks)?; (3)What are the characteristics of instruction when teachers implement COMS tasks?; (4) What resources and support do teachers need as they implement tasks such as COMS?; (5) What do students learn from COMS tasks?; and, (6) How do students, especially girls and students from rural areas, respond to COMS tasks with respect to interest in coding or computer science, appreciation of integrated instruction, dispositions related to STEM learning? Data sources include written materials, interviews classroom recordings, pre/post assessments, and surveys. Analyses of data will include quantitative and qualitative approaches including the use of a newly developed framework for cognitive demand of coding tasks along with a revised framework for supporting argumentation. This project is funded through the CS for All: Research and RPPs program.

Funder: National Science Foundation 

Amount: $1,000,000 

PI: Annamarie Conner, Mary Frances Early College of Education