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SLED Profile

Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) Targeted Partnership


The Targeted Math-Science Partnership of Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) vision is to increase grade 3-6 student learning of science by developing Indiana's first integrated, engineering design-based approach to elementary/intermediate school science education. The partnership involves Purdue University's colleges of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Education working with four Indiana school districts: Taylor Community School Corporation, Plymouth School Corporation, Lafayette School Corporation, and Tippecanoe School Corporation. The project is devising a design- and standards-based curriculum, inventing design-informed science instructional methods, and implementing on-going assessments to inform the project at the pre- and in-service teacher education levels in central Indiana. The partnership is using summer institutes, linkages with Purdue pre-service teachers, cyber-infrastructure, action research, and graduate coursework to equip teachers with design-based pedagogical skills and science content. An external advisory board consisting of recognized experts in science education, mathematics education, and engineering design meet annually to provide input to the project team.

The project has four interrelated components:
1) collaboration between STEM disciplinary faculty and grades 3-6 teachers to adapt and develop engineering design-based tasks;
2) an in-service teacher professional development program to equip grades 3-6 teachers in partnering schools to use engineering design as a tool for teaching science through authentic, inquiry-based, multi-disciplinary design units;
3) a pre-service teacher education program to prepare future elementary school teachers to teach science using the engineering design process; and
4) research that will investigate how grades 3-6 teachers teach science through the engineering design process and how students learn through design-based activities.

Specific outcomes that the partnership is working to produce include:
1) In-service professional development for 200 elementary/intermediate school teachers and preparation of 100 pre-service teachers in the use of engineering design to teach science through authentic, inquiry-based, multi-disciplinary design projects.
2) Improved science achievement of 5,000 students in grades 3-6 in the partner schools through exposure to engineering design-based curriculum and activities implemented by teachers.
3) A library of tested, design-based curricular materials to support teaching science in grades 3-6.
4) Creation of a cyber-infrastructure-enabled community of practice related to science education through engineering design that can disseminate grades 3-6 engineering design-based curriculum materials.
5) Research on the understanding of how teachers teach science through the engineering design process and how young students learn science through design-based activities.
6) Institutionalization of engineering design-based innovation through the development of an undergraduate engineering design-focused science methods course, a graduate course for in-service teachers and STEM graduate students, and the integration of engineering design-based curriculum in grades 3-6 of partner schools.

Site Contributions
08/07/19Investigating Elementary Teachers’ Tensions and Mitigating Strategies Related to Integrating Engineering Design-Based Science Instruction
10/16/18Examining Elementary School Students’ Transfer of Learning Through Engineering Design Using Think-Aloud Protocol Analysis
10/25/17SLED Design Resources
04/12/17Examining Elementary School Students' Mental Models of Sun-Earth Relationships as a Result of Engaging in Engineering Design
07/27/16Impact of Elementary School Teachers' Enacted Engineering Design-Based Science Instruction on Student Learning (Fundamental)
05/27/15Tracking Science: Following the STEM Trend
05/13/15Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED)
02/26/15Collaborations in a Community of Practice Working to Integrate Engineering Design in Elementary Science Education
06/18/12Purdue helps teachers engineer fun science projects
05/03/12Creating Shared Instructional Products for Integrating Engineering Education in the Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) Partnership
04/06/12Promoting Effective Teaching in Science Learning through Engineering Design [SLED]
04/05/12Think-aloud Protocol Analysis as a Measure of Students' Science Learning through Design Assessment
06/20/11Video Spotlight: Science Learning through Engineering Design
06/18/11Easier sledding for new science, engineering teaching effort
05/07/11Fun lessons teach science by design
03/02/11Understanding Student Success in the Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) Partnership