RET @ UC (2011-12)

Research Experience for Teachers (2011-2012)

NSF Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)
Middle and High School In-Service Teachers
"Challenge-Based Learning and Engineering Design Process Enhanced Research Experiences for Middle and High School In-Service Teachers"

Flyer | Application



  1. To educate, cultivate, and enrich science and math teachers' content delivery in their classrooms by exploring the engineering design-and-challenge instruction process and the critical research skills used by engineers to solve open-ended real-world problems.

  2. The participating teachers will become role models by applying their research experiences in their classrooms with colleagues.

  3. The teachers' new skills will enable their students to directly link their education to current events and the needs of their community and encourage them to become effective citizens in a technology-driven society.

Experience Provided

  1. Two teachers working as a team on one project for six summer weeks. A Faculty Mentor and Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) will guide each research team on daily basis.

  2. Teachers taking four one-credit hour professional development seminars and workshops taught by education and engineering faculty members and practicing engineers to aid the teachers complete the project deliverables on time.

  3. Teachers participating in four field trips.

  4. Teachers working with a team of five engineering NSF GK-12 Fellows on developing lesson plans before finishing the RET summer experience.

  5. Upon returning, the teachers will make a presentation at a regional/national education conference or a school/district professional meeting, and implement their experience in at least one course taught by them during the next year.

  6. The RET results will be disseminated to other K-12 teachers through a Open House held at the end of the academic year during which the teachers do post-RET implementation and through a dedicated Website.

Summer RET Duties

Duties are outlined below. These activities are spread across the six summer weeks, working 40 hours per week (9:00 to 6:00 a.m.), 20 hours per week (9:00 a.m. to 12: 00 noon) devoted to professional development activities, and 20 hours per week devoted to research (1:00 to 6:00 p.m.). More specifically:

  • In each team, one teacher will act as team leader on a weekly rotating basis. The team leader will be responsible for reflecting on daily activities in a log book which will be submitted at the end of the RET Site.

  • Every afternoon at 1:00 p.m. the research Faculty Mentor and/or GRA will hold a meeting of their team in which the team leader will present the work planned for the day and any problems encountered.

  • On the third day each team will present their goals and objectives, research tasks, and time schedule for their project.

  • Second through fifth weeks will be devoted to research and preparation of following final 5 deliverables:

    1. Team Project Report documenting the: a) Abstract; b) Goal/Objectives of the Project; c) Literature Review; d) Research Tasks; e) Methodology Used; f) Training Received; Research Findings; and g) a summary of the Classroom Implementation Plan. It will also contain an Appendix which includes: a) Project Pictures (minimum 4) - action pictures with captions; b) Writings of assigned seminars/workshops/field-trips; and c) Lesson Plan of each teacher (using a template provided).

    2. Team PowerPoint Presentation which shows the work in the Team Project Report, including: a) Research Completed and b) Classroom Implementation Plan.

    3. Individual Teacher Poster which illustrates, for the students, the exciting and interesting parts from the teacher's research.

    4. Team Movie: Each RET team prepared a 5-minute Movie showcasing: Research conducted in the engineering lab - what was done, what was found, what it meant, and what ACS (real-world Applications, Career possibilities, and Societal impacts) was highlighted. The movie is intended to introduce the K-12 audiences of the teachers to engineering research labs, problems, successes, equipment, and the overall scientific process.

    5. Team Journal Paper (draft), co-authored by RET participants and select project team members.

  • Every alternate Friday afternoon will be devoted to bi-weekly presentations. Each team will submit a written report and give a Power Point presentation in which each teacher participates in some capacity. Report and presentation will include the progress made towards the 5 project deliverables.

  • The sixth week will be devoted to wrapping-up the project and preparing the final deliverables.

  • Attend and complete the requirements for the 1) Research Training Seminars; 2) Special General Seminars for Lab Safety, Use of Laptop Computers Issued and Wiki Training, and Movie Making Support Session; 2) Special Skills Workshops on Ethics in Engineering Research, Engineering Research and Education, Poster Making, and Online Literature Search; 3) Education Seminar Series on Lesson Planning, Lesson Preparation, and Publication; 4) Pre-Engineering Program Series: and 5) a Professional Engineering Panel Discussion Session.

  • On the last day each team will submit a typed Technical Research Report, a Lesson Plan from research pursued, and a Display Poster documenting Post-RET activities planned.

  • On the last day a one-day Symposium will be organized by the teachers (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) which will include: a Classroom Poster Session (9:30 to 10:30 a.m.), Research Movie Presentation Session (10:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon), Lunch (12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m. - provided), and PowerPoint Presentation Session showcasing the engineering research completed and the classroom implementation plan of the research (1:00 - 4:30 p.m.). Each session will be juried and evaluated by an external panel of judges.

  • Teachers will participate in pre-RET and end-of-RET evaluations.

Post RET Duties

  • Implement the Lesson Plan developed during the Summer RET Site and assess its impact on student learning as set by the RET Evaluation Team.

  • Participate in two post-RET focus group meetings for one year and complete teacher assessment surveys set by the RET Evaluation Team for 5 years.

  • Oversee grant evaluation activities for their classroom, i.e., obtaining informed consents/assents from students and parents, and student instruments such as math and science attitude surveys and subject preference inventories.

  • After summer, each RET participant will present their work in at least one professional school/district meeting or a regional/national conference. Reasonable travel funds from one team member to present the paper at a regional/national conference will be provided.

  • At the end of the Post-RET academic year a RET Open House will be held to which local area teachers and administrators will be invited. Multiple session will be concurrently run for the RET participants to present their lessons.

  • Each RET participant will be required to submit in electronic form and a hard copy of the final Post-RET Lesson implemented using the web template that will be given to the teachers.


Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

Program funded by NSF & UC
Grant # EEC-0808696

Notice of Non-Discrimination Copyright Information © 2015 University of Cincinnati