Research Experience for Teachers (2014-2015)

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. To improve 7-12 student science and math achievement and stimulate interest in STEM careers as a result of better instruction and curriculum delivered by participating teachers trained in engineering content and design-based instruction.

  3. To support participating teachers in becoming role models by applying their research experiences in their classrooms and communicating them effectively to their colleagues.

Experience Provided

  1. Teachers completing a course, Engineering Foundations, during Week 1 and part of Week 2.

  2. Two teachers working as a team on one project for six summer weeks (Weeks 2 to 7). An Area Coordinator (Faculty Mentor) and a Graduate Research Assistant (Graduate Student Mentor) will train the teachers on the research topic and guide each research team on daily basis.

  3. Teachers taking a series of professional development seminars and workshops taught by invited speakers and a team of ten highly experienced engineers and educators.

  4. Teacher receiving 40 contact hour continuing education credits for the summer RET experience. Teachers can use their stipend to pay tuition for 4 hours of course credits that apply towards a degree.

  5. Teachers participating in four field trips.

  6. Teachers producing following deliverables at the end of the seven-week summer RET experience:

    • An individual curricular Unit which uses challenge based learning (CBL) and engineering design process (EDP) pedagogy to take back the RET experience to their classroom.

    • A team project report and PowerPoint presentation documenting: (1) the research project completed and (2) the classroom implementation curricular Units (two - one per teacher) developed.

    • An individual teacher student audience poster. Since teachers are not expected to be proficient in poster creation, training and opportunities to create mini project posters are integrated in the Engineering Foundations course.

    • A short (≤ 3 minute) team (two teachers working on the same project) research movie for other teachers. Since teachers are not expected to be proficient in movie creation, training sessions are planned specifically for this purpose during the summer.

    • A team summary report of the summer RET experience for submission to NSF.

    • A team draft of a journal article.

    Time and coaching support is provided for the production of the above deliverables during the seven-week summer RET program.

  7. Upon returning, the teachers implementing their curricular Unit in at least one course taught by them during the next year and conduct assessment of student learning following project protocols.

  8. Reporting for two school-year Community of Practice reflection meetings (planned for mid-December and mid-March).

  9. After teaching, the teachers preparing at least one poster for presentation at the regional CEEMS MSP Annual STEM Conference held in May each year.

  10. Disseminating the RET results to other K-12 teachers through a dedicated Website by each teacher contributing the curricular Unit implemented.

  11. Longitudinal Reviewing Support: The reviewing, critiquing, feedback and tracking progress of each teacher/team deliverable will be done by the RET Resource Person (RRP) using a dedicated Wiki Site developed for the project. Since teachers are not expected to be proficient in creating and using Wiki, training sessions are planned specifically for this purpose during the summer.

  12. Teachers will receive following monetary benefits or equivalents:

    • A total stipend of $6,000 per teacher, paid as follows:

      1. $3,500 by the end of the summer seven-week RET program.

      2. $1,000 ($500/meeting) after reporting for the two school-year Community of Practice reflection meetings and submitting the reflection report for each.

      3. $1,000 after submitting the completed Unit template, post-RET Unit poster, and movie approved for web implementation.

      4. $500 after presentation at the Annual CEEMS MSP STEM Conference in May.

      Note: The RET payments during the 2014-15 school year (total = $2500) will be made in installments and will be linked to the required items listed above (deliverables #2, #3 and #4)

    • Laptop on loan until Post-RET implementation.

    • Supplies to conduct research projects during summer.

    • Support for CEEMS MSP Annual STEM Conference: $25/teacher for conference registration and $75/teacher to pay for substitute teacher to release RET participant to attend the one-day conference.

    • Parking fees to park at UC for the seven summer weeks of the RET Site.

    • $200 support for Post RET classroom implementation.

    • Additional Incentive Travel Funds are available for publication and presentation at a regional/national conference (other than the Annual CEEMS MSP STEM Conference).

Performance Expectations

  1. You will participate for the full seven weeks (June 16 - August 1, 2014) from 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM. The lunch break is 12:00 Noon - 1:00 PM daily. The daily RET activities are typically planned as follows: 20 hours per week devoted to research and 20 hours per week devoted to professional development activities and production of project deliverables.

  2. Other than holidays no exceptions will be made to the schedule (no absences).

  3. You will receive the full summer stipend ($3500) at the end of the seven weeks. Missing any days will impact the amount of money that you receive.

  4. You are expected to participate in Pre- and Post-RET implementation, including time during the 2014-2015 academic year.

  5. Post-RET implementation includes: implementing the curricular Unit designed during the summer from the RET research experience; conducting and documenting results of pre- and post-Unit tests and any other assessments conducted; documenting the reflection on the Unit implementation; collecting student attitude evaluation data; revising the movie created in summer; preparing a Unit poster for the Annual CEEMS MSP STEM Conference; and submitting the approved Unit Template, poster and movie to be posted on the RET website. After the Unit is taught, the final Unit Template, poster and movie will be again reviewed and approved by the RET Resource Person.

  6. You will be required to come to two after school hour on campus (UC) Community of Practice reflection meetings (tentatively planned for Thursdays of second week of December 2014 and March 2015) and one final Post-RET focus group meeting during the 2014-2015 academic year (soon after the end of the CEEMS MSP Annual Conference in May). Thus a total of 3 RET meetings must be attended.

  7. You will receive a laptop to keep only if you complete the full Post-RET requirements, otherwise the laptop will need to be returned. (Second year RET participants will not receive a laptop.)

  8. You agree to come for an after school hour on campus (UC) meeting sometime at the end of May 2014 to sign the contract and receive more information about the 2014 RET Site program. The tentative date is set for Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 4:30 PM on UC campus (venue will be informed). Attendance at this meeting is mandatory.

  9. As mentioned earlier, the Post-RET payments (total = $2500) will be made in installments and will be linked to the items that are required as described earlier (deliverables #2, #3 and #4).