Research Experience for Teachers (2017-2018)

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 | Application


This Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Site is for middle and high school in-service teachers in the area of “Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) and Engineering Design Process (EDP) Enhanced Research Experiences for Middle and High School In-Service Teachers.” It is offered through the Department of Biomedical, Chemical and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Cincinnati. The RET Site goals are threefold:

  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.

The RET Site will initiate 8 -12 teachers each year in engineering research. Each year, four - six engineering research project topics will be chosen to augment previous year’s work and to provide research experience addressing National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges of Engineering in Water, Energy (2 projects), Brain, Infrastructure, and Cyberspace. On each of the research projects, an engineering faculty member Area Coordinator and a Graduate Research Assistant will guide a team of two teachers. A dedicated RET Resource Person will train, support, guide, and critique the work of the RET participants. Teachers will take professional development seminars and workshops from invited speakers and a team of ten highly experienced engineers and educators.

Each teacher within the 2 member team will develop an individual teacher curricular Unit and an individual teacher student audience poster. Each 2 teacher team will produce a team project report, a team presentation, a short (≤ 3 minute) team research video for other teachers, and a team draft of a journal article during their RET summer experience. Each participant will implement his or her RET curricular Unit in at least one classroom during the following academic year. After teaching the RET Unit, each participant will incorporate the pre- and post-test and other assessment results documenting growth in student learning and their reflections, experiences and lessons learned in the Unit template. Additionally, the participants will also prepare a poster and a short (≤ 3 minute) video showcasing their Unit highlights for other teachers. The final RET deliverables produced by each participant, Unit plan, poster and video, will be disseminated to other K-12 teachers through a dedicated website and an annual regional STEM Conference for K-12 educators. The project evaluation plan includes assessment of both the impact of the research experience on the teacher and on student learning as a result of classroom implementation.

The CBL-EDP driven RET Site works to meet the growing need for engineering educated teachers who are equipped to provide learners with opportunities to achieve recently released Next Generation Science Standards and recently revised Ohio State New Learning Standards for Science centered in “real world application: connections to engineering,” as well as new, more rigorous Common Core Standards for Mathematics which aim “to better prepare students for post-secondary college and career options.” This RET Site:

  1. Provides an opportunity for the teachers to use state-of-the-art testing lab equipment and simulation tools used by engineers.

  2. Develops a greater RET participant understanding of basic and applied research processes, translating their experience into classrooms and sharing it with colleagues.

  3. Demonstrates to teachers that engineering research integrates science and math, providing them with a contextual base to instruct their K-12 students.

  4. Illustrates that research is often interdisciplinary and collaborative.