National Science Foundation Awards Museum BEST Grant
June 15, 2010
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $899,072 to the Museum of Science, Boston for "Bridging Engineering, Science and Technology (BEST) for Elementary Educators." This program, part of the Museum's National Center for Technological Literacy®, will provide professional development for science and education faculty who prepare future elementary educators to strengthen understandings of engineering content, inquiry-based pedagogical techniques, and career pathways in technical fields. The award is effective June I, 2010, to May 31, 2013.
This project builds on the successful NSF-funded ATLAS project enriching teacher education courses with engineering and technology. The BEST project expands this approach to include community college science courses, modified to incorporate engineering design activities. The goals are to: provide teacher education materials using hands-on technology and engineering approaches, while integrating science and math; strengthen knowledge and ability to teach technology, engineering, and science; develop articulation pathways in elementary education between community and four-year colleges; create a cadre of faculty to spread knowledge regionally and nationally; and increase awareness of technology and engineering elementary education programs.
Partners include Berkshire Community College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Massasoit Community College, Bridgewater State College, Middlesex Community College, Fitchburg State College, North Shore Community College, and Salem State College. The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation, The Engineering Center, and the Boston Society of Civil Engineers are educational and industry partners.
BEST is designed to reach 62 community college and 25 four-year college faculty, 800 pre-service educators, and 7,000 elementary students. This program will document how technology and engineering can be integrated into science and education courses for pre-service teachers. As more states include technology and engineering in their standards, this project can guide community college and pre-service efforts nationwide.