Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

6-2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

College

College of Education

Department

Education

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Sally Evans, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

LaToya Tomas-Dixon, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Lisa Foster, Ph.D.

Keywords

early elementary education, integrated STEM education, Project Lead The Way curriculum

Abstract

This study explored the implementation of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum in four first grade classrooms. Data was collected from four teachers and two media specialists via interviews and student PLTW Light and Sound unit assessment scores. A self-efficacy survey was administered to all first grade teachers in the studied district to measure teacher beliefs about their ability to teach science. Teacher responses indicated that teachers were relatively confident implementing science curriculum. Interviews, however, revealed that teachers required more training designed to increase teacher science background knowledge to properly teach an integrated science unit. Although there were issues with implementation involving materials and scheduling, the benefits for student learning through the PLTW curriculum were substantial. The most important finding of this study was the fact that integrated STEM curriculum, such as PLTW, has the innate ability to reach and challenge students at all levels, from gifted learners to at-risk students. Using the hands-on approach, students can experiment and find solutions. Students, through the process, develop an understanding of the concept and can apply their learning. However, to implement integrated STEM effectively, teachers need support from their administrators and dedicated training in the PLTW program.

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