1. Ximena Dominguez
  2. Director of Early STEM Research
  3. Integrating Science with Mathematics and Engineering: Linking Home and School Learning for All Young Learners
  4. https://first8studios.org/nicoandnor/guide/
  5. Digital Promise
  1. Danae Kamdar
  2. https://digitalpromise.org/our-team/
  3. Early STEM Education Researcher/Curriculum Developer
  4. Integrating Science with Mathematics and Engineering: Linking Home and School Learning for All Young Learners
  5. https://first8studios.org/nicoandnor/guide/
  6. Digital Promise
  1. Tiffany Leones
  2. Early STEM Education Researcher
  3. Integrating Science with Mathematics and Engineering: Linking Home and School Learning for All Young Learners
  4. https://first8studios.org/nicoandnor/guide/
  5. Digital Promise
  1. Ashley Lewis Presser
  2. http://cct.edc.org/people/lewis-presser-ashley
  3. Senior Research Scientist
  4. Integrating Science with Mathematics and Engineering: Linking Home and School Learning for All Young Learners
  5. https://first8studios.org/nicoandnor/guide/
  6. Education Development Center (EDC)
  1. Kevin McElhaney
  2. https://digitalpromise.org/our-team/kevin-mcelhaney/
  3. Senior Research Scientist STEM&CS Education
  4. Integrating Science with Mathematics and Engineering: Linking Home and School Learning for All Young Learners
  5. https://first8studios.org/nicoandnor/guide/
  6. Digital Promise
  1. Jillian Orr
  2. Executive Producer
  3. Integrating Science with Mathematics and Engineering: Linking Home and School Learning for All Young Learners
  4. https://first8studios.org/nicoandnor/guide/
  5. GBH/ WGBH
  1. Regan Vidiksis
  2. Senior Research Associate
  3. Integrating Science with Mathematics and Engineering: Linking Home and School Learning for All Young Learners
  4. https://first8studios.org/nicoandnor/guide/
  5. Education Development Center (EDC)
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 10, 2022 | 08:33 a.m.

    Welcome to our video “Linking Science with Engineering and Math across Home and School!" Thank you for taking the time to visit our page, share your thoughts and questions, and engage in continued conversations about this work. 

    Our team is very excited to share the process through which Early Science with Nico & Nor®, an early science program for young learners, was co-designed and evaluated. Public preschool teachers, multilingual families, developers at WGBH and researchers at EDC and Digital Promise came together to co-design playful learning experiences that resonated with children’s interest and everyday experiences and purposefully linked science with mathematics and engineering. The program links home and school learning and involves the integration of hands-on experiences and digital resources with unique affordances for STEM learning. 

    We’re in the midst of data collection for our field study and look forward to sharing our emerging findings soon. In the meantime, we’re eager to learn from you about your work involving co-design with multilingual families, the integration of STEM disciplines in early learning, and/or the developmentally appropriate use of media in preschool. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned? What have been some of the biggest challenges and how have you addressed them?

    Thank you again for visiting. We look forward to hearing from you!



  • Icon for: Kathy Renfrew

    Kathy Renfrew

    Facilitator
    Education SPecialist
    May 10, 2022 | 10:26 a.m.

    I  love what I heard as you described the vision of the porjects. I especially liked the connections to the funds of knowledge that students and families bring to the learning. I am curious about hows the programs seeks out, fosters and elevates those funds of knowledge and includes them in every day classroom science instruction.

    I am also wondering about the the extent that the family fun guides were utilized. 

    Have you found that there is more science instruction happening when Early Science with Nico and Nor is used?

  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 10, 2022 | 02:15 p.m.

    Thank you for taking the time to view our video and for your note, Kathy! The co-design process involved working with families to identify activities in their every day life and/or community and local context through which they engage in science, math and engineering. These initial brainstorming meetings were key.

    The guides include sample activities or lessons that were designed and iteratively revised in collaboration with teachers and families. As you can imagine, what resonates with one family may not with another, so something the team has grappled with is how to make sure that other resources in the guide invite teachers and families to adapt/modify activities and/or create their own. The current guides include slideshows of science practices and core ideas and sections meant to inspire other related activities. We are eager to learn what strategies have worked well in other projects.   

    In our prior NSF funded work, we conducted an experimental study of the initial version of Nico and Nor and we did find improvements in science teaching and learning. We are currently in the midst of the study to examine the version of the program that includes the home component and the links to math and science. So far, we have seen great engagement across home and school.

  • Icon for: Margo Murphy

    Margo Murphy

    Facilitator
    Science Instructor
    May 10, 2022 | 02:11 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing!  This seems like a comprehensive approach with the hands-on, home application and digital reinforcement.  The elements of science practices and productive talk seem like you must have designed for an intentional PD component for teachers.  Can you speak to how that happens in a pre-school setting?  And how parents are supported with at home experiences?  Also, wondering if you you have any embedded assessment with the digital components that teachers can access?  I look forward to hearing more.

  • Icon for: Regan Vidiksis

    Regan Vidiksis

    Co-Presenter
    Senior Research Associate
    May 11, 2022 | 10:12 a.m.

    Hi Margo! Thank you for your interest and questions.

    We certainly agree that teacher PD needs to be a strong and thoughtful component of programs like this one. To address this need, our multi-disciplinary team developed resources that are embedded within the Teacher's Guide.  These include slideshows of science core ideas, descriptions of how the science practices and science talk look in the preschool classroom, and ideas for how to integrate math concepts and engineering practices to support early science learning. As part of the project's co-design process, preschool teachers involved in the development of the program provided us with feedback on early versions of these resources and this feedback was used when creating the final version of the guide. In addition, I also wanted to mention PD that was offered to teachers participating in our field study outside of what is in the Teacher Guide. As part of our prior NSF funded work relating to this program, participating teachers received a full day, in person training that was interactive and provided multiple opportunities for teachers to try out the activities and share their funds of knowledge with one another.  Due to pandemic-related restrictions and other factors, the PD for our current study was altered and is instead comprised of multiple, shorter video-conference trainings. 

    The parent supports that are embedded within the Family Guide were developed in a similar way to what I described above. Our team shared early versions of program's activities and accompanying resources with our co-design families, and they provided us with feedback that was used to inform revisions. 

    Lastly, the digital apps and simulations do not currently have an embedded assessment component. However, some of the apps have a level menu that allows teachers to access specific content they would like children to focus on. This allows teachers to tailor the learning experience for children based on their needs and to align with curricular goals. Relatedly, I could imagine that observing a child's gameplay on a certain level might be a great opportunity for a teacher to learn about a child's understanding about the content on that level.  

    Hope this has provided some helpful clarifications!

  • May 10, 2022 | 04:36 p.m.

    I loved learning more about this project with Nico and Nor. I also noted right away that you're describing these as playful learning experiences, which I think is great. I'm curious whether you're explicit about the 'playful learning' aspect with both the educators and caregivers or if it's more of a design underpinning that you're implicitly weaving throughout?

  • Icon for: Ximena Dominguez

    Ximena Dominguez

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Early STEM Research
    May 11, 2022 | 10:20 a.m.

    Thanks, Melissa! (side note: I am based in Boston and we love going to the museum...maybe we can connect at some point). That's a great question. I'd probably say it's implicitly woven throughout, but there are definitely some explicit design principles that have helped ensure activities are playful. In the classroom, a big focus is to ensure activities include whole group discussions, small group guided experiences and open ended play centers. In our work with families, we have learned that caregivers appreciate both longer project like activities and shorter on the go playful experiences that are easy to implement. I bet you your team has some great suggestions for how to ensure activities are playful. Designing sample activities to include supports/examples and be open ended enough to allow authentic exploration has been something our team has been grappling with. We'd love to hear your thoughts. 

  • Icon for: Latrenda Knighten

    Latrenda Knighten

    Facilitator
    Mathematics Content Trainer
    May 10, 2022 | 07:21 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your project. I love that your comprehensive project addresses so many important components that can lead to student success and active engagement in science - multi-disciplinary activities that allow students to engage in "real' science activities and work like scientists, highlighting science in home and real life settings, and hands-on investigations to name a few. I was excited while watching your video and wanted to dive in and "play" as well. I especially like that you intentionally planned for phenomena - an element often overlooked in classroom settings. Your project is very inclusive in that everyone has a "seat at the table" in designing learning experiences for the students.  What professional learning activities and/or planning opportunities did you engage your stakeholders in to collaboratively plan the learning activities for the students and what tools did you use to gather information on student interests?

    Thanks again for sharing!

  • Icon for: Danae Kamdar

    Danae Kamdar

    Co-Presenter
    Early STEM Education Researcher/Curriculum Developer
    May 11, 2022 | 11:49 a.m.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to view our video and provide such thoughtful feedback. 


    The learning activities for both home and classroom were developed through a co-design process. During this collaborative work we sought to understand teachers’ and families’ current interests and practices in order to build on the local contexts and experiences of children and families in their communities. We aimed to identify everyday routines and activities that resonated with children, families and teachers to design engaging science explorations. Through multiple rounds of user and pilot testing we gathered feedback from teachers and families and refined the activities to reflect the ideas and insights that were surfaced through the process. We gathered the feedback, insights and ideas through brief surveys, interviews, photos and videos shared by teachers and families, and when possible “virtual observations” via zoom platforms, all of which informed the final version of resources and activities. 


    Thank you again for our interest in our project. I hope this helps describe our process. 

     
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    Latrenda Knighten
  • Icon for: Latrenda Knighten

    Latrenda Knighten

    Facilitator
    Mathematics Content Trainer
    May 11, 2022 | 03:43 p.m.

    Thanks for your prompt and comprehensive response!  This sounds like a wonderful learning experience for all stakeholders.  I hope you have the opportunity to replicate this project with other communities.

  • Icon for: Ashley Lewis Presser

    Ashley Lewis Presser

    Co-Presenter
    Research Scientist
    May 12, 2022 | 11:51 a.m.

    Thanks, Latrenda! Yes, we'd love to replicate and spread these resources to other communities. We hope that the integration of math and engineering within the science context really helps provide linkages between STEM disciplines and generate wider interest. 

     
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    Latrenda Knighten
  • Icon for: Jackelyn Lopez Roshwalb

    Jackelyn Lopez Roshwalb

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2022 | 10:57 p.m.

    I am so excited to see how STEM can be made so accessible to such young children. Is the curriculum free for pre-schools to use? Can families use it on their own even if their children are not doing it in their pre-schools or don't attend pre-school? Was the creation of the digital games done exclusively for this project? Do you need a tablet to play the digital games, or can they be played on a non-touch screen computer (such as at a library) too? In addition to the family guides, are the teacher lessons and digital games available in both Spanish and English. I am personally so excited to see this program as I would love to do these activities at home in Spanish with my own young children!

  • Icon for: Tiffany Leones

    Tiffany Leones

    Co-Presenter
    Early STEM Education Researcher
    May 13, 2022 | 01:22 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your excitement about this work and taking the time to pose these questions, Jackelyn! 


    Yes, the Early Science with Nico & Nor® Teacher’s Guide and Family Science Fun Guide are freely available. Families are welcome to use the guide to support children’s learning at home; the guide is designed to invite families to modify the sample activities developed during co-design or get inspired to create new ones that align with their own experiences and context. The classroom activities are in English, while the digital apps developed in this project round are available in Spanish. These are currently only compatible with an iPad and can be downloaded from the App Store. 


    We’d love to hear about your experience doing these activities in Spanish with your children and any thoughts you may have about the engineering aspect given your own work!

  • Icon for: Gerald Knezek

    Gerald Knezek

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2022 | 03:38 p.m.

    I really like the idea of English and Spanish materials at this young age. My grandsons (4 and 6) are bilingual and I can see how having (also) science activities in Spanish at this early age will help dispel the myth I see evolving that English is for "serious subjects" while Spanish is for music and fun.  It is a kind of bias I have never really thought about until I viewed your video. Thanks for making me think!

    Gerald Knezek

    simEquity Project

     

  • Icon for: Tiffany Leones

    Tiffany Leones

    Co-Presenter
    Early STEM Education Researcher
    May 17, 2022 | 04:38 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your insightful reflection, Gerald! Hopefully through the work of co-designing the activities with families and getting an understanding of what science, math and engineering looks like for them, those are steps toward mitigating that type of bias. 

    If you try out any of the activities from this Family Guide with your grandsons, we'd be excited to hear how you used it.

     

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