THE BESSIE COLEMAN PROJECT: USING COMPUTER MODELING AND FLIGHT SIMULATION IN INFORMAL STEM SETTINGS - UPDATED RESEARCH REPORT
By Jacqueline Leonard, University of Wyoming
Will Jordan, Temple University
Roni Ellington, Morgan State University
This research report presents the pilot-year results of a three-year research project on computer science and technology. The Bessie Coleman Project, named for the first African-American and Native woman to receive a pilot’s license, provides underrepresented students with opportunities to learn about STEM-related careers by participating in computer modeling and flight simulation. Three-dimensional computer modeling and flight simulation was used as interventions to increase underrepresented students’ CT skills, motivation, and persistence. Project staff and facilitators at Boys and Girls Clubs and local schools implemented the project at six sites in Wyoming in 2018. A total of 124 participated in the pilot study: 29 (summer); 95 (fall). Descriptive evidence from survey data suggest that students had sustained interest in technology and qualitative data suggest students had interest in STEM careers.
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We are recruiting teachers from schools in Baltimore, Denver, Indianapolis, Memphis and throughout the state of Wyoming to participate in a study funded by the National Science Foundation. The “Bessie Coleman Project: Using computer modeling and flight simulation to create STEM pathways” builds upon our previous robotics and game design project where we reached nearly 1,000 students in Wyoming and Pennsylvania.
Teachers will take a short professional development course to learn the skills needed to lead STEM clubs on computer modeling and game design. Then they will lead their students in a one-week online module. Stipends will be provided for PD and participation as an instructional leader.
Pending school district approval, teachers and students will be invited to participate in STEM camps to learn how to fly drones to collect community-based data in summer 2021.
Professional Development Required – January 2021
in collaboration with Rhodes College
Program features for teachers in spring 2021 programs:
Dr. Jacqueline Leonard
New Book Forthcoming - Fostering Computational Thinking Among Underrepresented Students in STEM: Strategies for Supporting Racially Equitable Computing
By Jacqueline Leonard, Jakita O. Thomas, Roni Ellington, Monica B. Mitchell, Olatokunbo S. Fashola
This book broadly educates preservice teachers and scholars about current research on computational thinking (CT). More specifically, attention is given to computational algorithmic thinking (CAT), particularly among underrepresented K–12 student groups in STEM education.
Computational algorithmic thinking (CAT) – a precursor to CT – is explored in this text as the ability to design, implement, and evaluate the application of algorithms to solve a variety of problems. Drawing on observations from research studies that focused on innovative STEM programs including underrepresented students in rural, suburban, and urban contexts, the authors reflect on project-based learning experiences, pedagogy, assessment, and teaching practices that are conducive to developing advanced computational thinking, specifically among diverse student populations.
This practical text includes vignettes and visual examples to illustrate how coding, computer modeling, robotics, and drones may be used to promote CT and CAT among students in diverse classrooms.