“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson
This Science program aims to improve students’ understanding of STEM through engaging software, called Saving Our Students (SOS). SOS combines state-of-the-art technology alongside Culturally responsive teaching (CRT) techniques that researchers like Gay and Ladson-Billings proved effective in closing achievement gaps. This evolutionary psychological approach creates an individualized student plan with real-time feedback and corrective actions. CRT is a pedagogy that offers success to all students, not just those of color or minority status because it builds on what they already know to be their reality. Six culturally responsive themes that aid in student success, if done with fidelity, are: Instructional engagement; Culture, language, and racial identity; Multicultural awareness; High expectations; Critical thinking; and Social justice. SOS will implement CRT techniques within lessons that are aligned to the Common Core Standards while providing stimulating STEM content tailored to each student’s unique needs.
We will target minority student’s 6th – 8th-grades. Students will receive educational support based on their individual needs. All instructional materials and curricula will follow the Common Core Standards of Study, Next Generation Science Standards and State Science Standards for their appropriate grade level and abilities. Students will receive daily reading and writing skills to further facilitate understanding and comprehension of verbally represented text material, and the materials used will complement as well as supplement your school’s curricula and resources. All content outline material aligns with the most heavily weighted state objectives for each grade level. We will gauge their understanding of what has been taught in the classroom and through real-life experience. It is the intent of the science program to instill in our students the knowledge to comprehend science on their appropriate grade level and have an analytical and scientific approach to science that they are comfortable with expressing. We plan to make science comprehensible, fun, and enjoyable. Check out iEDAPTS behind the scene video presentation of the “Scientific Method.”
Overall, key objectives to be attained during this phase are: Development of a novel assessment tool unique to SOS; Validation of SOS’s assessment tool against iREADY, and EasyCBM; Creation of engaging CRT instructional content based off of teacher’s lesson plans and Common Core Standards via music videos, games, and the arts; Inception of a website where teachers, students, and parents can see academic growth; and Pre/post diagnostics along with control/treatment group testing to determine if SOS improved students’ scores in STEM areas. iEdapts will produce a unique assessment tool and gather content during the Fall semester of 2021 to configure a structural layout of the product which will be further developed during Winter 2022. By Spring 2022, students will have had an opportunity to utilize SOS for an entire semester with an end goal of at least 70% of them increasing their End of Grade exams or benchmarks by one letter grade.
Based on statistics retrieved from the National Center for Education Statistics, during 2015, approximately 50 million students were enrolled in 98,500 public elementary and secondary schools for the beginning of the fall term (NCES, n.d. 2). However, between 2014 and 2024 the number of STEM occupations in the U.S. will grow by 8.9%. According to ACT (2017) data, not enough U.S. students will be equipped for those STEM opportunities—now or in the future. Another important aspect of education is the arts. Research from Mississippi State University indicates, “effective classroom arts integration can reduce or eliminate educational achievement gaps for economically disadvantaged students” (ScienceDaily, 2013, October 22). Based on that information, iEDAPTS intends to offer a unique learning tool called “Saving Our Students” (SOS). SOS will use a child’s individual intellectual strengths to improve their abilities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math areas.
With these facts in mind, policymakers at all levels of government are emphasizing the importance of educating students for STEM-related jobs. It is estimated that 624 billion dollars will be spent on education programs in the United States. There is a focus on STEM education due to the demand of a STEM workforce that will increase until the year 2050. Our team has switched our focus towards implementing CRT pedagogy into each lesson to meet the needs of our students amid the Covid pandemic. We realized that it is critical to partner with teachers and parents about our techniques and methodologies to help bridge the gaps with our at-risk youth. Therefore, we will be creating STEM video content for Thinklive! Inc., a former NSF Phase I & II winner for the National Science Foundation grant. They created a TurntableLabTM for 6th – 8th-grade students to learn math through music and as part of their supplemental NSF Phase II TABA funding, they requested our STEAM video content to help develop their customer base.