Seeds of STEM: The Development of a Problem-Based STEM Curriculum for Early Childhood Classrooms
This chapter adds to the body of research on engineering in early childhood education by describing the multiple research components associated with the development of an early childhood engineering curriculum, Seeds of STEM. Since very few research studies were devoted to the topic of engineering in early childhood, the Seeds of STEM research team was charged with developing many of the tools and instruments to be used throughout the project. The chapter describes the research conducted by the Seeds of STEM team in order to establish the framework for the curriculum, the development process, evaluation of fidelity of implementation, as well as the effectiveness of the curriculum. More specifically, the chapter addresses the following questions on curriculum development research: (a) Who should be part of the curriculum development team? (b) What is a successful curriculum development process? (c) What principles should guide the Seeds of STEM units? (d) How should the curriculum’s effectiveness be measured? and (e) What measures should be taken to ensure fidelity of implementation?
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education, through Grant R305A150571 to Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the US Department of Education.
The authors would like to thank Dr. Katherine Chen and Leah Reppucci for their thoughtful comments and feedback.
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