MU Receives $1.25 Million Grant to Support Middle School Science

Oct 10, 2017

The University of Missouri has received a grant to develop stronger middle school science and math curriculum. The National Institutes of Health awarded the $1.25 million Science Education Partnership Award to MU. The program aims to provide professional development for teachers to help students with diverse backgrounds.

Credit Sara Shahriari / KBIA

William Folk, the MU professor of biochemistry who’s leading the program, said science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) literacy elements are important.

“We’re focusing upon students in middle school, especially students who are diverse learners from backgrounds where they may not have the adequately preparation for reading and writing that’s expected of them to really be able to understand the science,” Folk said.

The program will enlist middle school science, English and special education teachers. Delinda van Garderen, professor in MU’s Department of Special Education, said the ultimate goal is to improve diverse learners’ interest and capability in STEM fields.

“It’s important that we work with students as young as possible to help them get interested in science, engaged about science, but also learn the necessary skills in order to do science. So, what we’re trying to do is help the teachers to develop materials and resources and literacy text to build students’ skills in science,” Van Garderen said.

The team is now looking for teachers interested in the program. The first teacher professional development workshops will begin in summer 2018.

Update 10/11/2017: An earlier version of this story did not properly attribute remarks from William Folk.