About the Program
The Center for Manufacturing Research at Tennessee Tech University will provide 30 teachers (10 per year for 3 years) with a 6-week multi-disciplinary summer experience in manufacturing research with an academic year follow-up plan.
RETainUS offers teachers a chance to see how different engineering disciplines interact to address real world engineering problems. The program is designed for teachers to maintain ownership of the research as principal investigators of their research question. Mentors and graduate students will act as consultants. Teachers will develop learning modules aligned with the curriculum based on their research experience and implement them in their classrooms. There will be extensive follow-up with continuous interaction with the principal investigators, mentors and other participants. An additional element of the program is the in-service teachers’ interaction with undergraduate education majors at TTU to excite these students about possibilities in math and science education.
The program targets math and science high school teachers in the surrounding Upper Cumberland area counties (Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren, White). Many of these counties have a large percentage of the population that is underserved and economically disadvantaged. Hamilton County is also targeted due to its size and large percentage of minority students.
Applicants must be pre-service teachers or in-service who are currently teaching and must be licensed to teach in Tennessee.
Teachers are required to apply in pairs from the same school. Exemptions may be given.
Six-Week Summer Research Institute:
Week 1: Orientation, training and formulation of research question.
- Half-day orientation regarding available resources, campus facilities, campus security, laboratory safety rules, intellectual property issues, etc.
- Introduction by mentors to their research areas and possible research questions/opportunities.
- Training in research methodology for independent investigation:
- Teachers work with their mentors and graduate students to understand and refine the research questions. The mentors will guide the teachers to identify and understand the theories and references needed to investigate their questions.
- Teachers will develop a computer study and/or experimental measurement plan to address the research question in consultation with their mentors.
- Identify possible curriculum links of the research question and create a presentation of the plan to peers and mentors by the end of first week.
Weeks 2 – 6: Research
- Conduct the research according to plans developed in Week 1
- Meet once per week with the full group to review progress with peers
- Meet twice per week within subgroups working on related research questions
- Document changes in research plans as neededInitiate and document plans for development of curriculum learning module in consultation with mentor and engineering research and development consultants
Curriculum Learning Module Implementation:
During the summer research institute, teachers will develop a curriculum learning module based on their research experience and state curriculum standards. Learning modules will be based on the Legacy Cycle format. A one-day Legacy Cycle workshop will be conducted to provide the framework for teachers to develop their instructional materials. Each teacher will have an equipment mini-grant of $2,000 to spend on resources and equipment to aid in the delivery and implementation of their modules in their classrooms.
To support teachers in the classroom, they will be enrolled in a special topics graduate course (1 credit hour – offered by TTU – Tuition-free) in the Fall following the summer institute. To earn credit in the course, participants will develop their Legacy Cycle module, submit it for feedback, and revise accordingly. Teachers will then teach their module and write a reflection outlining (a) successful/unsuccessful aspects of their module and (b) students’ performance, reactions, and learning resulting from the module.
Three follow-up sessions are planned, equivalent to 30 hours of participants’ time. These are required for the teacher participants.
- Research Communications – October
This function focuses on feedback from research drafts written at the end of the summer research institute with mentors providing advice on the revision process. It allows continued access to research facilities and offers technical presentation guidelines focusing on visual aids, such as posters.
- Research Day – April
The RET teachers participate in the annual TTU research day on campus. Pre-service teachers and representatives from manufacturing interests are invited to attend.
- Focus on Pedagogy (Legacy Module Conference) – June
This serves as the ending event for one year. Participants share their developed Legacy Cycle modules with one another and with conference attendees.
In-service teachers will receive a $6,000 and pre-service teachers will receive a $4,000 stipend for completing the program. The stipends will be paid in installments as participants progress through the program, with the final installment payable at completion of all follow-up activities.
Teacher participants will receive a travel allowance for follow-up activities.
For teacher participants who live more than 50 miles from TTU, free on-campus housing will be available.
Teacher participants will receive $2,000 to purchase supplies and equipment needed to implement the curriculum module in their classrooms.