Explorations of an integrated STEM middle school classroom: understanding spatial and temporal possibilities for collective teaching

Margery A. Gardner, John W. Tillotson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Middle school STEM learners require developmentally responsive and engaging curriculum in order to propel them successfully to secondary and post-secondary levels. This article focuses on one teacher team at a suburban public middle school that considered the collective use of space and time as major component of a thriving integrated STEM model. Leveraging Lefebvre’s theory of spatiality, we explored how school stakeholders perceived representations of STEM learning. Three major themes emerged based on the analysis of our data sets: (1) schedule variations and spatial considerations as sites of curricular opportunity, (2) the portability of the integrated STEM model, and (3) deficit framing of the model. This study found that daily modifications to instructional times were needed to achieve learning goals in tandem with dynamic visioning of spaces. The flexibilities of the model created durability that allowed it to function despite traditional school spaces that included classrooms fit for 25–40 students maximum. The structural and spatial modifications of the model created representations that resulted in a deficit framing by outside community members. Outcomes from this study support the notion that the deliberate structuring of space and time should be a primary consideration of innovative STEM practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1895-1914
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume42
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 23 2020

Keywords

  • co-teaching
  • flexible scheduling
  • interdisciplinary education
  • middle school models
  • qualitative case study
  • Secondary science education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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