Research Experiences for Teachers in Sensor Networks

(UNT RET Site: NSF Grant #1132585)

Engineering a Better Tomorrow

Summary of UNT RET Site

Aim:

With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), we offer the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program each year to twelve North Texas high school teachers for six weeks of on-site activities at the University of North Texas (UNT) and continued activities throughout the academic year. The selected science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers are awarded accessibility to state-of-the-art, university-level research facilities in addition to a stipend. Through such an opportunity, the teachers engage in research, participate in follow-up activities during the academic year, and form a long-term relationship between their schools and the university.

Scope:

  1. We will inform mathematics and science supervisors in the appropriate school districts about these lesson plans for possible adoption.
  2. Active recruiting of teachers from underrepresented groups to form an inclusive RET site.
  3. Public outreach by participation in the Tech Fest Family Fun Saturday.
  4. Using the novel concept of WebLab, we will disseminate project products to high-school classrooms.

Objectives:

Research and Activities:

  1. The teachers conduct leading-edge research at UNT in sensor networks, wireless communication, robotics, and environmental monitoring and modeling.
  2. Familiarization with the concepts of the Learning-to-Learn program, with emphasis on learning mathematics and sciences, aids the teachers in the approach of instruction in these subjects.
  3. Each team of teachers presents their summer research at both a midterm and at a formal closing ceremony.
  4. Consistent with the summer research, the teams each develop a lesson plan to be implemented during the school year, assisted by the UNT team. These lessons shall incorporate new computing and engineering topics into the classroom, along with the integration of hands-on ways to convey these topics to secondary students.
  5. Each team plans, prepares, and leads their project lesson with demonstrations at several Family Fun Tech Fest (Engineering a better tomorrow) events conducted at the participating high schools of the North Texas area.
  6. In the school year following the summer program, the teachers and UNT faculty and students attend a workshop to present the research conducted during the summer to a broader audience.

Expected Outcomes:

Events:

Our continued engagement with Elm Fork to conduct the Family Fun Tech Fest (Engineering a better tomorrow) events each year will ensure outreach of the teacher's research activities to a broader public. These weekend events shall provide an exciting opportunity for community members of all ages to participate in engineering projects and discover the wonders of wireless sensor networks. Moreover, project demonstrations will be part of the annual Engineering Week activities at the Discovery Park campus of UNT. Each year, the program will host a workshop to disseminate summer research and provide project information to potential participants.