On October 18, 2020, the MIND Research Institute presented public comments concerning the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Federal STEM Education Plan, Charting a Course For Success: America's Strategy for STEM Education Proposed Priorities for the US [85 FR 55323]. Our responses focus on critical areas of STEM education, including:
Future opportunities for students in STEM education
Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM
Engaging students where disciplines converge
Developing and enriching strategic public and private partnerships
The National Science Foundation is an independent agency of the United States government that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical science and engineering fields. MIND Research Institute was pleased to offer public comments as part of this vital discussion and offer our research-based expertise to support NSF's mission.
A major component of MIND’s comments to NSF centered around the organization’s response to COVID-19. MIND launched a national free access campaign for our ST Math program, which provided unlimited access to our software and facilitating resources to more than 1.8 million PreK-8 students at nearly 6,000 schools. We also leveraged our highly active user community on social media to connect with MIND staff and each other to support students learning at home.
The NSF call for comments sought views on how to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM, and provide transdisciplinary learning opportunities within the STEM ecosystem. MIND’s response highlighted the importance of math as the foundation of STEM, and the alarmingly low math proficiency rates, which show that minority students are falling further behind. This math crisis is creating an uneven path to STEM careers, contributing to the lack of diversity in STEM fields.While STEM subjects seem tailor made for rich and varied learning experiences, those types of experiences are severely lacking when it comes to mathematics.
At MIND, we are committed to developing creative solutions to build a thriving STEM workforce. We have to focus on the ways that we are teaching and learning math, providing rich new ways for students to experience the math that is all around them.
Our approach to teaching and learning math is rooted in neuroscience and utilizes various visual, spatial-temporal models to present math concepts in non-routine ways. By design, ST Math is effective for all students, regardless of socioeconomic, cultural, or linguistic background. The program's success is demonstrated in more than 100 efficacy studies, meeting the WWC quasi-experiment and ESSA Tier 2 requirements.
And under our MathMINDs umbrella, MIND hosts Family Math Nights, awards budding game designers in the annual K-12 Game-a-thon, and offers MathMINDs Games like South of the Sahara, which use storybook board game formats to connect all learning journeys through hands-on experiences.
Parker Erickson is MIND’s Content and Community Specialist. As a digital storyteller, Parker is passionate about building strong communities through technology and social media. Off the clock, you can find him buried in the latest issue of The New Yorker or experiencing different cultures through food.