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ENGAGE: A Game-Based Curricular Strategy for Infusing Computational Thinking into Middle School Science

Project Team: PI-James Lester (Eng) 

Sponsor: National Science Foundation

Project Total: $2,498,862


The 3-year project is led by NCSU in partnership with the University of Florida, the Wake County Public Schools, and the Alachua County Schools of Florida. Building on science standards and emerging computer science curricula, and leveraging significant advances in game-based learning, the ENGAGE project will deeply infuse computational thinking into middle school science education with the aim of producing theoretical and practical advances in developing computationally rich science practices. Over the three years of the project, it will directly engage 30 teachers and 5,000 middle school students at its diverse school partners.

To investigate how computationally rich middle grade science education can seamlessly integrate science problem solving and computation, the ENGAGE project will pursue the following three thrusts:
1. Design an innovative curricular strategy and novel game-based learning environment to develop computationally rich science practices in middle school students.
2. Investigate how middle school students develop computationally rich science practices in middle school science classrooms with the ENGAGE game-based learning environment.
3. Develop an evidence-based teacher professional development program that supports teachers in the deep integration of computational thinking into middle grade science.