Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference

February 14 & 15, 2019

The 13th Annual Tennessee STEM Education Research Conference was February 14th & 15th at Middle Tennessee State University. This conference brought together great minds to engage in conversations about empirical studies in STEM education and their applications to practice in K-20 learning environments. The goals of this conference included to:

  • Share current research questions, methodologies, and findings within disciplinary and interdisciplinary STEM contexts
  • Facilitate discussions between researchers and educators
  • Promote local, state and national STEM education collaborations and partnerships
  • Develop improved teaching methods for STEM topics
  • Provide networking opportunities across stakeholder communities

The conference featured keynote addresses from national leaders in STEM education research, poster and oral presentations, informal sessions to promote collaborations, and three catered meals. We encouraged submissions across traditional and emerging STEM education research areas and at any educational level. 

This event was hosted by the Tennessee STEM Education Center (TSEC), Tennessee Technological University the MTSU Mathematics and Science Education (MSE) Ph.D. program and the Office of Research Services.

The research conference took place in the Student Union Building. If you are following the MTSU campus map and driving to the Student Union Building, it is best to take the Rutherford Blvd MTSU campus entrance. 

If you need more information about the conference, please contact TSEC or phone: 615-904-8573

Hotel Reservations

You will need to reserve your own hotel accommodations.

Contact DoubleTree directly at 615-895-5555 and ask for the STEM Education Conference Rate.

  • Single or Double: $94.00 / night

2019 Conference Agenda

The STEM Education Research Conference will be held in the Student Union Building on MTSU's campus.

Download the comprehensive conference agenda HERE

February 14, 2019

4:00 - 6:00pm       Poster session and Reception 

6:30 - 8:00pm       Dinner Banquet held in Ballroom; Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ilana Horn

February 15, 2019

8:30 - 9:00am        Continental Breakfast to be served in hall

9:00 - 10:15am      Breakout Session #1 

10:15 - 10:45am    Coffee/Tea to be served in hall

10:45a - 12:00pm  Breakout Session #2 

12:00 - 1:30pm      Lunch Banquet held in Ballroom; Keynote Speaker Dr. Vicente Talanquer

1:30 - 3:30pm        Breakout Session #3 


2019 Keynote Speakers

TSEC is pleased to annouce that this year's keynote speakers will Ilana Horn of Vanderbilt University and Vicente Talanquer from University of Arizona.

hornDr. Ilana Horn, Vanderbilt University

Ilana Seidel Horn is Professor of Mathematics Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, where her research and teaching center on ways to make authentic mathematics accessible to students, particularly those who have historically been disenfranchised by our educational system. Dr. Horn's research projects have spanned questions of in-service teachers' professional learning, pre-service education, district level instructional improvement, and students' experiences of different forms of mathematics instruction. She received her doctorate from University of California, Berekley, in 2002. She is the author of Motivated: Designing Math Classrooms Where Students Want to Join In and Strength in Numbers: Collaborative Learning in Secondary Mathematics.
For more information about Dr. Horn, click here.

"If we know so much about good math and science teaching, why is it so hard to do?"
Decades of research has demonstrated that good math and science teaching builds on children’s thinking to help them understand core disciplinary ideas and practices. Hundreds of books have been published advising teachers about how to approach instruction in this way, and yet, classrooms often fall short of these ideals. In this talk, I look at institutional, cultural, and conceptual obstacles to making high quality math and science teaching commonplace in U.S. classrooms. After considering how each of these contribute to the preservation of the status quo, I offer suggestions for re-investing in math and science education to make high quality teaching the norm.


talanquerDr. Vicente Talanquer, University of Arizona

Vicente Talanquer received his B.S. (1985), M.S. (1987), and Ph.D. (1992) in chemistry from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City. He completed postdoctoral studies in the area of physical chemistry (statistical mechanics) at the University of Chicago (1992-1995). In 2015, Vicente became the first University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the UA in recognition for his sustained contributions to educational excellence and his outstanding commitment to undergraduate education. Dr. Talanquer has received a variety of teaching awards during his academic career including the Outstanding Young Professor in Physical Sciences Education Award, the Early-Career Teaching Award, the Five-Star Teaching Award, the Distinguished Achievement in Science Education Award, and more.
For more information about Dr. Talanquer, click here

"Reinventing the Foundations" 
Despite multiple calls for reform, foundational science courses at all educational levels tend to be fact-based and encyclopedic, built upon a collection of isolated topics, oriented too much towards the perceived needs of professional in the field, and focused too much on content coverage. Research in science education has shown that these types of courses do not help many students to develop meaningful understandings and connections between core concepts and ideas. Our own educational research in chemistry has revealed that many college students finishing a major in the discipline still rely on intuitive assumptions and fast and frugal heuristics to build explanations and make decisions. This presentation summarizes our research and development work to revamp a foundational chemistry course for science and engineering majors seeking to create a learning environment in which students actively grapple with central ideas, engage in the analysis of relevant phenomena, develop and evaluate models of systems of interest, and generate arguments and explanations based on evidence. In particular, we will discuss how we are using results from educational research to reconceptualize course content and sequence, instructional practices, and the assessment of student understanding.

STEM Innovative Educator Workshops

The STEM Education Research Conference is hosting workshops specifically for K-12 teachers. The following workshops are available Friday, February 15th.

Learning Cycle: Gravitational Field Strength
Friday, February 15, 2019, 9 am to Noon, Room 227
Robert Haddard - Stewarts Creek HS Physics Teacher
Audience: High School Physics and Physical Science Teachers

Description: A student role experience of modeling instruction. Participants will experience an example of a discovery lab, group collaboration, and practical application focused around earth’s gravitational field strength.

Modeling Stoichiometry Using BCA Tables
Friday, February 15, 2019, 9 am to Noon, Room 218
Chris Manor - Independence HS Chemistry Teacher
Audience: High School Chemistry Teachers

Integrating Vernier Technology into the STEM Classroom
Friday, February 15, 2019, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, Room 218
Dave Carter - STEM Training Director, Vernier
Audience: Middle and High School Math and Science Teachers

Description: In this hands-on workshop, you will use Chromebooks with various Vernier sensors to conduct experiments for physics, chemistry, and biology. We will use both LabQuest sensors and Vernier's new Go Direct wireless sensors that work with computers, iPads, Chromebooks, and smartphones. See how collecting and analyzing data can help students learn critical science concepts that increase test scores and promote scientific inquiry.

Tennessee STEM School Designation Workshop
Friday, February 15, 2019, 9 am to 3:30, Room 221
Featured Panelists:

  • Sandy Watkins and Brandi Stoecker, TSIN
  • Don Bartch & Faculty, Overall Creek Elementary
  • Jeremy Lewis & Faculty, Croft Design Center Middle Prep
  • Kelly Chastain, Rutherford County Schools

Approximately schedule

  •  9:00 – 10:15 am:  TSIN overview of the process, Overall Creek Elementary present on being awarded a STEM school designation
  • 10:45 am – noon:  Croft Middle share about applying for the designation this year & Kelly Chastain from RCS share about the process of applying for a comprehensive high school
  • 1:30 – 2:15 pm:  Q & A with all the panel
  • 2:30 – 3:30 pm:  Working session with schools and districts attending to receive specific feedback on their plans, applications, etc.

Workshops are funded by the TN STEM Innovation Network and Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub. All teachers receive travel reimbursement. Conference registration and all meals are provided. Contact Dr. Gregory Rushton, MTSU, 615-494-8738, or midtnhub@mtsu.edu

Oral Presentation Schedule

Breakout sessions for oral presentations will occur during three time intervals on Friday, the 15th. Each breakout runs from 9:00-10:15am, 10:45a-Noon, and 1:30-3:00pm, respectively. The presentations included in each breakout are listed below. 

Breakout Session 1 (9:00a-10:15a)

Group 1: Math  Ballroom C

9:00 – 9:20  Calculus II Students and the Function Machine: Making Sense of the Two-Can Scenario, Candice M. Quinn, Samuel D. Reed, Cecelia Anne Wanner O.P., Nina Bailey, Jennifer N. Lovett, Allison W. McCullouch, Milan F. Sherman, MTSU
Corresponding Author:  Candice M. Quinn

9:20 – 9:40  Undergraduate Students’ Covariational Reasoning Ability when Solving Mathematics Problems, Amde Tessema, MTSU
Corresponding Author:  Amde Tessema

9:40 –10:00  Supporting Proof Learners in the Dance of Agency: The Role of Instructor Authority, Sarah K. Bleiler-Baxter, Samuel D. Reed (MTSU); Jeffrey D. Pair (California State University Long Beach)
Corresponding Author: Sarah K. Bleiler-Baxter

10:00-10:15  Discussion across session

Group 2: Science  Room 224

9:00 – 9:20  Teaching Assistant (TA) Instructional Supports for Rigor and Responsiveness in Undergraduate Biology, Anna S. Grinath, Tina B. Carter, Angela Google, Zhigang Jia (MTSU)
Corresponding Author: Anna Grinath

9:20 – 9:40  Studying Behaviors and Engagement in Metacognition in Undergraduate Biology Majors, Jaime L. Sabel, Rand Alqirem, and Kathryn Parsley (University of Memphis) 
Corresponding Author: Jaime Sabel

9:40 –10:00   “I Drew a Model Because You Told Me To”: Understanding How Undergraduate Students Perceive Opportunities for Learning in a Large Biology Lecture Class, Angela Google (MTSU)
Corresponding Author: Angela Google

10:00 – 10:15  Discussion across sessions

Group 3: STEM  Room 210

9:00 – 9:20  Utilizing Immersion Activities to Enhance the Foundry Experience: Preliminary Findings From a Quality Enhancement Plan Curricular Re-Design, Stephanie Jorgensen, Andrea Arce-Trigatti, J. Robby Sanders, Pedro E. Arce         
Corresponding Author: Stephanie Jorgensen

9:20 –9:40  How Effective are Old School Games on Generation Z’s Learning, Vichuda Hunter; Cumberland University and Samuel Karanja; Middle Tennessee State University
Corresponding Author: Vichuda Hunter

9:40 – 10:00  Flipped Classroom Experiences, Wieb VanDerMeer, Western Kentucky University
Corresponding Author:  Wieb VanDerMeer

10:00 – 10:15  Discussion across sessions

Breakout Session 2 (10:45a-12:00p)

Group 4: Math  Ballroom C

10:45 – 11:05  High School Mathematics Teachers Beliefs and Perceptions of Integrated Mathematics, Holly Anthony, Miguel Perez, Meghan Clemons, Carey Wilson
Corresponding Author: Holly Anthony

11:05 – 11:25  Informal STEM Learning Opportunities: What Can Be Gained for Inservice Teachers?, Meghan Clemons, Jennifer Meadows (Tennessee Tech)
Corresponding Author: Meghan Clemons

11:25 – 11:45  Action Research and Lessons Learned from a Three-Year Professional Development Project Supporting Elementary Teachers in Mathematics Education, Gale Stanley, Erma Hatmaker (Campbell County Schools), Shande King, Nick Kim, and Lynn Hodge (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
Corresponding Author: Lynn Hodge

11:45 – 12:00  Discussion across sessions

Group 5: Science  Room 224

10:45 – 11:05  A Mixed Methods Evaluation of Plant Blindness and Botanical Literacy in Undergraduate Botany Students, Kathryn M. Parsley, Jaime L. Sabel (University of Memphis), Laura Zangori (University of Missouri), Jason Koontz (Augustana University)
Corresponding Author: Kathryn Parsley

11:05 – 11:25  Leveraging Student Ideas About Measurement and Variation in Biology, Ryan Seth Jones, Anna Grinath, Zhigang Jia, Lindsay Czap, Angela Google (MTSU)
Corresponding Author: Ryan Seth Jones

11:25 – 11:45  Problem Solving Through STEM Applications at a Rural and Remote School: Observations of An Ongoing Research Project, Cephas Ablakwa, Jennifer Meadows, Kelly Moore, Andrea Arce-Tragitti, Megan Clement, Julie Baker (Tennessee Tech)
Corresponding Author: Cephas Ablakwa

11:45 – 12:00  Discussion across sessions

Group 6: STEM  Room 210

10:45-11:05  Outsourcing the STEM Talent: Is Outsourcing the Solution?, Murat Arik (MTSU), Kali Thompson (Tennessee Small Business Center), Patrick Geho (MTSU)
Corresponding Author: Kali Thompson

11:05 – 11:25  Broadening Participation in STEM, Dale McCreedy
Corresponding Author:  Dale McCreedy

11:25-11:45  Investigating the role of network bridging in teacher retention dispositions, Samuel J. Polizzi, Yicong Zhu, Brandon Ofem, Sara Salisbury, Gregory T. Rushton

Corresponding Author:  Samuel Polizzi

11:45 – 12:00 Discussion across sessions

Breakout Session 3 (1:30p-3:45p)

Group 7: Math  Parliamentary Room

1:30 – 1:50 Strategic Tasks Pre-Service Mathematics Teachers Experience in an Introductory STEM Inquiry-Based Learning Course, Nick Kim, Shande King, Lynn Hodge (University of Tennessee – Knovxille)
Corresponding Author: Nick Kim

1:50 – 2:10  Latent Class Modeling of Whole Class Discussions about Data, Statistics, and Probability, Ryan Seth Jones (MTSU) and Joshua Rosenberg (University of Tennessee)
Corresponding Author:  Ryan Seth Jones

2:10 – 2:30  Research Experiences for Teachers in Mathematics, Anant Godbole, ETSU
Corresponding Author:  Anant Godbole

2:30 – 2:50  Teaching Comparison Word Problems Informed by Learning Trajectory in China and the US, Rongjin Huang, Dovie Kimmins, Jeremy Winters, Jennifer Seat, Monica Frideczky (MTSU)
Corresponding Author:  Dovie Kimmins

2:50 – 3:10  Observing and Interpreting Prospective Secondary Teachers’ Development of Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching – It is Possible?, Jeremy F. Strayer, Alyson E. Lischka, Candice M. Quinn
Corresponding Author: Jeremy Strayer

3:30 – 3:45  Discussion across sessions

Group 8: Science  Room 224

1:30 – 1:50  The Effect of Stereoscopic 3D Visualization Laboratory Exercises on Learning in Organic Chemistry, Eric Oslund, Andrienne Friedli, Anatoliy Volkov (MTSU)
Corresponding Author: Andrienne Friedli

1:50 – 2:10  Automation and Flight Education: Software Design and Behavior, Tyler A. Babb, MTSU
Corresponding Author: Tyler Babb

2:10 – 2:30  Using Low Cost Drones to Increase Student Interest in Aerospace STEM Subjects, Kevin Corns, C. Hiers, MTSU
Corresponding Author: Kevin Corns

2:30 – 2:50  Biology Graduate Teaching Assistants as Novice Educators: Similarities Between Teaching Ability and Practice Beliefs between Teaching Assistants and K-12 Teachers, Grant E. Gardner & Jennifer Parrish (MTSU)
Corresponding Author: Grant Gardner

2:50-3:10  Better Together? Findings From a Combined, Integrated STEM Unit With Pre-Service Mathematics and Science Teachers, Michael Lawson, Joshua Rosenberg, and Michael Camponovo
Corresponding Author:  Michael Lawson

3:10 – 3:25  Discussion across sessions

Group 9: STEM  Room 210

1:30 – 1:50  STEM Teacher Summit: Helping Teachers Develop STEM Literacy Among Their Students, Adriane Sheffield (Coastal Carolina University), Marcus Ashford (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa), Rosianna Gray (University of Alabama, Birmingham)
Corresponding Author:   Adriane Sheffield

1:50 – 2:10  Overview of the Integrating STEM and Literacy with Computation in Elementary Education (i-SLICEE) Program, Ryan Andrew Nivens, Chihche Tai, Laura Robertson, Reneé Rice Moran, Karin Keith, Thomas Jones
Corresponding Author: Ryan Andrew Nivens

2:10 – 2:30  Using Primary Literature to Address Scientific Literacy Goals, Heather Corban
Corresponding AuthorHeather Corban

2:30 – 2:50  Introducing Inquiry Via Task-Based Performance to Pre-Service Teachers in an Introductory Methods CourseShande King, Nick Kim, Lynn Hodge (University of Tennessee, Knovxille)
Corresponding Author: Shande King

2:50-3:10  STEM Education Research and Outreach in the Upper Cumberland, Holly Anthony, Jennifer Meadows, Sally Pardue
Corresponding Author:  Holly Anthony

3:10-3:25  Discussion across sessions

Poster Presentations

Poster presentation will be hosted on second floor of Student Union Building on Thursday, February 14th, 2019 from 4:00-6:00pm. Banquet to follow.

The following posters will be presented:

  1. 3D Biology Lessons: Designing across biology, data modeling, and argumentation learning goals
    Authors: Anna Grinath, Ryan Seth Jones, Casey Whitworth, Angela Google, Harlee Morphis (MTSU)
    Presented by: Anna Grinath
  2. Assessing biology proficiency as a multifaceted construct
    Authors: Brock Couch, Anna Grinath (MTSU), Partick Emderle (Georgia State), Jonathon Grooms (The George Washington Univ), Victor Sampson (The University of Texas at Austin)
    Presented by: Brock Couch
  3. A Social Network Analysis of Introductory Biology Students' In-and-Out-of-Class Study Group Interactions
    Authors: Gina Bishara, Grant Gardner, Joshua Reid (MTSU)
    Presented by: Gina Bishara
  4. A Tale of Two Worlds: A Critical Review of the Research-Teaching Nexus
    Authors: Joshua W. Reid, Grant E. Gardner
    Presented by: Joshua W. Reid
  5. Post-exam Reflection Activity: Beneficial for Both Student and Teachers
    Author: Joshua Forakis
    Presented by: Joshua Forakis
  6. The Middle Tennessee MTE-Partnership: Research-Based Growth and Improvement
    Authors: Alyson Lischka, Jeremy Strayer, Sally Millsap, Ryan Seth Jones (MTSU)
    Presented by: Alyson Lischka
  7. The Mathematics of Doing, Understanding, Learning and Educating for Secondary Schools (MODULE(S2))
    Authors: Jeremy Strayer, Alyson Lischka, Candice Quinn (MTSU)
    Presented by: Jeremy Strayer
  8. Analyzing Students’ Understanding of Isomorphism
    Authors: Marilin Kelley, Jennifer Lovett, James Hart (MTSU)
    Presented by: Marilin Kelley
  9. Rural High School Teachers' Perceptions of Teaching and Learning When Using an Integrated Mathematics Curriculum
    Author: Meghan Clemons (Tennessee Tech)
    Presented by: Meghan Clemons
  10. Tennessee High School Teachers' Experiences with Students with Disabilities in the Integrated Mathematics Curriculum
    Author: Miguel Perez (Tennessee Tech)
    Presented by: Miguel Perez
  1. Developing Teachers' Mathematics Instructional Expertise Through Vertical Lesson Study
    Authors: Rongjin Huang, Dovie Kimmins, Jeremy Waters, Jennifer Seat
    Presented by: Jennifer Seat
  2. X-ray Crystallography and Experimental Labwork (XCEL) for Minority and Low Income Chemistry and Biochemistry Students: A TBR Student Engagement, Retention, and Success Project
    Authors: Andrienne Friedli, Keying Ding (MTSU)
    Presented by: Andrienne Friedli
  3. Measuring the relationship between science and mathematics teachers' self-efficacy and identity
    Authors: Sara Salisbury, Samuel Polizzi, Yicong Zhu, Gregory Rushton (MTSU)
    Presented by: Gregory Rushton
  4. HABPi – A Cross Discipline Hands On Adventure
    Authors: Robert E. Lowe (Maryville College), Sarah M. Graham (Pellissippi State)
    Presented by: Robert E. Lowe
  5. Augmented Reality to Improve Student STEM Success
    Authors: Myranda Uselton, Levi Madden, Neil McClain, Andrienne Friedli, Amy Phelps, John Wallin (MTSU)
    Presented by: Myranda Uselton
  6. Evaluating Teacher Professional Development in Robotics
    Author: Deborah McAlister (University of Tennessee - Chattanooga)
    Presented by: Deborah McAlister
  7. Partnership with a Purpose: A Model of a School-University Collaboration
    Authors: Aimee Govett, Jamie Price (ETSU)
    Presented by: Aimee Govett
  8. The B.O.S.S. Method: Empowering Tennessee Educators and Underserved Populations
    Authors: Thura Mack, Savanna Draper, Christy Thomas (University of Tennessee - Knoxville)
    Presented by: Thura Mack
  9. Reflective Dialogue: A Theoretical Framework for Studying Teaching Trios
    Authors: Sister Cecilia Anne Wanner, Sarah Bleiler-Baxter (MTSU)
    Presented by: Sister Cecilia Anne Wanner
  10. Investigating the Persistence and Trajectories of Noyce Master Teaching Fellows
    Authors: Katherine A. Sharp, Brett A. Criswell, Anna E. Hutchinson
    Presented by: Katherine Sharp
  11. Waves & Spirals of Teacher Assistant (TA) Change
    Authors: Tina Carter, Anna Grinath (MTSU)
    Presented by: Tina Carter

Conference Maps

Maps for parking and events are in PDF form below.

Parking Lot/Campus Directions

Thursday Event Map

Friday Event Map




2018 Conference Photos








Tennessee STEM Education Center

820 Fairview Ave,
Suite 102
MTSU PO Box 82
Murfreesboro, TN 37132