As computing has become such an integral part of the STEM disciplines, the STEM+Computing Partnership (STEM+C) program advances the integration of computational approaches in STEM teaching and learning and how this integration can improve STEM learning, engagement, persistence, and computational thinking. Computational Thinking (CT) is a relatively new educational focus and a clear need for learners as a 21st century skill. This proposal tackles this challenging new area at the high school level by leveraging a curriculum designed to integrate mathematics and computing to improve learning in both to understand how learning these two subjects together can lead to improvement in both students' understanding and teachers' perceptions of and knowledge about these subjects. Understanding the ways that learning mathematics impacts learning computing and vice-versa is an important research goal. Learning computing is vital for preparing today's students for the many job opportunities available in this area. In addition, the project will train over 600 teachers in diverse schools in using this curriculum, leading to a strong possible impact on improving learning and retention in STEM and computing.

The project will investigate the ways that learning mathematics and programming mutually influence each other. The project uses the Bootstrap curriculum in which students program videogames. Bootstrap is a function-based computing language that targets important algebraic concepts. The curriculum is designed around key mathematical practice standards to help teachers incorporate it into their existing courses. The research on student learning will focus on: 1) which of the intended concepts transfer from Bootstrap to algebra, 2) the type of scaffolding that best supports this transfer, and 3) the aspects of the curriculum that contribute to that transfer. The research on teachers will focus on: 1) the effect of using Bootstrap on teacher perceptions of connections between math and computing, 2) the aspects of the curriculum's pedagogical style and the professional development provided that affect teachers skill and confidence level teaching computing, and 3) possible differential effects for teachers whose primary area was mathematics or computing prior to using Bootstrap. In addition to the 200 teachers the project team has already trained, they will train an additional 600 teachers over the course of the project. During the project, they will collect teacher data from at least 100 teachers in each year for Years 2 and 3 of the project and student data from 20 of those teachers' classes.