The Christopher Newport University Institute for Science Education (CISE) will be a dynamic and exemplary community of faculty scholars and educators dedicated to fostering excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels from pre-K through post-college.

The mission of CISE is to:

  • improve the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (the STEM disciplines) in all of Hampton Roads;
  • develop and promote engaging and interactive ways to introduce and inspire students to pursue careers requiring expertise in the STEM disciplines;
  • advance pedagogical research in the STEM disciplines;
  • enhance the public's understanding of science, mathematics and technology and demonstrate their relevance to everyday life.

In support of its mission, CISE has established the following goals.

CISE will:

  • promote creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills;
  • demonstrate, use and model the power of technology to enhance and enrich the teaching and learning processes;
  • demonstrate to both students and educators a connection between STEM concepts taught in the classroom and those used every day by engineers and scientists;
  • advance the theory and practice of teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics;
  • serve both formal and informal educators as well the parents of homebound and home-schooled children;
  • increase scientific and technological literacy;
  • contribute to the community's science and engineering goals;
  • support the community's workforce and economic development initiatives.
    It is intended that initially, four main categories of individuals will participate in the work of CISE. These main categories are described below. As CISE evolves, these categories may grow in number or change in nature or both.
    • The first group of participants will be members of the CNU faculty doing research in the field of Mathematics, Engineering and Science Education (the STEM disciplines). Some of these faculty members will be funded through external grants, while others will be participating in the activities of CISE without grant support.
    • The second group of participants will be CNU-affiliated scholars conducting research in Science Education. These could include post-docs, supported by grant funds, or outside researchers, supported by their own funds. They could also include teachers from the local community or region who are working with CISE on STEM-education related activities.
    • The third group of participants will be those actively engaged in delivering Science Education to any of the constituencies served by CISE.
    • The fourth group of participants will be CNU students who are working with other scholars in the institute.


    • CISE was awarded a Math Science Partnership Grant from the State of Virginia to increase the subject matter knowledge and teaching skills of elementary science teachers. Core partners include (i) department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering (PCSE) and the Office of Teacher Preparation at CNU, (ii) multiple high-needs school division partners - Portsmouth, Newport News and Hampton City Public Schools and (iii) the National Institute for Aerospace. Together we have designed a program of professional development activities that will assist local schools in closing the achievement gap in science for all students. We have offered an introductory one-week summer workshop and a semester-long course in science content. A second course will be offered in the Spring 2008 semester with a reflective/summary workshop in June of 2008.
    • Technology Enhanced Learning of English and Science is a partnership between CNU and Northampton County Public Schools. The PI is Dr. Rebecca Wheeler of the English Department at CNU with Chaudhury serving as co-PI. The project brings together middle school teachers of English and Science to apply the Code Switching techniques to students' vernacular grammar and the use of TELS online units to provide content, rich, inquiry based curriculum where students write about the science they are learning. All science teachers from NC Middle School attended the Hampton Roads Regional TELS Symposium, Aug. 6-7, 2007 and have participated in follow up training to ensure they are ready for the TELS project runs. English teachers have also participated in Professional Development activities at NCPS in order to prepare them to engage in Code Switching lessons with their students. CNU students from the MAT program are assisting Profs. Wheeler and Chaudhury on this project. It is funded by a NCLB grant from State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV).
    • The Physics, Computer Science and Engineering (PCSE) Department together with Information Technology Services has initiated a video iPod project. Participating faculty will develop three hours of educational video. They will be able to draw on the facilities and staff of the Multimedia Computing Laboratory in the PCSE Department. The videos will be published as video podcasts and in formats suitable for download. Look on the CISE web site for future updates.
    • Several projects for K-16 learners have been created using etoys in Squeak. Squeak is a free, multimedia, object oriented programming environment that runs on several different computer platforms. All of the projects use the fun etoy environment of Squeak that is designed to inspire and enhance learning. Squeak has the power to build higher order thinking skills, because learners can deconstruct the projects, reconstruct the projects, and construct new projects using simple graphical programming tiles. Before you can enter the exciting world of Squeak, you need to download the Squeak plugin at You can find the Squeak projects at

    Past Projects

    • CISE hosted a career fair organized by Donna Pollard at New Horizon's which took place Saturday, February 23, 2008 from 9:30-noon on the second floor of the David Student Union for 9th and 10th graders who were interested in the New Horizons Governor School for Science and Technology.
    • On January 31, Randall Caton addressed the Kiwanis Club of Smithfield on CISE and K-12 Science Education.
    • Globe Workshop sponsored by NASA SPHERE from June 18-22, 2007 at Christopher Newport University and NASA Langley Research Center. Hands-on learning of GLOBE protocols in (1) Atmosphere - Basic and Advanced; (2) Hydrology - Basic and Advanced; (3) Soils - Basic and Advanced; (4) Ozone; (5) GPS, Aerosols & Water Vapor - Advanced; GLOBE Data Entry; and Inquiry projects with GLOBE data. Dr. S. Raj Chaudhury of CISE is coordinating this workshop.
    • Technology Enhanced Learning in Science (TELS) Hampton Roads Regional Symposium from August 6-8, 2007. Knowledge integration through inquiry and technology in secondary science. Dr. S. Raj Chaudhury of CISE is coordinating this symposium.
    • In Spring 2007, CISE implemented an 8 week kinesthetic learning session on computer science at Riverside Elementary for fourth graders. In collaboration with SWE (Society for Women Engineers), Dr. Lynn Lambert will cover binary numbers, sorting and searching, networks and the Internet and other topics.
    • Randy Caton was in the Extremadura Region of Spain from April 18-20, 2007 at their La Feria de la Educatión presenting his Squeak projects developed for NASA CONNECT to students and teachers. The program is listed on the Squeakpolis Web Site. You can also view photos from the Feria. Finally, there is a video of the workshops in Spain at YouTube.
    • March 7, 2007 3-5 PM EST: CISE sponsored a Video Conference with teams of students at the National Sports School in Canada. Working in groups, students had to communicate an effective message using artwork (picture, drawing, sculpture, painting etc.) or music as the medium. The message is to clearly explain the long-term effects on the human body (muscles and bones) as astronauts travel to and from Mars. Click to read more detail and watch the video conference.
    • NSF Discovery Research K-12: Development of computer-based curricula for elementary level science education: hardware. Final Proposal submitted Jan. 28, 2008.
    • Symantec Foundation: Getting Elementary Children Excited about Computer Science (GEECS). Proposal submitted Apr. 16, 2007. Not funded.
    • Microsoft: Evaluating Tablet PCs in the Liberal Learning Core: teaching with interactive engagement techniques across the disciplines. Proposal submitted Nov. 27, 2006. Not funded.
    • NSF Discovery Research K-12: Development of Learning Progression Modules in a Constructivist Environment that Integrates Motion, Force, Energy and Mathematics. Final Proposal submitted Mar. 9, 2007. Not funded.
    • Microsoft Game Programming in CS: Developing and Assessing the Effectiveness of Game Programming Assignments in CPSC 250. Proposal submitted Nov. 12, 2006. Status: Not funded.
    • NSF Discovery Research K-12: Development of computer-based curricula for elementary level science education: hardware. Final Proposal submitted Mar. 20, 2007. Not funded.
    • NSF Discovery Research K-12: Development of computer-based curricula for elementary level science education: software. Final Proposal submitted Mar. 20, 2007. Not funded.
    • PhysTEC: The Physics Teacher Education Coalition is seeking to support a small number of additional institutions (up to 4) to help significantly enhance efforts in physics and physical science teacher preparation. Letter of consideration as a PhysTEC primary program institution submitted Nov. 1, 2006. Status: Not encouraged to submit.
    • State of Virginia Math Science Partnerships: Partnership for Excellence in Elementary School Science (PEESS). Submitted Dec. 5, 2006. Funded.
    • State of Virginia Math Science Partnerships: Mathematical Excellence in Middle School (MEMS). Submitted Dec. 5, 2006. Not funded.
    • TELES: Technology Enhanced Learning of English and Science in Middle School. Submitted by Dr. Rebecca Wheeler, PI; Dr. S. Raj Chaudhury, Co-PI to the Virginia State Council for Higher Education on March 16, 2007. Funded.

    NASA CONNECT Clips Video Podcast

    NASA CONNECT establishes the connection between the mathematics, science, and technology concepts taught in the classroom and NASA research. Each program consists of a 30 minute video broadcast, a classroom activity, and a web activity. The short clips extracted from the NASA CONNECT episodes range in length from 20 seconds to 5 minutes. They are self-contained segments that can be used to introduce, reinforce or review mathematics, science, and technology concepts. Some of the clips are partly or wholly animated. These clips can be freely used for educational purposes.

    Video Podcasts

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