2010 - 2012

Participants          Research        Curriculum & Evaluation

This RET-BITS Site program aimed to establish a strong partnership between the hosting institutions MSU, Woman working on experimentthe NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems (WIMS), school districts, and industry on advancing pre-college science and engineering education, by training a cadre of leaders of middle and high school teachers in the areas of STEM. The three year program provided a seven week summer experience for a total of 26 middle and high school STEM teachers from Holt Public Schools, Utica Community Schools, and the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP). These teachers were given the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research on Bio-Inspired Technology and Systems (BITS), with "one-on-one" mentoring from engineering faculty. Working with PIs, faculty mentors, and a teacher development specialist from the College of Education, teachers developed innovative, standards-compliant curriculum modules and John Thon explains robotic fishparticipate in a number of professional development activities: workshops, seminars, and field trips to industry and national labs. Extensive follow-up activities were planned throughout the academic year to ensure translation of the lab experience to classroom practice and to foster and strengthen long-term partnerships between engineering faculty and teachers. The RET-BITS Site engaged industrial partners to explore a potentially sustainable paradigm for RET that is supported primarily by industry.

  • Spark the interest of students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
  • Train teachers to ultimately develop students’ confidence and skills to succeed in a dynamic and competitive global marketplace.
  • Develop innovative curriculum that integrates interdisciplinary, hands-on learning with national and state standards.

Approach / Methods


  • 10 teachers/year, 7-week BITS Summer Institute
  • Close interactions between faculty, grad/undergrad students, and RET fellows

Development of standards-compliant curriculum

  • During Summer Institute and the Fall semester
  • Implement in classroom during the Spring semester

Project-based learning for students during semesters

  • Coached by RET fellows
  • MSU College of Engineering Design Day
  • Annual workshop to disseminate new curricula for school teachers, administrators, and university faculty.

A typical Summer Institute schedule can be found here.

NSF LogoThis grant was made possible by the National Science Foundation as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).