Assistant Professor Brant Miller Research
Brant Miller: STEM and Adventure Learning go Hand-in-Hand
Brant Miller has had a variety of experiences that inspired his desire for learning and exploration prior to coming to the University of Idaho. His research interests include the identification of science agency in K-12 students through culturally based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricular experiences; and adventure learning (AL) environments.
Brant’s dissertation study looked at the development of science agency in upper elementary youth as a result of experiencing a culturally based and integrated STEM curriculum. For the study, Brant defined science agency as an expressed behavior that illuminates positive dispositions toward STEM as an integrated construct for the purposes of taking action in a student’s individual life.
The project from which his study was conducted was a highly coordinated effort to combine the culturally based context of snow snakes (a traditional American Indian game and a physical object) with STEM content within an AL environment. The STEM content took the form of mathematics (scaling and data), and science (force and motion) within an engineering prototype iteration that used available materials and tools for success. As a result of this study, Brant found that science agency was fostered in students through meaningful content, community involvement, and technological affordances.
The snow snake curriculum was written and delivered using the AL framework, which promotes both face-to-face and online interactions and experiences. Brant has been intimately involved with AL through his dissertation work and through his involvement with the archetype AL program.
By looking at the development of science agency in part through AL environments, Brant sees great potential in pursuing his research interests at the University of Idaho. In the few months Brant has been with Idaho, he has developed multiple grant proposals that would provide the opportunity to look at the development of science agency in students at the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS); and also developed an AL environment that will take students through AL water expeditions based out of MOSS and enacted throughout Idaho. To follow Brant’s Adventure Learning expedition, visit http://alatui.wordpress.com.