Obtaining Resources Home Page

From the Publisher


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D

Appendix E


Index (Search Engine)

List of Moursund's Websites

Appendix A:
Sample NSF Preliminary Proposal

For additional sample proposals and sources of grant opportunities see http://www.west.asu.edu/achristie/grants/.

Moursund, D.G. (2002). Obtaining resources for technology in education: A how-to guide for writing proposals, forming partnerships, and raising funds. Copyright (c) David Moursund, 2002.

Appendix A: Sample NSF Preliminary Proposal

This is an example of a preliminary proposal. It is a slightly modified form of a preliminary proposal submitted to the National Science Foundation. An NSF Program Officer provided useful feedback on the merits of the proposed project and its likelihood of being funded.

The preliminary proposal given here is not intended to represent an ideal preliminary proposal to be copied. Rather, it is intended to illustrate a combination of good and not-so-good features. As you study it, look for its strengths and weaknesses. What you would do to make it better?

One of the weaknesses in this preliminary proposal is that the proposed project cuts across two quite different components of the NSF. It would require a collaborative effort by two program officers to fund the proposed project. If the program officers are not used to working together and if they are over burdened by their workloads, this might work against such a proposal being funded.

One of the strengths of this proposed project is that it is apt to stand the test of time. That is, the problem that it addresses is growing on a yearly basis.


Letter to National Science Foundation


Dr. (First Name) (Last Name), Program Officer

Informal Science Education Program

National Science Foundation

Washington, DC 20550


Dear Dr. (Last Name):

The enclosed preliminary proposal is a follow-up of the telephone conversation that we had on (date). In that conversation we discussed a number of ideas that had been developed for a Planning Grant to be submitted to the Informal Science Education Program. As a consequence of our conversation, you suggested that it would be more appropriate to submit a preliminary proposal.

I appreciate the help you provided in our phone conversation and the suggestion that a preliminary proposal would be more appropriate than a Planning Grant Proposal.

As noted in our phone conversation, this project probably belongs someplace in-between Informal Education and Teacher Enhancement. Long term success of the project requires community involvement and close cooperation between informal and formal education. However, the initial thrust in this project will be more toward informal education than toward formal education.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. David Moursund

Student Exhibits for Science Education (SESE)

(SESE is pronounced as "See See")


Preliminary proposal submitted by:

David Moursund

President, Willamette Science and Technology Center (WISTEC) and

Executive Officer, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

1787 Agate Street

Eugene, Oregon 97403

Phone 503/346-2401 or 503/346-3564

E-mail moursund@oregon.uoregon.edu


This Student Exhibits for Science Education (SESE, pronounced "See See") project is designed to significantly improve science and technology education in this country. It addresses two major educational problems:

  1. Relatively few students are engaged in learning to design and build science and technology projects. Indeed, many students now complete high school having never even put together model kits.
  2. Relatively few students are learning to help other students learn about science and technology.

The SESE project will develop and pilot test the idea of elementary and secondary school students creating hands-on exhibits designed to help people learn key ideas in science and technology. Important features of this project include:

  1. Training of students, parents, teachers, and volunteers to work together to produce exhibits that can be used in the community.
  2. Developing a set of guidelines that would allow judging of exhibits in local, regional, and national competition.
  3. Developing instructional support materials that facilitate widespread implementation of the SESE project idea.

The initial development and implementation will be done locally. However, the intent is to design SESE so that it can be scaled up to regional, statewide, and national implementation.

Organization Profiles

This will be a joint proposal from two nonprofit organizations: the Willamette Science and Technology Center and the International Society for Technology in Education.

The Willamette Science and Technology Center (WISTEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit science and technology museum. It is located in Eugene, Oregon, and serves a metropolitan area of approximately 250,000 people. WISTEC has an annual budget of about $150,000.

WISTEC was established in 1961 and is housed in a facility rented from the city of Eugene for one dollar a year. Initially, the museum was the South West Oregon Museum for Science and Industry--a branch of the Oregon Museum for Science and Industry (OMSI). WISTEC members are still given free admission to OMSI.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional society of educators with a mission of improving education. ISTE's main offices are located in Eugene, Oregon. ISTE also has a national office located in the Washington, DC, area.

ISTE publishes 12 periodicals, holds conferences, has a broad-based committee structure, and publishes a wide range of instructional support materials. It currently operates on a budget of about $1.6 million per year.

Project Description

Project SESE is designed to actively engage students and their parents in designing and constructing the types of exhibits that are used in hands-on science and technology museums. The project addresses two problems in science education:

  1. Relatively few students are engaged in learning to design and build science and technology projects. Indeed, many students now complete high school having never even put together model kits. Also, many have little experience in the computer-based electronic equivalent of kit building, such as designing and implementing interactive multimedia software.
  2. Relatively few students are learning to help other students learn about science and technology. This is detrimental to adult life in a world of lifelong learning in which people have a major responsibility of helping their coworkers and others to learn.

The underlying educational philosophy in this project is that all students should be both learners and teachers. Every student has the capability of being both a creative learner and a facilitator of other people's learning. This project is designed to help students develop their skills as independent, self-sufficient learners and as facilitators of learning.

Ultimate Goal

The ultimate purpose of SESE is a small but significant change in science and technology education in this country. This will be done by bringing the concept of the hands-on science and technology museum into the classrooms of our schools and the communities of our nation.

In communities that have a hands-on science and technology museum, the museum will play a continuing and central coordinating role in SESE. In effect, the museum will develop a school classroom-based outreach program. In communities that lack a science and technology museum, the effect of the project will be to create a school classroom-based "distributed" museum.

The Goal Viewed Locally

Imagine a museum exhibit team. The team might consist of one or more students (perhaps from different grade levels), one or more parents, and a volunteer mentor, perhaps from a local high-tech company. The makeup of a team will vary widely with the implementation site.

A team, with some guidance from the teacher(s) of the student(s), will design and construct a hands-on, interactive exhibit. The exhibit will be designed to help its users learn some important idea from science, mathematics, or technology.

The exhibit may become part of a student's portfolio. Clearly, this orientation is a strong connection to formal education and enhances the value of the project in states such as Oregon that are focusing on students developing portfolios.

Typically, the exhibit will be entered into a competition, first at the classroom or school level, then at the district level, and so on. When SESE has been implemented on a national level, there will be national competitions and outstanding exhibits will receive national recognition. Winning exhibits at all levels will go on tour. For example, a school-level winner might be exhibited at locations in the community as well as at a science and technology museum.

The Goal Viewed Globally

The underlying philosophy of this project is hands-on, cooperative learning involving teams of people that contain both students and adults. The flavor of this project can be considered as a combination of ideas from the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, Invention Convention, Soapbox Derby, and other individual and locally based, but national competitions.

When implemented on a nationwide basis, the project could entail the yearly involvement of thousands of students. Over a period of years, schools will institutionalize the idea that students learn to facilitate the learning of others through the development of hands-on exhibits.

Not all students, classrooms, or schools will choose to participate competitively. In any classroom, the project can and should be implemented so that the real joy and value is in participating--every participant is a winner!

However, an essential aspect of the design and production of any exhibit is a combination of formative and summative evaluation. Such evaluation (feedback) can come from a number of sources, including peers, end users, teachers, and competition judges. For those who decide to participate in having their exhibits judged, there will be recognition and prizes. This will require a carefully constructed partnership with the corporate sector.

Materials and Infrastructure

To a large extent, the design of this project is summarized by "Think globally, act locally." The infrastructure and the materials that are developed need to fit both a local and a nationwide context. The initial project will be a local project. However, there will be a focus on how to scale up the project to regional, state, and national levels.

A wide range of print and video materials will need to be collected and developed. The materials need to be grounded in the best practices of hands-on science, mathematics, and technology education. They need to be readable/viewable by a wide range of teachers, parents, and volunteers. Materials are also needed for students and teachers to facilitate integration of exhibits construction into the everyday curriculum.

Audience Impact

There are five major "audiences" in this project. All will be significantly impacted.

  1. Students. Initial emphasis in the project will be on students in upper elementary through high school, roughly grades 4&endash;12.
  2. Science, mathematics, and technology teachers. The project will be designed so that any individual teacher can facilitate the participation of some or all of the students that they teach.
  3. Parents and volunteers. Somewhat paralleling the ideas in the Soapbox Derby, the project will be designed to facilitate and encourage participation of parents and volunteers on the exhibit teams.
  4. Hands-on science and technology museums. In communities that have such museums, it is quite likely that the museums will take the lead in local implementation of this project.
  5. Local communities. There will be a strong focus on community involvement and of "be proud of our kids, their teachers, and their schools." Local implementation of the project will include substantial involvement of the media (public relations) and of the business community.

Brief Summary of Three-Year Project Activity

The proposal will seek funding that extends over a period of three years. Project activity during this time will be divided into four phases.

  1. Getting started. This will include a more detailed needs assessment, formation of a broad-based advisory group, design of a pilot study, and initial work on collecting and creating SESE support materials.
  2. Small pilot study. The ideas of project SESE will be pilot tested with a few teams of participants at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. There will be continued work on finding and developing needed materials.
  3. Expanded pilot study. The ideas of SESE will be pilot tested with whole classrooms of participants at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. By the end of the expanded pilot study, the project ideas and project materials have been refined to a level to support wider implementation and dissemination.
  4. Pilot study of "scaling up" the project. Explore the difficulties of getting the project implemented in some school districts that have not been involved in 1&endash;3 above.

If the project proves to be successful, then additional sources of funding will be needed to scale the project up to state and national levels. Such funding might come from a combination of private foundations and/or corporate sources, as well as from state and federal funds.

Staffing and Estimated Project Costs

I view SESE In its current conception as a project requiring an investment of approximately $150,000 per year for three years.

The proposal will come jointly from the Willamette Science and Technology Center (a local hands-on museum) and the International Society for Technology in Education (a nationwide organization). There will be letters of support from key people in the local school districts to show they understand the project and are willing to have their students and teachers participate.

WISTEC will take the lead in the local implementation of the project, including gathering and preparing needed materials. ISTE will take the lead in materials production and dissemination, as well as in ensuring that the project ideas can be scaled up to state and national levels.

The co-PIs will be Dr. Ray Hull, who is currently the Director of WISTEC, and Dr. David Moursund, who is the Executive Officer of ISTE.

Both of the prospective PIs are also currently faculty members in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. Dr. Hull's work in the College of Education has focused on science education. Dr. Moursund's work in the College of Education has focused on computer-related technology and on mathematics education.

The project will have a local advisory committee consisting of students, parents, teachers, representatives from local businesses, and so on. The ISTE Board of Directors will serve in the role of a national advisory group.


A Nation at Risk: The imperative for educational reform. (1983). National Commission for Excellence in Education. Washington, DC: Author.

A SCANS Report for AMERICA 2000 (1991). What work requires of schools. U.S. Department of Labor. Washington, DC: Author.

Educational Leadership (1992, May). The entire issue of this ASCD periodical is devoted to performance assessment.

Exploratorium (1975). Exploratorium Cookbook.

Exploratorium (1990). Exploratorium Science Snackbook.

Fort, D.C. (1993, May). Science shy, science savvy, science smart. Phi Delta Kappan. PP 674-683.

Moursund, D.G. (1990). Effective inservice for integrating computer-as-tool into the curriculum. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (1989). Curriculum and evaluation standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: Author.

Oregon Department of Education (1987). Mathematics: Common curriculum goals.

Oregon Department of Education (1988). Science education: Common curriculum goals.

Phi Delta Kappan (1990, May). Five articles in this issue of Phi Delta Kappan focus on science education with a major emphasis on hands-on science.

Rutherford, F.J. and Ahlgren, A. (1990). Science for all Americans. New York: Oxford University Press.

Wilson, K.G. (1992). A national plan for overall educational reform (rough draft). Project Discovery, Smith Laboratory, The Ohio State University, 174 W. 18th Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43210.


Vita for Dr. Ray Hull (Not included in this Appendix)

Vita for Dr. David Moursund (Not included in this Appendix)

Top of Page