Science Education Programs

Center for Educational Partnerships
University of California at Irvine, Irvine CA 92697-2505

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Some of our ongoing Programs:

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UCI Pre-College Science Education Programs Office:

UCI Science Education Advisory Board

Our programs are funded through the University of California Office of the President, federal and state monies as well as by the following corporate support:

Some of our Programs for teachers, students, and science educators:


UCI Summer Science Institute (founded in 1981)

The Institute offers teachers professional development courses in science content and teaching pedagogy each year at all three levels - elementary, middle and high school. A typical Institute consists of three elementary and three to four upper level courses plus Independent Study. The courses may all be taken for professional growth credit, a maximum of 9 quarter units is allowed in any summer. The Institute is funded by the UCI Science Education Advisory Board, the California Science Project, Project Tomorrow and from fees paid by local school districts. Scholarships for course fees are available.

Some of the past courses include:

Elementary Program

Middle and High School Program Back to the top

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Orange County Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Network (founded in 1994)

The Orange County STS Network project establishes a permanent science, technology, and society (STS) network which provides continuous updating of science and technology issues in middle and high school curricula. The project is sponsored by the UCI Science Education Advisory Board which overseas a partnership of K-12 and postsecondary schools with technology-based corporations in Orange County. The STS Network is one of many programs coordinated by the UCI Science Education Programs Office. Currently the Project is not active but much of the materials and the ideas developed are incorprated into the other programs.

This 5-year NSF funded project was made up of two components: STS Fellows/Mentors and Focus Work Groups. The Focus Work Groups, composed of teachers, students, and scientists/engineers, select and modify available curriculum materials as well as develop new materials for the project. The STS Fellows (teachers) work with the STS Mentors (scientists/engineers/medical personnel) to infuse into the classroom those STS materials designed to capture the interest and imagination of students. These materials provide the vehicle for nurturing the network in Orange County.

In the STS Summer Institute, the STS Fellows work with the new materials prepared by the Focus Work Groups. They are teamed with Mentors to plan for the academic year and to discuss STS philosophy. During the academic year, monthly meetings facilitate networking and the workshops enable teachers practice presenting STS materials.

For a more in depth look at the STS Network, visit the STS Homepage.

For a look at the upcoming events for the STS Network and for Science Education Programs, visit the Science Education Programs News Bulletin.

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California Science Project (CSPOC) (founded in 1990)

CSPOC targets secondary (middle and high) school science teachers, providing them a professional home for examining and developing their own knowledge of science and methodologies for implementing a standards-based curriculum for all students. Support is provided for these teachers to become active participants in revision of the secondary school curriculum and instruction with the goal of improving student achievement in science, especially for students that have traditionally performed in the lower quintiles on statewide assessments

Teachers are recruited in teams to attend a strong, in-depth, content institute, mapped to middle and high school content standards. They are introduced to a variety of proven and innovative instructional practices and develop leadership skills. The year-long program extends the summer work, and additional opportunities for science learning and leadership are provided through collaboration with UCI Outreach Programs, UCI Science Education Programs, and other Southern California Science facilities.

To encourage teachers to stay more current within their discipline, each school will be allotted funding for lab materials, and conference fees and will receive a subscription to a science journal. Key articles are chosen each month for discussion and elaboration. Throughout the program, student work will be examined to help participants evaluate their teaching and growth in student achievement.

Specific Goals of the CSP/CSPOC Site are that:

The first year of participation includes a 3-week summer institute, monthly meetings, and two weekend workshops. In subsequent years, fellows meet monthly to plan other activities.

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Outstanding High School Science Students Program (founded in 1987)

The program is designed to give high school students an overview of areas of research and teaching emphasized by the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Physical Sciences here at UC Irvine. Ninety students from local high school attend UC Irvine for four full days each spring to carry out experiments, tour research labs, visit local industrial facilities, and participate in seminars by research faculty.

For a look at a typical schedule, please visit our News Bulletins.

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LETS - Learn English Through Science (founded in 1993)

The UCI "Learning English Through Science" project includes training in deconstruction and reconstruction of science materials with appropriate activities in the ELD language processes, science and literature, for teachers, K-8. Teachers spend time in school based teams and in grade level teams to begin planning how to incorporate language acquisition into their classroom lesson plans. They learn how to develop and use effective assessment instruments including concept maps and TIMSS. Hands-on life science curriculum based on grade level standards for grades 4 through 8 together with ELL strategies based on language processes and ELL standards is the basis for the summer portion of the program.

During the academic year, teams revisit the assessment instruments followed by examination of student responses to specific prompts in order to monitor student achievement in language acquisition and science content. Discussions are encouraged that will inform classroom instruction to align instruction to ELL and science standards. Time is devoted to initial evaluation of student responses to establish baseline data. At subsequent meetings the teams build evidence of student growth. Opportunities for lesson sharing, grade level peer coaching, and continued instruction in life science concepts with appropriate ELL strategies are also be incorporated.

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Future of Science Conference (founded in 1982)
(formerly Science Clinic)

The program is designed as an opportunity for scientists, science educators, and teachers of science (K-16) to reflect on the recent and future developments in science research and science education. A keynote address with a topical panel discussion is presented in the morning, followed by lunch and numerous afternoon hands-on workshops presented by experienced K-12 teachers of science.

The 2001 conference will be held on October 20th at the Beakman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering.

Previous keynote addresses have included: Back to the top

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Research Program

The main objective of our research program in science education is to provide information which would make teaching science more scientific. Cognitive research indicates that if meaningful learning is to occur students need to construct knowledge on their existing knowledge base. Knowledge spaces for understanding various fundamental science concepts can be defined; the student's location in this space needs to be dertermined before effective teaching/learning can take place. Cognitive science also indicates that students need to be actively engaged in the learning process. Various ways of active engagement are being investigated.

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Saturdays for Science (founded in 1981)( currently inactive)

A fast-paced lecture demonstration series for students in grades 4 through 6 designed to excite youngsters and show them that a common thread appears through much of science. In the series, Molecules Around Us, the concept of molecules is introduced and is woven into lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on activities in physics, chemistry, and biology. The numerous demonstrations - many are very dramatic - relate to the properties of very simple forms of matter, such as the air around us, and proceed to properties of more complicated molecules such as water, vitamin C, nylon, and DNA.

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Project START (inactive)

Funded by: WestEd in San Francisco

Participating Instituions:

  • California State University at Chico
  • California State University at Hayward
  • California State University at Sacramento
  • California State University at San Bernardino
  • College of the Desert in Palm Desert
  • University of California at Irvine
  • A three-year internship program for colleges and universities interested in starting their own Science Institutes for teachers following the UCI Model. The project is sponsored WestEd in San Francisco. Training is provided for establishing your own teacher professional development programs in science content and pedagogy. There is an emphasis on establishing a self-sustaining Institute which requires a functioning Advisory Board or the equivalent. Some seed monies are provided each year to help the development and to use for leveraging other funding.

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