With funding from the National Science Foundation, Cindy Passmore, professor of science education at the UC Davis School of Education, Julia Gouvea, a researcher in the School of Education, Arthur Beauchamp, director of the Sacramento Area Science Project, and Rick Grosberg, founding director of the Coastal and Marine Sciences Research Institute, are leading a three-year $1.963 million effort to design an online resource of curriculum and embedded professional development to support high school biology teachers in the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Ultimately, the project could result in a national model for high school biology instruction.
UC Davis has received a $1.6 million grant from the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation that will allow it to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in schools throughout Davis and Dixon.
“We want to provide (children), as future citizens, with a lens into what it is that scientists actually do,” said Cindy Passmore, the UC Davis associate professor who is leading the project. “The exposure will help them make an informed choice about whether they want to go into (science and math) fields or not.”
Science is not boring, so why do so many middle and high school students think it is? According to Cindy Passmore, assistant professor and an expert on science education, students most often experience science in school as the memorization of facts and procedures with little practical utility or intellectual interest.
“This results in an impoverished view of science as an intellectual enterprise,” said Passmore.