The School of Education’s Approach Research, professional development, teacher preparation, and outreach
January 24, 2010
To engage teachers of math and science and prepare young people
for the jobs of the future, we must strengthen STEM curriculum
and make instruction and learning more fun and more relevant to
real world problem-solving. This requires an understanding of how
children learn and a rigorous focus on what works in the
classroom; both are priorities in the School’s approach to
tackling the challenges of STEM education.
The School of Education houses several faculty and programs, such
as the Sacramento Area Science Project and UC Davis Math Project,
that are concerned with, conduct research in, and provide
professional learning in STEM education.
Through its various research efforts, academic programs,
professional development and outreach, the School of Education
has contact with and an impact on over 1,000 STEM teachers every
year. And, through our CRESS Center, we work with some of the
state’s most disadvantaged students, bringing more STEM
experiences into their lives.
The state recently acknowledged our leadership in the development
of curriculum standards by choosing the Sacramento Area Science
Project (a site of the California Science Project) to write the
new California State Science Framework.
Cindy Passmore, associate professor in science education, studies
how teachers are influenced and impacted by reorganizing their
scientific understanding through the process of Model Based
Reasoning. Her research has been funded through Innovations in
Science Instruction through Modeling (ISIM) with a $1.75 million
dollar grant from the National Science Foundation.
Tobin White, assistant professor of mathematics education, is
investigating how collaborative problem solving among students
using handheld computers can increase learning in algebra.
Rebecca Ambrose, associate professor of mathematics education,
studies how students solve math problems and works with
mathematics teachers to assess their instruction in light of what
she has learned.
Peter Mundy, professor in the School of Education and the School
of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
is an expert in education and social issues for children with
high-functioning autism. A developmental and clinical
psychologist, Mundy has been working on defining the nature of
autism for the past 26 years. His studies have contributed to the
current understanding that joint attention impairments are part
of the fundamental features of the early onset of social deficits
of children with autism.
Sacramento Area Science Project (SASP)
SASP is a rare partnership between a UC and a CSUS and is
responsible for the longest running K-12 science education
professional development program in California (Science in the
River City – SIRC), in continuous operation since 1986.
Model-Based Instruction: With funding from the
National Science Foundation, SASP conducts research on how
teachers learn about modeling as a scientific endeavor and
incorporate model-based reasoning as an instructional strategy in
Literacy Techniques to Support Science
Understanding: Funded through the California
Postsecondary Education Commission SASP is exploring the efficacy
of using dialogue, reading and writing strategies to support
students’ scientific literacy.
Professional Learning Communities: Working with
teachers in a variety of settings SASP creates, supports and
analyses the ways teachers learn and grow through their
participation in learning communities.
Innovations in Science Instruction through
(ISIM): Focused on the adoption and implementation of
model-based reasoning in understanding science and science
instruction in secondary science education.
Science in the River City (SIRC): K-12 workshop
series with strands in elementary science, earth science, life
science and physical sciences, providing innovative ideas,
lessons and strategies for teachers to use in their
Summer Science Institutes: Covering the range of sub-disciplines
in science (earth science, biology, chemistry, physics), as well
as EL strategies in science, leadership skills, Lesson Study and
managing the science classroom.
Edward Teller Education Center (ETEC)
ETEC is a collaborative between the UC Davis School of
Education and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory (LLNL), established to provide K-14 teacher
professional development in science and technology. The ETEC
Teacher Research Academy places k014 teachers in cutting edge
science laboratories to develop their science knowledge and
Biotechnology. Teachers in the Biotechnology
Academy will develop knowledge and skills in the areas of DNA and
protein analysis through hands-on activities in genomics,
proteomics, and bioinformatics. Highlights include PCR, DNA
fingerprinting, column chromatography, protein fingerprinting,
Biophotonics. Biophotonics is a division of
biotechnology that studies molecular mechanisms, function and
structure in biology and medicine to study tissue at the macro
and micro level to detect, diagnose and treat disease. Academy
activities include: computer simulation of light/matter
interaction, optical methods of biodetection, microscopy, and
optics. This program is offered at UC Davis through the Center
for Biophotonics Science and Technology (CBST).
Fusion/Astrophysics. The Fusion and Astrophysics
Research Academy is designed to give teachers experience in
promoting and conducting research using spectroscopy with
students. Instruction will help teachers develop their
understanding of the properties of electromagnetic radiation and
how it is produced. Participants will see how scientists develop
knowledge about inaccessible objects like the sun and the
interior of fusion reactors using a research grade spectrometer.
Energy Technologies and the Environment.
Instruction will help teachers develop their understanding of
carbon management and climate change in the biosphere,
atmosphere, and ocean systems. Academy participants will explore
alternative energy sources and applications such as solar, wind,
hydrogen and nuclear.
UC Davis Mathematics Project
The Math Project provides ongoing, research-based professional
development programs in mathematics for teachers in grades K-12.
These programs are designed to meet needs specified by schools.
Programs are tailored to meet individual school and district
needs and can address:
Supporting textbook adoption
Using state-adopted instructional materials
Effective assessment and intervention
Deepening teachers’ knowledge of mathematics content
Leadership development in mathematics
Connecting and interweaving the strands of mathematics
Developing and implementing a school-based plan for
Developing problem solving and mathematical reasoning skills
The development of algebraic thinking and reasoning
Using technology to support mathematics instruction
California faces a critical shortfall in the number and quality
of teachers in our secondary science and mathematics classrooms
due to an increase in the number of students who will be entering
California high schools in the next five years and an increase in
the number of teachers retiring.
Our mathematics credential aims to train and develop teachers to
lead in today’s high technology mathematics classroom. We
emphasize the use of technology in making mathematics accessible
to all students.
Our science credential program will prepare teachers with the
knowledge and skills to promote high quality, hands-on science
education for California’s diverse classrooms.
Our agricultural education program provides students with an
integral blend of theory and practice in the classroom and in the
youth organization, Future Farmer’s of America (FFA). UC Davis’
history in agriculture adds to the richness and diversity of our
credential program, and we have a strong partnership with the
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
The UC Davis Young Scholars Program is a summer residential
research program designed to expose 40, high achieving high
school sophomores and juniors to the world of original research
in the natural sciences with emphases on the biological,
environmental and agricultural sciences.
The Sacramento Area Science Project is partnering with the Center
for Biophotonics in the submission of a new multimillion-dollar
grant exploring the understanding and development of curriculum
that deeply integrates science and math instruction in secondary
Mathematics and Science Teaching Program at UC Davis (MAST) is
part of the UC Science and Mathematics Initiative. This program
builds on the long-standing partnership between the School of
Education and the departments of geology, chemistry, physics,
mathematics and the College of Biological Sciences to offer
undergraduates courses and classroom internship opportunities to
explore middle and high school math and science teaching careers.
MAST’s mission is to increase the number and quality of math and