STEM Education


STEM Education
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

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.

Adventures in Enrichment Camps

Adventures in Enrichment Camps
Learn more about the 2015 summer camps. Registration opens March 16

In conjunction with Campus Recreation and Unions, the School of Education offers STEM-tastic Summer Adventures in Enrichment Camps for kids in grades 2-8. Here is an overview of the camps.

Watch four more short videos featuring the instructors talking about each camp’s focus on an aspect of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Research Cynthia Carter Ching

Designing and Exploring the Impact of Physical Activity Monitor Gaming on Youth Fitness Practices

Led by associate professor Cynthia Carter Ching, this one-year study, funded by the National Science Foundation as an EAGER (Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research) project, brings together learning sciences and health researchers with professional game designers to develop a behavioral change model for physical activity-monitor gaming that is thus far unique in the existing literatures on games and learning, games for health, and health education/intervention.


BETA Lab Research and Foci

Current Study

Our current study, funded through an NSF CAREER grant, incorporates three distinctive elements.

News Cindy Passmore

“Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards: How Your Classroom Is Framed Is as Important as What You Do in It”
NSTA Blog - November 10, 2014

Cindy Passmore, associate professor of science education, wrote a guest entry on the National Science Teachers Association’s NSTA Blog on November 10, 2014.

Noel Enyedy

Noel Enyedy
February 4, 2014 – Distinguished Educational Thinker Speaker Series

Noel Enyedy, Associate Professor in the UCLA Urban Schooling Division of GSE&IS and Director of Research at the UCLA Lab School, gave a talk at the UC Davis School of Education as part of the Distinguished Educational Thinker Speaker Series.

His talk, “Play, Scientific Modeling, and Digital Technologies: A Case Study of Learning Physics Through Pretend Play,” focused on the use of augmented reality technology and pretend play in early education to capitalize on young children’s developmental strengths and capabilities.  

Research Cindy Passmore

Modeling Scientific Practice in High School Biology: Creating a Next Generation Instructional Resource
November 2013

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.

Research Rebecca Ambrose

Sharing Innovation in Mathematics Teaching and Learning
November 2013

UC Davis School of Education Associate Professor Rebecca Ambrose will collaborate with three of her doctoral students to make presentations at the Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME) held November 14-17, 2013.

How Can Universities and K-12 Schools Work Together to Improve STEM Education?
Video Harold Levine

How Can Universities and K-12 Schools Work Together to Improve STEM Education?
An interview with Dean Harold G. Levine

In November 2012, Harold Levine, dean of the UC Davis School of Education, was interviewed at the California STEM Summit in San Diego.


Noah Finkelstein

Noah Finkelstein
February 11, 2013 - Distinguished Educational Speaker Series

As part of the UC Davis School of Education’s Distinguished Educational Thinker Series, Professor Noah Finkelstein gave a talk titled “Science, Math and Engineering: Their Influence on National Education Transformation.” Finkelstein is professor of physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


National Science Teachers Association Recommends Book by School’s Director of Sacramento Area Science Project

Success in Science through Dialogue, Reading and Writing

by Arthur Beauchamp, Judi Kusnick, Rick McCallum

A new book on the use of literacy to teach science, co-authored by Sacramento Area Science Project director Arthur Beauchamp, has been recommended by the National Science Teachers Association.

News Tobin White Lee Martin

Integrating Digital and STEM Practices
Article by Tobin White and Lee Martin in Leadership - December 2012

Professors Tobin White and Lee Martin have penned an article on how schools can leverage the ways students are already using mobile digital devices to organize and support learning activities in STEM content areas in the November/December 2012 issue of Leadership, a magazine published by the Association of California School Administrators.

Their article, which “calls attention to opportunities, often missed, to capitalize on emerging media for innovative and even transformative educational use,” appears on pp. 22-26. Access the magazine online here.

News Paul Heckman Jamal Abedi

Study finds too many variables with eighth-grade algebra policy
Davis Enterprise, September 9, 2012

Paul Heckman, associate dean of the School of Education, is interviewed extensively in this article highlighting research conducted by Heckman and Professor Jamal Abedi. Read the full article by Jeff Hudson here.


Profs. Heckman and Abedi Study Algebra for All
EdSource - August 2012

EdSource features a look at a recent study that Professors Paul Heckman and Jamal Abedi and Jian-Hua Liang (EdD ‘09) at the California Department of Education released on the connection between success on California’s Standards Test and subsequent success in Algebra in ninth grade.

News Cindy Passmore

UC Davis receives $1.6 million grant to aid K-12 students
Sacramento Bee, July 10, 2012

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.”

Read the full story here.

General information

Dinner with a Scientist Info for May 10, 2018!!
A STEM series produced by the Sacramento Area Science Project and the Powerhouse Science Center

Twice a year Dinner with a Scientist, hosted through a partnership between the Sacramento Area Science Project and Sacramento’s Powerhouse Science Center, provides an opportunity for 7th – 12th grade students to interact with scientists from many different disciplines over dinner twice a year. The goal is to inspire and motivate students to excel in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines and encourage them to pursue STEM careers. Scientists gain an unequaled opportunity to interact with young people and share their scientific passion, experience, and journey. DWAS seeks to provide opportunities for a diversity of students from all backgrounds.

Event Description

Dinner with a Scientist allows junior high school and high school STEM teachers in the greater Sacramento area to bring three students each for dinner and conversation with real-world scientists. Scientists share information with small groups of students, talk about their journey in becoming scientists, training in their field, career opportunities, their research and their enjoyment in what they do.

Students and their teacher will be able to eat dinner with a selection of scientists from industry, academia, agencies, and public and private sectors. The “Science Challenge” – a short but lively scientific knowledge competition, precedes dinner and after dinner the students change tables for dessert and talk with a different scientist. A science keynote speaker is also part of the evening.

Dinner With A Scientist (a partnership between the Sacramento Area Science Project at UC Davis and the Powerhouse Science Center), has been occurring twice a year now since 2012.  During this time theTwin Rivers Unified School District has been our gracious host. We are now welcoming a new partner the Yolo County office of Education to host  the Dinner With A Scientist (DWAS) event at the West Sacramento Civic Center Galleria. We are excited to announce our next event for this Spring  May 10, 2018!!

 We look forward to providing opportunities for students to experience first-hand what it means to be a scientist or engineer and begin to see themselves as not just critical consumers of science but to consider the reality of becoming scientists or engineers themselves. 

If you are interested in supporting Dinner with a Scientist, contact Laura Shafer at You may also download a brochure for more information on sponsorships and support here.


School and Partner, LEED, Receive Support to Create Regional STEM Network

The School of Education and LEED (Linking Education and Economic Development) have received a planning grant from the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) to develop a regional STEM education network, in support of in-school and out of school programs in science, technology, engineering and math.

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