Science Education Department faculty are engaged in a range of research projects, grants, and outreach activities, spanning everyone from toddlers through doctoral students and pre-K educators to university faculty. We collaborate with scientists, school districts, informal science institutions, and each other to research and support effective science teaching and learning in a variety of settings.
Current Departmental Grants and Projects
The listing below describes current activities.
Alignment of the Science Teacher Education Pathway (A-STEP)
A-STEP aims to strengthen the capacity of local teacher preparation programs to move teachers of science toward enacting the NGSS, although prepared in varied organizational contexts. A-STEP promotes change across a network of institutions and local pathway partners working with multiple universities, ultimately impacting the enactment of the NGSS in respective K-12 classrooms. (NSF #1908900 Current)
Research Synthesis: Examining the Role of Authenticity in Informal Science Learning
This project seeks to better understand how or why 'the real thing' is important (or not) for supporting informal science learning via a systematic review of existing research and theoretical literature across science education and other disciplines (psychology, anthropology, tourism, etc.); the synthesis will inform best practices in ISE as well as point to gaps in knowledge that might need further research. (NSF AISL #1906889)
Physics Teacher Recruitment and Support - PhysTEC
Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) was a grant to recruit and support physics teachers. Housed in the Physics and Astronomy Department, this project brings together physicists, science educators and high school physics teachers to improve the quantity and quality of physics teachers.
While grant funding has ended, project components are still in place. These elements include: part-time Teacher In Residence who co-teaches two classes (one with physics and one with science education), monthly Physics Demo Days for pre-service and inservice teachers, an annual Physics Teacher Open House, and the Physics Department's Learning Assistance Program.
We have twice earned 5+ Club honors from APS for credentialing 5 or more highly qualified physics teachers in a single year.
CSULB is the lead campus for the Southern California Regional PhysTEC Network. CSULB is a study site for Get the Facts Out, a project that works to dispel misconceptions about the teaching profession held by faculty and students resulting in widespread utilization of GFO resources to increase the number of physics, math and chemistry teachers credentialed.
The Science Learning Center (SLC) provides unique learning experiences for elementary and middle school aged students in local communities, as well as the CSULB students, through exhibits and activities that encourage questioning and hands-on investigation. Through on-site and outreach programs, the Center supports STEM awareness and interest, informs and supports local science education and showcases research in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to new audiences.
The Science Education Department oversees the SLC.
CSU Math/Science Teacher Initiative Programs
The Chancellor's Office provides funding to help campuses increase the number of credentialed STEM teachers. We have run a program to help elementary teachers earn a middle school authorization through the Foundational Level General Science Program (2020-2022), and are working with physics to provide two cohorts of secondary teachers with a pathway to earn a Specific Supplementary Authorization in Physics.
Sixteen teachers will for their supplementary authorization in fall 2021 and another 18 will file in May 2022. These 30+ teachers will help fill the need for physics teachers in our area schools.
Read more: Meeting a Growing Need for Physics Teachers
Faculty Formative Feedback Project
FFFP is a campus-wide program that helps lecturers and tenure track faculty create more engaging learning environments. FFFP Partners work with individual faculty. The Partners observe classes and debrief with the observed faculty. The program is voluntary and non-evaluative. It is an effort to improve instruction, promote self-reflection, and encourage student engagement and learning.
The program is led by faculty in Science Education and Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling. Now in its second semester, a new cadre of Partners has joined the initial cohort.
PREPP is a semester long mentored experience for post-docs and advanced doctoral students to help them understand what life is like at a comprehensive master's granting university. PREPP started as a partnership with University of California, Irvine as part of the BUILD program and is now being piloted with the CSU system in partnership with the Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program.
Established in 2000, NCSEC strives to make developmentally-appropriate science available to children ages 0-8 by serving as a national advocate for science education on behalf of young children, their teachers, and families; providing science professional development to the adults who work with young children; and developing and disseminating science teaching resources for use by early childhood professionals.
Our current project, Qiming Science Professional Development (2020-2022), provides training and online support for teacher leaders across eleven schools in Beijing.
A summer science professional development experience for pre-service and in-service teachers culminating in a 2-week, hands-on science camp for area elementary and middle school students. Funded by NSF, Project GEAR-UP, American Physical Society, Beckman Coulter Foundation, and donations from individuals.
SEE US Succeed (Science Education Experience to help Underserved Students Succeed!) provides the YSC experience for students experiencing homelessness and foster youth in Long Beach Unified. Funding from Verizon Foundation, Miller Foundation, individuals and foundations, (2008-present)
Phun Physics for Phemales is a high school girls physics camp program to help increase interest and persistence in STEM. supported by American Physical Society, Fluor Foundation and others. (2012-present)
Collaborative Research: Equity of Access to Computer Science: Factors Impacting the Characteristics and Success of Undergraduate CS Majors
This multi-campus team will investigate how gender, ethnicity and other factors impact people who want to study computer science by examining application, admission and retention data to better understand how demographics and pre-college preparation influence student success. NSF #2031911
Elementary Science Learning Academy (ESLA) is an intensive summer professional learning coupled with academic year support for elementary teachers from across eight districts. Teachers average >140 hours of science professional learning per year. Funded by a generous donation from Richard D. Green.
Past Grants and Projects of Note
Below is a listing of some former projects to see the sorts of activities in which our faculty have been historically engaged.
The DEEP project examined the feasibility and effectiveness of collaboration with community institutions to provide pre-service teachers with opportunities to engage youth in STEM learning and strengthen practice. Two models of preservice teachers working with local informal partners were tested.
Although funding ended in late 2018, the partnership between the Boys and Girls Clubs and our CSULB science methods classes collaboration continue today. Further research on the long-term impacts of the DEEP Internship program is currently underway.
Funded by W.M. Keck Foundation and the CSU Chancellor's Office.
Science Professional Academy
A two-year, California Math and Science Partnership Grant supported teachers from Norwalk – La Mirada Unified School District in transitional kindergarten to eighth grade in science and the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS). Teachers took courses in earth science and physical science, participated in inquiry-based, student-centered science lessons and constructed science lessons for their classrooms that included support for English Language Learners.
Raising the Bar for STEM Education in California
Professional development effort designed to improve the STEM instruction of elementary master teachers and the CSULB pre-service, student teachers they mentor in collaboration with the UTEACH project within the Teacher Education program (College of Education) at CSULB, Long Beach Unified School District and K-12 Alliance. Funded by an S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, STEM Education grant.
Robert C. Noyce Scholars Program I & II
Provided financial and experiential support for future math and science teachers who commit to teach in high need schools. NSF - Noyce I (DUE 0335772), Noyce II (DUE-0833349).
Toyota Intensive Summer Science Institute
Supported summer and academic year professional learning for inservice elementary teachers. (This was a forerunner to ESLA.) Funded by Toyota Foundation.
STEELI (Secondary Teacher Education for English Learner Integration)
Focused on curricular and structural improvements related to teaching English language learners for both CSULB faculty and pre-service candidates. Funded by U.S. Department of Education (Office of English Language Acquisition).
Elementary Science and ELD Integration
Research and professional development effort designed to improve elementary school teachers' science and English language development instruction in collaboration with Garvey School District, Montebello Unified School District, and K-12 Alliance. Funded by multiple Improving Teacher Quality grants offered by the California Post-secondary Education Commission.
Noyce Scholar Leadership – National Digital Library
Partnership between the California State University (CSU) System, the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and NSF's Robert Noyce Scholars program to create communities of Noyce science and math teachers across the MERLOT consortium. NSF DUE 0735011.
Great Lakes Energy Project
Evaluation and research project to better understand renewable energy exhibits at Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland OH.
Teaching Secondary School Scholars Program (TS3P)
Hosted at Cerritos College, supported future secondary math and science teachers as they moved from Cerritos College into 4-year universities and credential programs. NSF DUE 0501326.
Teaching Learning Collaborative
Collaborative venture between CSULB, K12 Alliance, Montebello and Garvey School Districts to provide an intense interactive professional development model for engaging teachers in quality inquiry-based science teaching. Funded by the California Post-Secondary Education Commission.
Partnership is to improve the availability and quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for current and future teachers throughout California.
Long Beach Elementary Science & Math Teacher Education Project
NSF funded 3 year collaborative effort to focus and improve K-8 teacher preparation in mathematics and sciences.
Project ALERT! Augmented Learning Environment and Renewable Teaching
Collaboration between CSU and NASA (Departments of Science Education and Geological Sciences) to increase awareness and understanding of planet earth.