Science Learning

Our science learning efforts include multiple facets.

Science Learning Assessment

The Science Learning Assessment portfolio aims to demonstrate new techniques and tools for measuring what matters for science learning. Supporting projects that drive innovations in what and how we assess in science learning can contribute to improved practices in science education, including helping to better understand what programs and experiences are most effective. While we primarily focus our efforts outside of schools and classrooms, we also look for collaborations that can help bridge our work to other learning settings, including schools. New types of assessment that are developed through this portfolio will help build a better understanding of the critical factors that influence science learning, thereby informing the design of learning experiences across settings.

Innovative Models for Science-Rich Engagement

We want to encourage scientific inquiry at all ages and provide opportunities for children and their families to explore the world around them.  Children experience the wonder of science all around them. It might begin with bugs in the backyard or pondering how bubbles form or wondering what causes the edge of a cloud to take shape. Often these openings to explore and understand natural phenomena stop right there: the question, the idea, the observation.  However, encouraging children to persist in this inquiry, and providing tools to help them do so, offers opportunities for much deeper engagement with science.  Whether kids called these explorations science, or whether they view them as just messing around, is not necessarily important. Through these curiosity-driven actions they can explore fundamental questions, develop and deepen interests, and learn to systematically pursue understanding.

This exploratory collection of grants supports more sustained and robust public engagement and interest in science through investments in the design and study of innovative models for science-rich engagement. From use of low-cost high quality science tools for exploration or problem solving, to science or engineering sets that spark curiosity, these grants aim to generate new ideas and prototypes for experiences that inspire and engage the broader public engagement with science.  

A 2014 Science Play and Research Kit (SPARK) Competition challenged participants to generate a new set of experiences and activities that spark imagination and sustained interest in science and technology. For more information, click here.

Research on Science-Rich Engagement and Learning

We seek to understand the impact of our work and, whenever possible, we use our investments as an opportunity to better understand the dynamics of what leads to persistent engagement in science. 

These efforts synergize with our investments in science and technology museums in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Learn more about our Science Learning grants here.

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