Southern California Program

California State University System

Long Beach, CA
December 2014

This project aims to strengthen STEM learning and teaching by leveraging the expertise and fostering partnerships between universities and afterschool programs and informal science education institutions.  Three collaborative models will be implemented and studied to learn their respective benefits for providing future teachers with informal science experiences that develop their inquiry-based, hands-on science teaching expertise.  The evaluation will also examine challenges to sustaining cross-institutional partnerships and the factors that are effective in overcoming them.  The first model, Early Field Experience, will be in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell after-school program and aligned with a science course for STEM undergraduates, including students pursuing teaching careers.  The second, a Teaching Practicum Experience, will be conducted with the Long Beach Boys and Girls Club.  It will involve elementary and secondary teacher candidates and will be built into the pedagogical methods course that is a central part of teacher preparation.  The California Science Center and the Aquarium of the Pacific will offer the third, a paid informal science Internship for new teachers before they begin their classroom roles.  As many as 200 future teachers at different stages of their education, over 1,000 students in out-of-school programs, and children and families visiting informal education site will benefit from new STEM opportunities.  All three models are ones that the California State University wishes to use on an expanded basis on its 22 campuses that prepare the majority of California’s new teachers.

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