Gregory Kelly, a University of California, Santa Barbara researcher, has received a $45,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation to find better ways to help children learn science. Kelly will examine science education across different grade levels by studying the teaching of science at Main Elementary School in Carpinteria, physics at San Marcos High School in Goleta, and introductory oceanography at UCSB. "Through examination of how the knowledge and the practice of science is understood and communicated in different eduational settings, we can make science more accessible to students," says Kelly, UCSB assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education.
Kelly became interested in science education as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa. He taught physics and chemistry in a rural high school that lacked fundamental equipment. An additional disadvantage to both teacher and students was the country's French educational system---an unfamiliar system with rigorous national exams and taught in a second language for Kelly and his students.
Administered by the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship grants are designed to promote scholarship in the United States and abroad on matters relevant to the improvement of education in all its forms.