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  • Welcome to the Super Science Squad

    Everyone can be a Super Science Hero

    Educate • Research • Collaborate

    The Super Science Squad aims to engage youth ​of color, particularly girls, in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in productive and meaningful ways. We believe that STEM can be used to improve our communities when we collaborate with our peers.

     

    The purpose of this project is to understand:

    • what are the best ways to support the engagement of youth of color, specifically girls, in STEM
    • how to design after school learning environments for this engagement
    • how to collaborate with after school and school sites for sustained and meaningful research practice partnerships

    We Educate

    As part of our outreach endeavors, the research team supports our partnership site in and out of school by:

    • Volunteering weekly at the school to support teachers and students during the school day
    • Implementing a weekly after school STEM program at the school's extended day program
    • Executing quarterly family STEM nights which include Family Robot and Drone Night

    We Research

    As part of our research endeavors, the team continuously engages in research that aims to improve learning opportunities for youth and their families by:

    • Applying and securing research grants to support our work
    • Engaging in academic and practitioner based meetings to share our work and learn from colleagues 
    • Publishing our work through peer-reviewed journals 
    • Mentoring undergraduate research assistants in conducting independent educational research

    We Collaborate

    As ethical community based researchers, we aim to conduct research with communities rather than on communities. We collaborate with stakeholders on equal footing by:

    • Centering the needs of the school site, families, and students as the focus of our educational research
    • Implementing interventions and programs that are theoretically and empirically driven to improve the lives of those we serve
    • Including the voices of all the participants and partners who offered their love, time, and support to help the research team learn from the community.

     

  • How It Works

    Design based research through a research practice partnership

    1

    Phase I

    (2015-2016)

    • An observational ethnographic study (Liu & Kang, under review) was conducted in 2016 to understand how to leverage youth's cultural resources and practices for STEM engagement in after-school programs.
    • An initial design conjecture map (Sandoval, 2014) was drafted based on the findings of the ethnographic study
    2

    Phase II

    (2016-2017)

    • A collaborating research site was sought out for a research practice partnership (Coburn,  Penuel, & Geil, 2013) The aims of the partnership were to build a long term collaboration,  mutually collaborate with the stakeholders at the site, and address the problem of practice of increasing STEM engagement. The research team began to volunteer at the school site both during school and after school hours
    • The first iteration of the design of the after school was implemented using design based research methodology (DBR Collective, 2003)
    • Research on student engagement was conducted and a revised design conjecture map (Sandoval, 2014) was drafted based on the findings
    3

    Phase III

    (2017-2018)

    • The second iteration of the design of the after school was implemented using design based research methodology (DBR Collective, 2003)
    • The first iteration of the Family Robot and Drone Night was implemented to understand how families learn STEM together
    • Research on student engagement will be conducted and a third revised design conjecture map (Sandoval, 2014) will be drafted based on the findings
    4

    Phase IV

    (2018-2019)

    • Secure research funding for follow up studies
    • Research on designing after school STEM programs will continue to be conducted to improve the design conjecture map
    • Research on family learning will also be continued to be conducted. Improvements and iterative implementations will be made after securing additional funding
    • Research on the research practice partnership will be continued as well
  • Research

    Features of our work

    Publications

    Scholarly publications in peer reviewed research journals

    Liu, D. & Kang, H. (In Progress). Generating Identity Resources.

    Presentations and Papers

    Our work at peer-reviewed conferences, classes, and professional meetings.

    Peer Reviewed Conferences and Professional Meetings

    Gorospe, A., Villegas, A., Comia, V., [lead researchers in alphabetical order] Liu. D., & Kang, H. (2018). Impact of Peer Interaction on Student Engagement and Intellectual and Behavioral Development. Presentation at the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Symposium.

     

    Liu, D. (2017). Community-based scholarship: Activism on and off the field. Session organizer and presenter at Digital Media and Learning Conference (DML) in Irvine, CA

     

    Liu, D., & Kang, H. (2017). Designing afterschool STEM programs for 5th grade Latinas. Paper at American Anthropological Association (AAA) in Washington, D.C.

     

    Guest Lecture for Courses

    Liu, D. (2017). Social Relevant Curriculum and Digital Media Practices. Guest Lecture for Multicultural Education in K-12 (Undergraduate course).

     

    Liu, D. (2017). Social Relevant Curriculum and Digital Media Practices. Guest Lecture for 21st Century Literacies (Undergraduate course)

     

    Liu, D. (2017). Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. Guest Lecture Lecture for Children, Schools, and Cinemas (Undergraduate course).

    Current Studies

    We are constantly thinking and learning

    Title: Designing Afterschool STEM Programs Connecting Schools, Homes, and Communities for Latinas

    Researchers: David Liu

    The purpose of this study is to investigate the cultural resources and practices that fifth grade Latinas leverage to engage in STEM learning activities at an after school computer science club, inside the classroom, and homes, and their shifts in sense of self in STEM.

     

    Title: Impact of Peer Interaction on Student Engagement and Intellectual and Behavioral Development

    Researchers: Algrae Gorospe, Alondra Villegas, and Vanessa Comia

    The purpose of this study is to document and understand how students develop their engagement with their peers, volunteers, and teachers in their transition from the beginning to the end of their fifth grade elementary school year.

     

    Title: Observing the Trends on Interest in Science from Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade: Assessing the Impact of the Influential People in the Students’ Lives

    Researcher: Carlos Henriquez

    The purpose of this study is to understand how student interests in science shifts from fifth grade to sixth grade.

     

    Title: Engaging English Language Learners in a Dual Immersion School

    Researcher: Lulu Galindo

    The purpose of this study is to understand how English Langauge Learners (ELL) students are adapting to their environment. Interactions between ELL students and native English speaking peers will be studied as well to see if there are any moments of exclusion experienced by ELLs.

     

    Title: Teachers’ and Parents’ Perceptions of Early Childhood Education

    Researcher: Pamela Garcia

    The purpose of this study is to describe how educators and parents perceive the impact of early childhood education (ECE), specifically preschool.

     

    Title: Healthy Behavior Engagement in Low Income Children

    Researcher: Tessa Pulido

    The purpose of this study is to explore students’ behavioral and intellectual engagement by examining how youth participate in various science-related activities during in school and out-of-school settings.

    Awards

    We are an award-winning project and are actively seeking more funding.

    Awarded

    Newkirk Center for Science and Society Fellowship 2017

    Title: Designing Afterschool STEM Programs Connecting Schools, Homes, and Communities for Latinas

    Awardee: David Liu

    Amount Awarded: $10,000

    Press Release

     

    Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) 2016

    Title: Impact of Peer Interaction on Student Engagement and Intellectual and Behavioral Development

    Awardees: Algrae Gorospe, Alondra Villegas, and Vanessa Comia

    Amount Awarded: $4,500

     

    Under Review

    Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) 2017

    Title: Impact of Peer Interaction on Student’s Behavioral Development and Engagement

    Applied: Algrae Gorospe, Alondra Villegas, and Vanessa Comia

    Amount Requested: $2,447

     

    Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) 2017

    Title: Observing the Trends on Interest in Science from Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade: Assessing the Impact of the Influential People in the Students’ Lives

    Applied: Carlos Henriquez

    Amount Requested: $870

     

    Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) 2017

    Title: Teachers’ and Parents’ Perceptions of Early Childhood Education

    Applied: Pamela Garcia

    Amount Requested: $990

     

    Unfunded

    California Immigration Research Initiative 2017

    Title: Leveraging Cultural Resources of 5th grade Immigrant Latina Youths’ to Learn Science

    Applied: David Liu

    Amount Requested: $9,000

  • Resources to share with the community

    Please let us know how you've used our resources and any suggestions

    After School Curriculum

    We have developed four units with aligns with the fifth grade Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

     

    Our curriculum focuses :

    - Energy (in progress)

    - Ecosystems

    - Engineering Design

    - Earth Systems, and Space Systems

    Family Engagement

    We are in the process of developing our Family Robot and Drone Night

     

    We will post our resources as soon as they are available

  • The Blog

    Reflections from the field and from our research

    November 19, 2017
    During one of our group meetings, we had a conversation about what science means if we want to...
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  • Connect with Us

    We want to learn what you do as well!

    David Liu, Lead Researcher

    ddliu@uci.edu

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