For many of us, elementary school science was a forgettable experience. Dry textbooks and staid examples did nothing to incite our natural curiosity. Here at UCSD, we want to change that. We take brilliant graduate students, professors and all the resources that a world-class research institute offers, and put them in front of an elementary-school audience who can truly appreciate it. Our message is simple: the world is a wondrous place, and worth learning about! We invite you to look at the incredible things our students and teachers have done together, and we hope you’ll lend us a hand in making better futures for our kids.

 Made possible with support from the US National Science Foundation


In order to attempt to improve public science education at the local level, we have recently initiated an ”Elementary School Partnership” program within the BioCircuits Institute at UCSD. The pilot school for the program has been Ocean Knoll Elementary in Encinitas, California. Ocean Knoll serves 452 students in grades K–6. They are designated a Title 1 school based on the number of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and/or whose parents have less than a high school education. This school year, 42% of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. In addition, 41% of the students are identified as second language learners.

Each graduate student is responsible for a different grade level, and teaches in the same classroom each week, giving one-on-one attention to students and directing classroom experiments. Coordinators and students plan experiments based on the science curriculum for the week, and graduate students supplement classroom materials with scientific equipment brought from their respective lab.

Message From the Coordinator

Roya Mahmoudi

California now ranks 47th in the country in per pupil spending on K-12 public eduction. Massive state and local budgetary problems are confounding the issue even further. In the context of academic science pursued in many universities, we note that what is perceived as a relatively small percentage of lab funds can represent a huge contribution to a child’s education.

UCSD is thrilled to partner up with Ocean Knoll Elementary School again in the 2014-15 school year, bringing science lessons into teacher’s classrooms each week. The hands-on world of scientific experiments is a great way for our graduate students to bring meaningful lessons along with loads of interesting materials into the 3rd-6th grade classrooms. We’re finding creative ways to incorporate the scientific method into each planned activity, and supporting our budding scientists as much as possible.

What We Do

What was the most fun thing you ever did, in your years of science education? What experiment sticks with you to this very day? More than anything, we want to bring the magic for our students every week. We encourage crazy experiments, we make messes, and we’re lucky enough to have the resources to be able to do most anything.

We all love what we do, and the communities we serve do, too. But we’re definitely looking to grow our program. If you’d like to get involved, whether as a teacher or a partner school, please contact our coordinator- we’d love to have you join us!

Lesson Plans

Our most recently added experiments and demos:
August 21st, 2013
Origami Frogs 3rd
August 21st, 2013
Bubble Geometry 3rdPhysical Science
August 21st, 2013
Refraction 3rdPhysical Science
August 21st, 2013
Light and Reflection 3rdPhysical Science
August 21st, 2013
Solar Bags 3rdPhysical Science