Welcome to the South Coast Science Project

The South Coast Science Project (SCSP) provides professional development for elementary teachers in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and surrounding counties. Due to the wide area that we serve our program is divided into two subprograms to support the needs of regional teachers and districts. The two professional development opportunities we offer are Summer Institutes and SciTrek.  Although teachers can participate in either of the subprograms, the programs are coherently designed to meet the goals of SCSP and the California Subject Matter Project.

The main goal of this website is to provide an archive of the main lesson plans and materials we present at our summer institutes. The website will archive at least one full lesson per grade level K-6 for Life, Earth, and Physical Science, as well as Engineering. For additional lesson ideas, materials, pedagogy, NGSS implentation tips, and resources, we encourage teachers to attend our summer institutes. 


Summer Institutes

Each year SCSP hosts a weeklong summer institute training open to elementary teachers in the Santa Barbara, Ventura, and surrounding areas. An informational flyer and invitation to register are sent to teachers via e-mail through our mailing list each Spring as well to the local offices of education. These institutes are designed and presented by the co-directors working as a team with content specialists and K-12 teacher leaders. Each summer the institutes focuses on a specific science content area, and include:

  • strengthening the teacher's depth of understanding of the science content
  • implementing the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
  • teaching science through hands-on and inquiry-based lessons
  • incorporating language arts techniques to build science literacy among all students including ELLs
  • utilizing and providing NGSS-aligned science labs and activities for teachers to use with their students
  • collaborating with other teachers

In 2019 the content focus was Envrionmental Science, with an emphasis on Earth and Human Activity (ESS3) and how the Environmental Principles can be woven into all content areas. It took place from July 29 through Agust 2nd at Carpinteria Middle School. In 2020 the summer institute will be "Life Science Part 1," and focus on LS1: From Molecules to Organisms, and LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics. It will take place August 3rd through 7th, location TBD in Santa Barbara County. 

Another key goal of the Summer Institutes is to build teacher leaders. This leadership team is made up of approximately ten classroom teachers which meet several times each spring to develop Conceptual Flow Diagrams which guide the activities for the Summer Institute. 

Summer Institute Testimontals:

"The South Coast Science Project Summer Institute is the best Science PD that I’ve attended. First, it is very informative with regards to science content and the three strands of the NGSS. Most importantly, the institute is hands on and allows us to take what we’ve learned and immediately implement the lessons in our classroom. I am confident that I can start my school year with a deeper understanding of the NGSS and how to create lessons that are NGSS aligned and pedagogically progressive." - B.K., 2018

"I love teaching science lessons in my classroom! Attending the institute has helped me to understand the importance of not just teaching the content, but making sure to emphasize the crosscutting concepts and scientific practices within those lessons. The way that I have been treated by the staff and teacher leaders at this institute has made me to feel appreciated and an integral part of our community's science educators. This has been one of the most valuable professional development institutes that I have ever attended." - J.G., 2018

"This institute provides meaningful content, strategies to promote thinking and learning, time to process information, and the opportunity to learn with and from other teachers who are very excited about science. I thoroughly enjoyed the dedication and passion this dynamic group of educators put into this institute." - J.K., 2018

Explore the rest of this website to obtain information about past and future Summer Institutes, as well as lesson plans, teacher leader information, announcements, and more. 



SciTrek is an outreach program run out of the UCSB chemistry department that focuses on allowing 2nd-8th grade students to experience science first hand by designing, carrying out, and presenting scientific experiments. SciTrek brings highly-trained UCSB undergraduate and graduate students into the classroom to assist in these modules and interact with the younger students as positive role models in science. In addition, SciTrek works with classroom teachers to learn to run long-term inquiry activities. For more information on the program, how to get involved, and to get on the mailing list visit the SciTrek website.


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