Elizabeth A. Davis

Professor, School of Education

Contact

(734) 647-0594

Location

Room 4112
610 E. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259

Elizabeth A. (Betsy) Davis is a science educator, teacher educator, and learning scientist. She is interested in beginning and experienced elementary teachers learning to engage in rigorous, consequential, equitable, and just science teaching, and the roles of curriculum materials and practice-based teacher education in promoting teacher learning. Davis recently chaired a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) consensus committee that developed the report Science and engineering in preschool through elementary grades: The brilliance of children and the strengths of educators.

A project funded by the Spencer Foundation focused on how beginning elementary teachers bring together high-leverage science teaching practices and content knowledge for teaching science. A new project builds on this effort to focus more directly on how teachers advance, support, and sustain equity in their science teaching and how teacher education can help them engage in this challenging work.

To better understand what facilitates the improvement of elementary science instruction, Davis helps to lead an NSF-funded project focused on how educational systems support reforms in elementary science. Previously, Davis led two NSF-funded projects exploring elementary teachers' uptake of ideas and practices embedded in educative features in science curriculum materials.

Davis teaches graduate courses in science education and, in the elementary teacher education programs, elementary science methods courses and Teaching with Curriculum Materials. Davis helped to lead a substantial redesign of the Elementary Teacher Education program to have a more deliberate focus on practice. Davis received her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998, and received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at the White House in 2002 and the Jan Hawkins Award in 2004. Her book (with Carla Zembal-Saul and Sylvie Kademian) Sensemaking in Elementary Science: Supporting Teacher Learning was published by Routledge in 2020.

Courses

Number Course Name Location Days
EDUC 421
Teaching PK-6 Science

This course explores objectives, methods, and content in PK-6 science instruction, emphasizing concept development in several areas of PK-6 science; refers to pertinent contributions from research; provides opportunity for engaging in core teaching practices around investigation-based science lessons.

2241 SEB

EDUC 528
Teaching PK-6 Science

This course explores objectives, methods, and content in PK-6 school science instruction, emphasizing concept development in several areas of PK-6 science, refers to pertinent contributions from research; provides opportunity for engaging in core teaching practices around investigation-based science lessons.

EDUC 416
Teaching With Curriculum Materials in PK-6 Mathematics and Science

This course engages interns in the study of how PK-6 teachers use curriculum materials to support student learning goals. Interns will gain a familiarity with an array of curriculum materials and tools as well as how to modify and adapt these resources to meet the needs of their students. Additionally, interns will learn how to evaluate curriculum materials and identify their various strengths and weaknesses.

Selected Publications

"Science and engineering in preschool through elementary grades: The brilliance of children and the strengths of educators."

National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine. (2022). Science and engineering in preschool through elementary grades: The brilliance of children and the strengths of educators. Committee on Enhancing Science and Engineering in PreK through 5th Grade Board on Science Education and Teacher Advisory Council Division of Behavioral and Social Science and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. (Chair of the consensus committee; Davis, E.A. & Stephens, A., Eds.)

"Well-started beginners: Preparing elementary teachers for rigorous, consequential, just, and equitable science teaching."

Davis, E. A., & Haverly, C. (2022). Well-started beginners: Preparing elementary teachers for rigorous, consequential, just, and equitable science teaching. In J. Luft & G. Jones (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Science Teacher Education. New York: Routledge.

"Engagement in high-leverage science teaching practices among novice elementary teachers."

Davis, E. A., & Palincsar, A. S. (2022). Engagement in high-leverage science teaching practices among novice elementary teachers. Science Education. doi:10.1002/sce.21766

"Supporting preservice elementary teachers in teaching science for equity and justice: A practical framework."

Davis, E. A. (in press - 2022). Supporting preservice elementary teachers in teaching science for equity and justice: A practical framework. Innovations in Science Teacher Education.

"Science practice-readiness: Novice elementary teachers’ developing knowledge of science practices."

Bismack, A., Davis, E. A., & Palincsar, A. S. (2022). Science practice-readiness: Novice elementary teachers’ developing knowledge of science practices. Science Education, 106 (2), 364-384. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21698

"Sensemaking in Elementary Science: Supporting Teacher Learning."

Davis, E. A., Zembal-Saul, C., & Kademian, S. M. (Eds.) (2020). Sensemaking in Elementary Science: Supporting Teacher Learning. Routledge.

"Educative curriculum materials: Uptake, impact, and implications for research and design."

Davis, E. A., Palincsar, A. S., Smith, P. S., Arias, A., & Kademian, S. (2017). Educational Researcher, 46(6), 293-304.

"Supporting children to construct evidence-based claims in science: Individual learning trajectories in a practice-based program."

Arias, A., & Davis, E. A. (2017). Teaching and Teacher Education, 66, 204-218.

"Teachers and science curriculum materials: Where we are and where we need to go. Studies in Science Education."

Davis, E. A., Janssen, F., & Van Driel, J. (2016). 52(2), 127-160. (Authors are listed alphabetically.) DOI: 10.1080/03057267.2016.1161701

"Designing educative curriculum materials: A theoretically and empirically driven process."

Davis, E. A., Palincsar, A. S., Arias, A., Bismack, A., Marulis, L., & Iwashyna, S. (2014). Harvard Educational Review, 84(1), 24-52.

"Beginning teachers moving toward effective elementary science teaching. Science Education."

Davis, E. A., & Smithey, J. (2009). 93(4), 745-770

"Challenges new science teachers face. Review of Educational Research."

Davis, E. A., Petish, D., & Smithey, J. (2006). 76(4), 607-651.

"Designing educative curriculum materials to promote teacher learning. Educational Researcher."

Davis, E. A., & Krajcik, J. (2005). 34(3), 3-14.

Grants

Award Start Date
Jun 01, 2021
Award End Date
May 31, 2023
Award Start Date
Aug 01, 2018
Award End Date
Jul 31, 2023
Award Start Date
Sep 02, 2006
Award End Date
Mar 31, 2011
Award Start Date
Feb 10, 2006
Award End Date
Jan 10, 2008
Award Start Date
Feb 01, 2002
Award End Date
Jan 01, 2004
Award Start Date
Feb 09, 2001
Award End Date
Jan 09, 2006
Award Start Date
Jan 02, 2000
Award End Date
Feb 01, 2008