Science: Portfolio - Science Learning

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

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Grant amount: US $50,000 - US $2,100,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Organizations

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, Project / Program

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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About this funder:



Please note that we do not accept unsolicited grant proposals. Because of our tightly-defined grantmaking strategies, many worthwhile projects fall outside the scope of our funding priorities. However, if you have thoughts or inquiries related to our work that you would like to share, you may send us a brief, ~100-word email. Please understand that due to the volume of inquiries we receive, we are only able to commit to reviewing those inquiries that adhere to the ~100-word guideline.

We fund projects that enable and sustain scientific curiosity and problem solving to cultivate a lifelong interest in science. We want to improve society’s understanding of the inherent value of science and contribute to a more informed public that appreciates science, considers data and evidence, and engages in rational decision making in personal and civic lives. To achieve these outcomes, we make grants across interrelated thematic threads: science learning assessment and innovative models for science-rich engagement.

Our science learning efforts include multiple facets.

Science Learning Assessment
The Science Learning Assessment portfolio aims to demonstrate new techniques and tools for measuring what matters for science learning. Supporting projects that drive innovations in what and how we assess in science learning can contribute to improved practices in science education, including helping to better understand what programs and experiences are most effective. While we primarily focus our efforts outside of schools and classrooms, we also look for collaborations that can help bridge our work to other learning settings, including schools. New types of assessment that are developed through this portfolio will help build a better understanding of the critical factors that influence science learning, thereby informing the design of learning experiences across settings.

Innovative Models for Science-Rich Engagement
We want to encourage scientific inquiry at all ages and provide opportunities for children and their families to explore the world around them. Children experience the wonder of science all around them. It might begin with bugs in the backyard or pondering how bubbles form or wondering what causes the edge of a cloud to take shape. Often these openings to explore and understand natural phenomena stop right there: the question, the idea, the observation. However, encouraging children to persist in this inquiry, and providing tools to help them do so, offers opportunities for much deeper engagement with science. Whether kids called these explorations science, or whether they view them as just messing around, is not necessarily important. Through these curiosity-driven actions they can explore fundamental questions, develop and deepen interests, and learn to systematically pursue understanding.

This exploratory collection of grants supports more sustained and robust public engagement and interest in science through investments in the design and study of innovative models for science-rich engagement. From use of low-cost high quality science tools for exploration or problem solving, to science or engineering sets that spark curiosity, these grants aim to generate new ideas and prototypes for experiences that inspire and engage the broader public engagement with science.  

A 2014 Science Play and Research Kit (SPARK) Competition challenged participants to generate a new set of experiences and activities that spark imagination and sustained interest in science and technology. 

Research on Science-Rich Engagement and Learning
We seek to understand the impact of our work and, whenever possible, we use our investments as an opportunity to better understand the dynamics of what leads to persistent engagement in science. 

These efforts synergize with our investments in science and technology museums in the San Francisco Bay Area.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.