Miller 312H

Additional Appointments

Shauna C. Larson Chair in Learning Sciences Director, Institute for Science + Math Education

Research Interests

Equity Studies
Learning Sciences & Human Development
Qualitative Research Methods
Science & Mathematics

Philip Bell


Philip Bell is a professor of the Learning Sciences & Human Development and holds the Shauna C. Larson Endowed Chair in Learning Sciences. He is executive director of the UW Institute for Science & Math Education focused on equity-focused innovation in K-12 STEM education, and he is co-director of the Learning in Informal and Formal Environments (LIFE) Science of Learning Center. Bell pursues a cognitive and cultural program of research across diverse environments focused on how people learn in ways that are personally consequential to them. He has studied everyday expertise and cognition in science and health, the design and use of novel learning technologies in science classrooms, youth argumentation, culturally expansive science instruction, and scaled implementation of educational improvement. Bell served as a member of the Board on Science Education with the National Academy of Sciences for eight years, co-chaired the National Research Council consensus report effort on Learning Science in Informal Environments and served on the committee of the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education that was used to guide development of Next Generation Science Standards. He has a background in human cognition and development, science education, computer science, and electrical engineering.

Bell is also currently editing a series of research- and practice-based tools for science education called STEM Teaching Tools. The effort is providing resources for equity-focused improvements in science education

Are you applying to graduate school this year? I am looking to have a couple of doctoral students join my research group. Working with our partners, we generally enage in participatory design research on equity-focused approaches to science education across a broad variety of settings. We are currently working on projects focused on: (1) helping inservice and pre-service teachers take up climate justice scienece instruction for more just and thriving futures and (2) promoting coherence and equity across sytems of science education at the national level. These initiatives involve working in specific learning environments with educators and youth, in a variety of professional learning contexts with educators and educational leaders, and with far-flung networks of collaborating teams on scaled improvement. I welcome applications from students who find shared interests in this work. Please describe your interest in this work in your statement of research interests if you would like to be considered.


SHORT-CUTS: Google Scholar ProfileEducation - Online Presentations - Select Publications - Recent Project-Related Stories - Courses - Current PhD Students - Prior Research Scientists & Post-Doctoral ScholarsCompleted PhD Students - Completed MEd Students

Ph.D.; University of California, Berkeley; Human Development & Cognition; Education in Math, Science & Technology; 1998
M.Ed.; University of California, Berkeley; Human Development & Cognition; Education in Math, Science & Technology; 1996
B.S.; University of Colorado, Boulder; Electrical Engineering & Computer Science; 1989
Centers and Initiatives


Courses Taught
Learning Across Diverse Settings and Pursuits (EDPSY 527)
Advanced Theory Seminar: Exploring Contemporary Learning Theories (EDPSY 581)
Survey of Human Learning and Educational Practice (EDPSY 501)
Advanced Methods Seminar: The Ethnography of Human Development and Learning (EDPSY 582)
Introduction to Learning Sciences & Human Development: graduate seminar for incoming graduate students (EDPSY 581)
Contemporary Perspectives on the Teaching and Learning of K-12 Science Education (EDPSY 510)

(Here is a full list of cultural and cognitive studies of learning and development conducted by my research group.) 

Tzou, C., Rother, D., Braun, A., Starks, E., Meixi, Suárez, E., Rambayon, A., Bell, P., LaBonte, D., Twito, A., Peterson, S., Marie Ortiz, S. & Bang, M. (2020). Trust the Process: Developing STEM Mindsets Through Family Storytelling. Connected Science Learning, 2(1). 

Bell, P. (2019). Infrastructuring Teacher Learning about Equitable Science Instruction. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 30(7), 681-690. DOI: 10.1080/1046560X.2019.1668218

Tzou, C., Meixi, Suárez, E., Bell, P., LaBonte, D., Starks, E. & Bang, M. (2019). Storywork in STEM-Art: Making, Materiality and Robotics within Everyday Acts of Indigenous Presence and Resurgence. Cognition & Instruction, DOI: 10.1080/07370008.2019.1624547

Bell, P., Van Horne, K., & Cheng, B. H. (2017). Designing Learning Environments for Equitable Disciplinary Identification. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 26(3), 367-375. doi:10.1080/10508406.2017.1336021 

Barron, B., & Bell, P. (2015). Learning environments in and out of school. In L. Corno & E. Anderman (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology (Third Edition) (pp. 323-336). New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis.

Bricker, L. A., & Bell, P. (2014). “What Comes to Mind When You Think of Science? The Perfumery!”: Documenting Science-Related Cultural Learning Pathways Across Contexts and Timescales. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(3), 260-285.

Zimmerman, H. T., & Bell, P. (2014). Where Young People See Science: Everyday activities connected to science. International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 4(1), 25-53.

Quinn, H., & Bell, P. (2013). How designing, making, and playing relate to the learning goals of K-12 science education. In M. Honey (Ed.), Design, Make, Play: Growing the next generation of STEM innovators. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis / Routledge.

National Research Council. (2012). A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Board on Science Education, National Academy of Scienes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. (I served on the 18-member committee that authored this conceptual framework for Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 education.)

Bell, P., Tzou, C., Bricker, L. A., & Baines, A. D. (2012). Learning in diversities of structures of social practice: Accounting for how, why and where people learn science. Human Development, 55, 269-284.

Bell, P., Bricker, L. A., Tzou, C., Lee, T., & Van Horne, K. (2012). Engaging learners in scientific practices related to obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. The Science Teacher, 79(8), 31-36, Science Scope, 36(3), 17-22, Science & Children, 50(3), 11-16.

Bevan, B., Bell, P., Stevens, R., & Razfar, A. (2012). Learning about Out of School Time (LOST) Learning Opportunities. London: Springer.

Bell, P., Lewenstein, B., Shouse, A.W. & Feder, M.A. (Eds.). National Research Council. (2009). Learning science in informal environments: People, places, and pursuits. Board on Science Education, National Academy of Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. (I co-chaired this consensus study with Bruce Lewenstein.)

Bricker, L.A. & Bell, P. (2008). Conceptualizations of argumentation from science studies and the learning sciences and their implications for the practices of science education. Science Education, 92(3), 473-498.

Bell, P. (2004). On the theoretical breadth of design-based research in education. Educational Psychologist, 39(4), 243-253.

Linn, M. C., Davis, E. A., & Bell, P. (2004). Internet environments for science educationMahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Baumgartner, E., Bell, P., Brophy, S., Hoadley, C., Hsi, S., Joseph, D., Orrill, C., Puntambekar, S., Sandoval, W., & Tabak, I. (Design-based Research Collective). (2003). Design-based research: An emerging paradigm for educational inquiry. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 5-8.

Bell, P. (2002). Using argument map representations to make thinking visible for individuals and groups. In T. Koschmann & R. Hall & N. Miyake (Eds.), CSCL 2: Carrying Forward the Conversation (pp. 449-485). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bell, P., & Linn, M. C. (2000). Scientific arguments as learning artifacts: Designing for learning from the web with KIE. International Journal of Science Education, 22(8), 797-817.

Presentations, videos & webinars

Recent Project-Related Stories

Current PhD Students & Research Scientists

Prior Research Scientists & Post-Doctoral Scholars

Completed PhD Students

  • AnnMarie Darrow Baines (co-advised with Cap Peck) - executive director at The Practice Space
  • Kristen Bergsman - curriculum design project lead at Fred Hutch
  • Leah Bricker - research associate professor, Northwestern University and at the Spencer Foundation
  • Ryan Campbell (co-advised with Denise Wilson) - post-doctoral scholar, Texas Tech University
  • Mark Chen - game designer and faculty, University of Washington Bothell
  • Jeanne Ting Chowning - senior director, science education, Fred Hutch
  • Tiffany Lee Clark (co-advised with John Bransford) - research scientist, CU-Boulder; consultant
  • Denice Fischer-Fortier - interdisciplinary designer and consultant, Seattle area
  • Bruce Havelock (co-advised with Steve Kerr) - healthcare change and IT deployment leader
  • Cheng-Fang Huang
  • Elaine Klein - curriculum designer & professional learning specialist at Educurious
  • Heena Lakhani - postdoctoral researcher
  • Louise Ann Lyon - affiliate investigator at California State University San Marcos
  • Veronica McGowan - faculty and research scientist, University of Washington Bothell
  • Hiroki Oura (co-advised with Steve Kerr) - project researcher, University of Tokyo
  • Suzanne Perin - museum director at Shafer Historical Museum, Okanogan County Historical Society
  • Suzanne Reeve - instructional coach and teacher leader, Bellevue School District
  • Giovanna Scalone - post-doctoral scholar, Engineering, University of Washington
  • Déana Scipio - director of campus education programs at Islandwood
  • Shelley Stromholt - program evaluation consultant Aspect Research + Evaluation
  • Katie Van Horne - research consultant, Concolor Research
  • Elizabeth ("Elly") Walsh - associate professor, San Jose State University
  • Lia Wetzstein - associate research director at Community College Research Initiatives, University of Washington
  • Ben Wiggins - Manager of Program Operations, Department of Biology, University of Washington
  • Kerri Wingert - researcher, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Heather Toomey Zimmerman - associate professor, Penn State University

Completed MEd Students