Philip Bell is a professor of the Learning Sciences & Human Development and holds the Shauna C. Larson 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

(high resolution personal image)


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

Online Presentations (videos & webinars)

Recent Project-Related Stories

Recent Graduate Courses

Select Publications

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

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.

Current PhD Students & Post-Doctoral Scholars

Prior Research Scientists & Post-Doctoral Scholars

Completed PhD Students

Completed MEd Students