The innovation engine for new materials

RET - Research Experience for Teachers

Summer 2024 on-line application.  

Applications are accepted year round.

Summer 2023 News!

In this program, local science teachers participate in laboratory research under the mentorship of MRL graduate, post-doctoral and faculty researchers. Teachers work collaboratively to translate their research experiences into the development of inquiry-based lab projects for science classrooms.  The total teacher stipend over the course of the two year program is $10,000.

For 2024 program information including an approximate timeline and stipend information, please see the "Summer 2024 RET info" pdf to the right.  Applications are accepted year round.   This program does not provide housing, so we are limited to applications from local teachers.

Information on our current teacher-intern projects is below, for past projects please visit: View and Search Past Teacher Projects.  (Each teachers individual web page has links to resources of their classrom projects).  

For the first summer of the MRL RET program (RET1), teachers are placed as interns in UCSB research groups for 6 weeks. For the second summer of participation (RET2), teachers work for 4 weeks developing a science curriculum for presentation to their colleagues at our annual workshop.  Participants are encouraged to develop units in which students will collect hands-on scientific data, make responsible conclusions about the meaning of the data and communicating their findings to other students.

The teaching resources developed by the teachers will be presented at annual workshops for science teachers throughout the Santa Barbara County area. The next workshop will be in Spring 2024.

Are you using a RET curriculum project in your own classroom?  If so, please take our short SURVEY!
For inquiries about this program please contact Frank Kinnaman: frank_kinnaman [at] ucsb [dot] edu.

An Education Project at the Materials Research Laboratory
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

Current RET Curriculum Projects

Laguna Blanca
John Harter
Ryan Russell
Teaching Light Through Holography
In this 5E lesson plan, students will explore the world of light and optics. They will start by constructing their own DIY smartphone projectors, learning about the basic...
Saint Francis High School
Susan Mazer
Investigating Native California Wildflowers to Understand Evolution
This is a three-lesson unit designed for an NGSS Biology course that helps students discover how patterns in natural selection can lead to evolution. This unit follows the 5E...
Carpinteria Middle School
Michael Gordon
Oleksandr Polonskyi
Sustainable Plastic Design Challenge
The Sustainable Plastic Design Challenge is an approximately two week inquiry- and project-based learning unit. It is designed to address the ETS standards for a seventh...
Lompoc High School
Quyen Nguyen
Tung Nguyen
Soft Materials: Investigating Alginate Polymer Molecular-Level Structure in the Classroom
This 2-week lesson sequence on the molecular-level design of alginate-based soft materials is designed for high school Chemistry in the Earth System and Marine Science...
Brywood Elementary
Michael Gordon
Oleksandr Pololnskyi
Unleashing Hydrogen’s Potential In The Classroom Through Whiteboard Modeling & Hands-On Lessons
In a classroom setting, students participate in experiments to explore the phenomena of using water as a fuel in a fuel cell car. These experiments involve electrolysis,...

Current RET Research Projects

Absolute Age Dating Carbon Burial in the Monterey Formation using U-Pb Zircon Geochronology
The Miocene aged Monterey Formation found along the coast of California is known as a major source of oil in California.  It is also a storehouse of carbon and an important...
Understanding the stability of active layer materials in organic solar cells (OSCs)
Given the pressing need to optimize green and low-cost energy sources on a warming planet, one promising area of research is in semiconductors known as organic photovoltaic...
Computational Analysis of the Hydrophobicity of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Receptor Binding Domain
In the Shell Lab and Shea Lab, many research projects are being undertaken in collaboration to study protein interactions with molecular modeling. In particular, several of...