Welcome to SciTrek

SciTrek is dedicated to allowing 2nd - 8th grade students to experience the scientific process first hand. SciTrek seeks to partner with local schools to present inquiry based modules that not only emphasize the process of science but also specific grade level standards.

Each module allows students to design and carry out an experiment. Providing students with the opportunity to not only learn scientific facts but also experience the scientific method allows students to understand how scientists use evidence based explanations to explain the world around them.

In addition to providing programming for students, SciTrek strives to demonstrate the importance of inquiry based lesson in science curriculum to teachers, practicing teachers, and teachers in training.

UCSB's SciTrek Program from UC Santa Barbara on Vimeo.

Recent News

October 24th, 2016

Dr. Shakhashiri presents How Science Seeks to Impart the Joy of Discovery at the Sixth Annual SciTrek Lecture


Link above for The Sixth Annual SciTrek Lecture

September 9, 2015

SciTrek Connects with Community Environmental Council to Bring Environmentalist Paul Relis


Paul Relis, environmentalist and author of Out of the Wasteland – Stories from the Environmental Frontier, will be coming to Santa Barbara's Lobrero Theater on October 12.  SciTrek is co-sponsoring the event, and SciTrek Co-founder Norbert Reich will be presenting on the importance of developing critical thinking skills early in education and their potential impact which has been required by Paul and other members of the environmental movement since its inception.  You can link to the event here: http://www.cecsb.org/event/a-conversation-with-paul-relis-pico-iyer/

Come join us!  SciTrek will be offering tickets to volunteers who sign up at the first module orientations for the upcoming school year.  Tickets can also be purchased through SciTrek in advance.  Contact the SciTrek Program Coordinator for details.

Past Annual lectures given by: Dr. Susan Singer (2015), Dr. Brian Reiser (2014), Dr. Sean Carroll (2013), Dr. Bruce Alberts (2012)

July 16, 2015

ASBMB - SciTrek Interview with Dr. Norbert Reich

Interview posted on American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's education page with Norbert Reich about the SciTrek program, various aspects of how it runs, and the benefits for local students.


May 15, 2015

HOPES 2014 - SciTrek for the Seventh Grade: Engaging Students in the Practices of Science

Article posted on American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's education page about SciTrek:


April 27, 2015

The Gift of Exploration
With the aid of UCSB’s SciTrek program, junior high school students learn the joys of hands-on scientific discovery

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — SciTrek, an experimental science program founded by UC Santa Barbara chemistry professor Norbert Reich, has “graduated.”

After four years of bringing the program based on the scientific process to the elementary classrooms of Goleta and Santa Barbara with the help of UCSB chemistry lecturer Darby Feldwinn, SciTrek is now a part of the curriculum for the majority of students at La Colina Junior High School. Under the guidance of the school’s science teachers and UCSB SciTrek volunteers, seventh-graders are able to discover how science works firsthand by carrying out their own experiments.

“My students designed experiments to see how a substance like sugar or environmental changes such as temperature or exposure to light affect yeast growth positively or negatively,” explained Megan Cotich, a science teacher at La Colina in Santa Barbara whose classes participated in SciTrek’s Evolving Germs module. “They worked with E. coli bacteria, which is a material I wouldn’t be able to use on my own with 30 students.”

SciTrek partners with local schools to present inquiry-based units that emphasize specific grade level standards. Each module addresses a specific next-generation science standard and teaches students how scientists use evidence-based explanations to understand the world around them.

To view the complete story, open the attached news release, or go to http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2015/015355/gift-exploration

The Gift of Exploration

With the aid of UCSB’s SciTrek program, junior high school students learn the joys of hands-on scientific discovery

- See more at: http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2015/015355/gift-exploration#sthash.hfeEqxXV.dpuf

By Julie Cohen-By Julie Cohen


UCSB Brings New Type of Science Education to Local Schools

The Office of Public Affairs released an article about SciTrek "UCSB Brings New Type of Science Education to Local Schools," which features a short video with commentary from the founders as well as teachers involved.

SciTrek Gets Some Press

SciTrek has been written up in the Santa Barbara Independent. The article "A Better Way to Process the Scientific Process" was in the August 25th issue of the newspaper.

Sponsors of the 2016-2017 school year




The Dreyfus Foundation



Xtreme Marine Logo


Thank you so much for coming to our class to teach us science in a fun way. Before I didn't have science at the top of my list, but now it is.

5th Grade Student - Spring 2014
Washington Elementary


SciTrek has motivated me to move beyond the lessons which are focused on content and develop more lessons focused on the scientific practices. I have observed excellent questioning skills which promoted a deeper level of student understanding of concepts, as well as developing stronger critical thinking skills. I have implemented two SciTrek inspired science lessons so far.

Lauri Dahlin - Spring 2016
Teacher - Peabody Charter Elementary


It's amazing to see the transformation that the students make in such a short amount of time. Their ideas and understanding of concepts grow each time we meet. I always feel inspired coming out of the classrooms after seeing how excited the students are, and how big of a positive impact we are having on them.

Jenna Lindsay - Winter 2016