Eve Manz

Associate Professor

Photo of Eve Manz

Dr. Eve Manz is an associate professor of education specializing in science education at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. Her research focuses on the development of epistemic practices in mathematics and science; that is, supporting students to participate in making and using knowledge in powerful, disciplinary ways. She seeks to understand how to design learning environments so that practices such as modeling, experimentation, and argumentation are meaningful and useful for elementary school students.

Manz works closely with elementary level in-service and pre-service teachers to design curriculum and test new approaches for engaging young students in science. She is currently working with elementary teachers to incorporate “productive uncertainty” into elementary school science investigations, with funding from an early career award from the National Science Foundation. She is also working on the development of a full-day interdisciplinary, project-based, culturally sustaining curriculum for the early elementary grades with colleagues at the University of Michican, UIC, Michigan State University, and Georgia State University.

Manz is the 2019 recipient of the Early Career Research Award from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching and is currently serving on the National Academies of Science and Engineering Committee on Enhancing Science and Engineering in Prekindergarten through Fifth Grade.

PhD, Mathematics and Science Education, Vanderbilt University
AB, Education and Psychology, Swarthmore College

CH300-515: Methods of Instruction: Elementary 1-6 (Science Section)

ED800: Intro Doctoral Proseminar in Theories of Learning, Teaching, and Equity

ME/SE 701: Learning Theory and Epistemologies in Mathematics and Science Education

Research Program:

Engaging elementary students in scientific practices; Design-based research; Co-design; Developing equitable, joyful elementary learning environments

Children bring to their engagements with the world a sense of curiosity, a desire to understand and make things, and a joy in connection and mastery. Elementary science education could be a place to invite children’s capabilities, and interests, using these as the basis for meaningful activity, developing deep and powerful ideas about how the world works, and connecting ideas and skills in multiple content domains. In practice, elementary science is rare (an average of 17 minutes per day), inequitably distributed, and enacted in ways that don’t sufficiently invite the resources that children, particularly children of color and multilingual children, bring to science instruction.

My work is situated within a shift to science as practice (as represented in NRC, 2012; Next Generation Science Standards) that emphasizes young people’s engagement in the practices of science and engineering and the coherent, long-term development of core science ideas. I study how the science and engineering practices described in the standards, namely modeling, argumentation, and investigation can be instantiated in elementary classrooms not as rote skills or as descriptions of what distant scientists do, but in ways that are meaningful to students in their current activity and contribute to the development of powerful understandings and classroom cultures. Practically, I conduct this work by designing, orchestrating, and studying learning environments that engage elementary school students and teachers in productive sense-making. I currently am engaged in two strands of research.


Rethinking Science Investigations

Generally, elementary students engage in science investigations either as tightly controlled, scripted procedures or, on the other hand, as open-ended exploratory activity. Both approaches oversimplify scientific knowledge making. They omit forms of empirical uncertainty (e.g., how an experiment represents and fails to represent a target phenomenon) that could be more powerfully invoked and implemented as a resource, both for students’ engagement in practices and their development of content understandings. Through an NSF-funded CAREER grant (2018-2023), I co-design and study science investigations with second and fifth grade teachers in Somerville Public Schools. This work draws on established principles in the Learning Sciences and applies them to specific opportunities made visible when we consider empirical investigations and data as models of complex phenomena (Manz, 2019; Manz, Lehrer, and Schauble, 2020).

This project addresses the following questions: (1) what are productive forms of uncertainty for young students to encounter in empirical investigations; (2) Under what conditions do elementary students take up uncertainty in empirical work and grapple productively in classrooms conversations; and (3) How does grappling with uncertainty in empirical activity support learning? I work with researchers, teachers, and district leaders on iterations of classroom design to study productive forms of uncertainty in classroom investigations; design and test tools and structures that support teachers’ and students’ work; and develop assessment methods to better understand how young people develop practices and conceptual understandings in these environments.


Understanding and addressing the complexity of elementary teaching systems

Increasingly, my work draws on and takes a systems-level view. I view teachers and administrators as sense-makers working in complex and ambiguous systems with multiple constraints and goals. I address the complexity of elementary teachers’ work with students and seek to develop sustainable designs that increase the amount of time that elementary students spend exploring the natural, designed, and social world. I conduct this work in interdisciplinary teams of teachers and researchers. Further, I seek out collaborators and teams where I can build my understanding of and tools for addressing systemic injustices that influence both the amount of science young minoritized students receive and the ways that their ideas and participation in science are supported.

In one project funded by the Kellogg Foundation, I work with Nell Duke (University of Michigan), Marisha Humphries (UIC), and colleagues in social studies, science, and mathematics education, to conceptualize and design an integrated approach to project-based learning that addresses academic and social-emotional learning standards in the context of a full-day, full-year culturally sustaining curriculum. In addition, through a James S. McDonnell Foundation Teachers as Learners grant, I have worked with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers to examine how to shift classroom discourse practices within and across the content areas of mathematics, science, and English Language Arts (ELA).

Visit Dr. Manz's Faculty Profile
Read More about Dr. Manz's work with Somerville Public Schools.
Dr. Eve Manz to Receive Review of Research Award at 2016 AERA Annual Meeting

Georgen, C. and Manz, E. (2021). Interlocking Models as Sites of Modeling Practice and Conceptual Innovation. In E. de Vries, J. Ahn, & Y. Hod (Eds.), 15th International Conference of the Learning Sciences – ICLS 2021. International Society of the Learning Sciences, 2021. (Best Paper Award)

Manz, E., Lehrer, R., and Schauble, L. (2020). Rethinking the classroom science investigation. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 57(7), 1148-1174.

Miller, E., Manz, E., Russ, R., Stroupe, D., and Berland, L.K. (2018). Addressing the epistemic elephant in the room: Epistemic agency and the Next Generation Science Standards. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 55(7), 1053-1075.

Manz, E. (2015). Resistance and the development of scientific practice: Designing ‘the Mangle’ into science instruction. Cognition and Instruction, 33(2), 89-124.

Manz, E. (2015). Representing student argumentation as functionally emergent from scientific activity. Review of Educational Research, 85(4), 553-590.

Seeking and evaluating coherence: Some questions. Epistemic Heterogeneity Keynote Address, Waterbury Institute for the Learning Sciences, Penn State. May 14, 2019.

Engaging young students in scientific argumentation as transformation. In G. Newell, Chair, Teaching and Learning of Argumentation and Argumentative Reading and Writing in the Academic Disciplines, sponsored by the Writing and Literacies SIG at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association, Toronto, April, 2019.

Supporting sense-making in elementary science teaching and learning: Approaches to implementing district science curriculum. Invited presentation at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Science Education Leadership Association, Marlborough, MA. October 26, 2018. 

Manz, E. Supporting evidence construction in elementary science investigations. (2019, April). In D. Morrison, S. Michaels, and J. Moon (Chairs), Using Epistemic Tools to Support Reasoning, Student Agency, and Equity. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Toronto, ON.

Schwarz, C., Manz, E, and Marcum, M. (2019, April). Modeling for sense-making in the elementary classroom: Research, exemplars, and initial principles for modeling that works. In Pierson, A. (Chair), Supporting Modeling Epistemologies in the Classroom. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Toronto, ON. 

Watkins, J. and Manz, E. (2018, March). Examining how classroom communities take up uncertainty for scientific sense-making. In Heredia, S. and Manz, E. (chairs), Exploring supports for teachers and students to engage with productive uncertainty in science investigations. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Atlanta, GA. 

Manz, E. (2018, June). Designing for an analyzing productive uncertainty in science investigations. Paper presented at the International Conference of the Learning Sciences, London, UK. 

Manz, E. and Renga, R. (2015, April). Talk Strategies for Addressing Epistemic Challenges in Science Teaching. In E. Manz (chair), Expanding Frameworks for Talk in Science Classrooms. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

View all profiles