The mission of the ESCAPE project is to provide teacher professional development that integrates the arts and sciences in newly developed standards-based curricula using innovative teaching methods to increase elementary school student achievement.



The Equitable Science Curriculum integrating Arts in Public Education (ESCAPE) is a multi-year National Science Foundation-funded teacher professional development program with a rigorous research component led by the University of California, Irvine in partnership with the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Orange County School Districts, and the Orange County Department of Education. The program is employing creative movement and the visual arts to help children better understand scientific concepts, reverse scientific misconceptions, and reduce cognitive load through the educational techniques of embodied cognition. Over the five years of the program (2014-2019), approximately 240 teachers are being taught how to use engaging inquiry and arts-based instructional methods to enhance the achievement of approximately 30,000 students in grades 3 through 5. Professional quality video is being produced throughout to support the delivery of curriculum content and the development of an online certification program.


Fall 2015 ESCAPE Commercial







  • Preparing teachers to address deficits in the science learning of elementary students, using an innovative integration of scientific inquiry and arts-based lessons that are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
  • Using integrated approaches to problem solving draw on both STEM and STEAM
  • Helping English Language Learners (ELLs) and students under-represented in the Sciences develop the academic language needed to understand and apply scientific concepts.
  • Exploring the increases in teacher content and pedagogical knowledge and measuring increases in student achievement in the Earth, Physical, and Life Sciences, as well as the impact on the science content knowledge and English language development of English language learners.
  • Creating instructional videos for the delivery of teacher professional development materials and development of online courses to extend its reach to all upper elementary teachers interested in boosting English language learners’ understanding of the sciences.