Kat Laxton

Professional Title
Research and Teaching Assistant
About Me (Bio)
Kat Laxton is a second-year PhD candidate at the University of Washington in Science Education with primary research interests in science curriculum development, science teacher education, and educational policy. In addition to working on the DR K-12 project, Kat works as the science content coach and teaching assistant in the teacher education program. As a teaching assistant and coach, she works primarily in helping support and develop ambitious and equitable teaching skills of the UW’s teacher candidates. Kat earned her B.S. and M.Ed. in Education and Earth Science at Louisiana State University. Throughout the 5-year teaching apprentice program at LSU, Kat taught science in all grades, 1-8 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In her research project while teaching, Kat began developing a teaching model that emphasized the use of discourse and experience-based learning in the classroom. After earning her degrees, she taught 7th grade science in Nashville, Tennessee and founded the “Outdoor Adventure Club,” an extracurricular club that allowed inner-city students to learn science through overnight outdoor experiences. Later, Kat moved to Houston, Texas and briefly taught 8th grade science in the Houston Independent School District before teaching 6th and 7th grade sciences at The Kinkaid School. Throughout her teaching career, Kat has enjoyed working with students outside of the classroom while coaching swimming and cross-country.
University of Washington (UW)

The goal of this project is to accelerate the progress of early-career and pre-service science teachers from novice to expert-like pedagogical reasoning and practice by developing and studying a system of discourse tools. The tools are aimed at developing teachers' capabilities in shaping instruction around the most fundamental science ideas; scaffolding student thinking; and adapting instruction to diverse student populations by collecting and analyzing student data on their thinking levels.