We are a researcher-teacher team that has been working together for over 8 years. We both love teaching science and are always looking for new ways to engage our learners. We strongly believe that our youngest learners are more capable than most people believe! We know our students are capable of so much, and we strive to find ways to let them express their learning to us.

Our work has focused on teaching science, but we found that the practices necessary to creating an equitable learning environment can span across the content areas.


We’ve presented our work nationally at many conferences! We’d love to have you join us for the next one!

  • International Society of Learning Sciences 2022 – Navigating Making Space: Attending to Multiple Learnings Pathways in Science Learning
  • NARST 2021 – Approaches to Research and Design: Engaging young children in science and engineering practices.
  • Oregon Science Teachers Association Fall Conference 2019 – The Kindergarten Science Classroom: Designing learning environments toward equity and expansive participation
  • Colorado Science Educator Network NGSS Panel 2019
  • Starting Strong 2018 – We shared an overview of teaching science in a primary classroom: The Elementary Science Classroom: Designing Learning Environments Toward Equity
  • AERA 2018 – We presented our research: The Kindergarten Science Classroom: Designing Learning Environments Toward Equity and Participation for Emergent Bilingual Learners.
  • NSTA 2017 – We held two sessions: Interactive Read Alouds that Support Modeling in Elementary Science Classrooms, and Modeling Matters

About Kaia

Kaia is a National Board Certified Teacher (Early Childhood Generalist) going into her 12th year of teaching. She has experience teaching grades K-2 and has been a teacher-leader for most of her career. Kaia loves science and studied many of the sciences during her undergraduate program at the University of Washington. She loves to learn and is always seeking the latest research-based practices to use in her classroom. She is teaching kindergarten and first grade in a STEM school and is so excited about integrating subjects throughout the day.

When not teaching, Kaia loves to play computer games. She can be found playing World of Warcraft and Overwatch on most nights. She is an avid Star Wars and Pokémon fan and she loves rainbows!

About Michelle 

Michelle Salgado is a senior science educator at the Exploratorium. She completed her PhD at the University of Washington. Her postdoctoral work took place at the University of Michigan. Her research interests focus on children in primary grades engaged in authentic and collaborative inquiry practices within interdisciplinary science learning opportunities focused on NGSS and CCELA and CCMath integration. She focuses on co-designing equitable learning environments with teachers and which include family engagement with science concepts to support and elevate a diversity of student participation. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and has taught elementary school for close to a decade. She has also worked as science curriculum developer, professional development provider, and instructional coach.

Recent Publications:

Beyond assessing knowledge about models and modeling: Moving toward expansive, meaningful, and equitable modeling practice