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College of Education

Faculty and Staff

Stephen L. Thompson, Ph.D.

Title: Professor, Elementary Education
Department: Teacher Education
College of Education
Phone: 803-777-6820

Wardlaw 107-E

Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Stephen L. Thompson, Ph.D.


Ph.D., Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University
M.S.,  Science Education, Florida State University
B.A., Elementary Education, Rio Grand College


Science Education, science education methods, teacher professional development, scientist and engineer collaborations with K-12 schools, and nature-based inquiry


Stephen Thompson is a Professor in the Department of Teacher Education. He teaches science methods courses and graduate level science education courses.

Thompson’s research interests, and publication history, center on elementary and middle level science teacher professional development, nature-based inquiry, and scientist and engineer collaborations with K-12 schools. His current projects include research and curriculum development related to the teaching and learning of interrelated plant processes (photosynthesis, cellular respiration and transpiration). Thompson has received over 6 million dollars in grant funding to support his work with elementary and middle level science teachers. He has also acted as principal investigator and/or co-principal investigator on funded projects totaling over 10.2 million dollars.

Selected Publications

Thompson, S. & Lotter, C., (2014). Conservation of Matter in the Life Sciences. Science Scope 38(2), 57-69.

Thompson, S., (2014). Historical Plant Studies: Tools for Enhancing Students' Understanding of Photosynthesis. Science Scope 17(6), 43-53.

Capobianco, B. & Thompson, S., (2013). Exploring the Use of Visual Data to Uncover Science Students’ Conceptions of an Engineer and Engineering. In J. Pedersen & K. Finson (Eds), Visual Data and Their Use in Science Education. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.

Thompson, S., (2010). Enhancing Students’ Understanding of Plant-Related Gas Processes. Science Scope 33(8), 20-26. 

Thompson, S. & Lyons, J., (2009). Engineering Outreach in Middle School: The Influence of a Long-Term, School-Based Collaboration. International Journal of Engineering Education, 25(3), 452-460. 

Fralick, B., Kearn, J., Thompson, S., & Lyons, J., (2009). How Middle Schoolers Draw Scientists and Engineers. Journal of Science Education and Technology 18(1), 60-74. 

Thompson, S. & Zenger, J., (2009). Diverse Pathways in Teacher Preparation: South Carolina Technical to 4-year College Teacher Certification Initiative. Teacher Education Journal of South Carolina 9(1), 8-16. 

Maher, M., & Thompson, S., (2009). I Needed a Seventh Grader to Teach Me That: Science and Engineering Graduate Students’ Experiences in a Middle School Classroom. Teacher Education Journal of South Carolina 9(1), 113-119.

Thompson, S., (2009). South Carolina technical college partnerships (Innovation and Reform in Teacher Preparation:
AACTE’s 5th Annual Day on the Hill, June 17-18, 2009). Washington, DC: 80-81 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. 

Thompson. S. & Lyons, J., (2008).  Engineers in the Classroom: Their Influence on African-American Students’ Perceptions of Engineering, School Science and Mathematics, 108(5), 197-210. 

Thompson, S., (2007). Demonstrating Inquiry-Based Teaching Competencies in the Life Sciences: Part2. Journal of College Science Teaching, 37(2), 63-65. 

Thompson, S., (2007). Demonstrating Inquiry-Based Teaching Competencies in the Life Sciences: Part1. Journal of College Science Teaching, 37(1), 48-50. 

Thompson, S., (2007). Inquiry in the Life Sciences: The Plant-in-a-Jar as a Catalyst for Learning. Science Activities, 43(4), 27-33. 

Thompson, S., Collins, A., Metzgar, V., Joeston, M., & Shepherd, V., (2002). Exploring Graduate-Level Scientists Participation in a Sustained K-12 Teaching Collaboration. School Science and Mathematics 102(6) 254-265. 

Selected Awards 

University of South Carolina Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award (2009)
University of South Carolina College of Education Leonard Maiden Spirit of Service Award (2008)

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.