Li Ke, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Science Education
Li Ke


Li Ke is an assistant professor of science education at the University. His research centers around fostering meaningful science teaching and learning from elementary through high school classrooms. He is interested in how students negotiate socio-scientific issues such as climate change and how issue-based learning experiences support students’ development in scientific literacy. His work also explores co-design as an effective way of teacher professional development to promote teacher agency. 

Ke’s current research, funded by the National Science Foundation, examines how middle school students coordinate different types of models to learn about viral pandemics. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Research in Science TeachingInternational Journal of Science Education and Science & Education

Prior to joining the University, Ke was a postdoctoral research associate for the School of Education at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He serves as the managing Editor of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Science Teacher Education and Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research

Areas of expertise

  • Science education
  • Scientific modeling and model-based instruction
  • Socio-scientific issues and issue-based teaching
  • Science teacher education
  • Epistemology

If you are a doctoral student or prospective doctoral student and interested in any of these areas, please reach out. 


Schwarz, C. V., Ke, L., Salgado, M., & Man, E. (2022). Beyond assessing modeling knowledge: Moving towards expansive, equitable, and meaningful modeling practice. Journal of Research in Science Teaching59(6), 1086-1096. 

Elsner, J., Sadler, T. D., Zangori, L., Friedrichsen, P., & Ke, L. (2022). Student interest, concerns, and information-seeking behaviors related to COVID-19Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research, 4(11)

Ke, L., & Schwarz, C. V. (2021). Supporting students’ meaningful engagement in scientific modeling through epistemological messages: A case study of contrasting teaching approaches. Journal of Research in Science Teaching58(3), 335-365. 

Ke, L.,Sadler, T. D., Zangori, L., & Friedrichsen, P. (2021). Developing and using multiple models to promote scientific literacy in the context of socio-scientific issues. Science & Education30(3), 589-607. 

Friedrichsen, P., Ke, L., Sadler, T. D., & Zangori, L. (2021). Enacting co-designed socio-scientific issue-based curriculum units: A case study of secondary science teacher learning. Journal of Science Teacher Education32(1), 85-106. 

Li, N., Ke, L., Liu, E., Sadler, T. D., & Li, X. (2021). Value analysis of socio-scientific issues in Chinese secondary science education. Journal of China Examinations8, 87-94. (社会性科学议题在我国中学科学教育中的价值分析。《中国考试》

Ke, L.,Sadler, T. D., Zangori, L., & Friedrichsen, P. (2020). Students’ perceptions of engagement in socio-scientific issue-based learning and their appropriation of epistemic tools for systems thinking. International Journal of Science Education42(8), 1339-1361. 

Ke, L., Zangori, L., Sadler, T.D., & Friedrichsen, P. (2020). Integrating scientific modeling and socio-scientific reasoning to promote scientific literacy. In Powell, W. (Ed.), Socio-scientific issue-based instruction for scientific literacy development (pp. 31-55). IGI Global. 

Zangori, L., Ke, L., Sadler, T. D., & Peel, A. (2020). Exploring primary students causal reasoning about ecosystems. International Journal of Science Education42(11), 1799-1817. 

Sadler, T. D., Friedrichsen, P., Zangori, L. & Ke, L. (2020). Technology-supported professional development for collaborative design of COVID-19 instructional materials. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 28(2), 171-177. 

Ke, L., & Schwarz, C.V. (2019). Using epistemic considerations in teaching: Fostering students’ meaningful engagement in scientific modeling. In Upmeier zu Belzen, A., Krüger, D. & Van Driel, J. (Eds.), Towards a competence-based view on models and modeling in science education (pp. 181-199)Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. 

Alonzo, A., & Ke, L. (2016). Taking stock: Existing resources for assessing a new vision of science learning. Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives14(4), 119-152. 


  • Ph.D. Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education, Michigan State University, 2018 
  • M.S. Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012 
  • B.S. Chemistry, Fudan University, 2010 

Honors and awards 

  •  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Postdoc Award for Research Excellence, 2022 
  •  European Science Education Research Association, Early-Career Scholar Travel Award, 2020