FREE Chapter: Toward More Equitable Learning in Science

Screen Shot 2020-07-10 at 12.54.41 PMThe National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) currently has a FREE chapter from the book Helping Student Make Sense of the World using Next Generation Science & Engineering Practices. This book is a compilation of chapters from multiple authors. The FREE chapter is Toward More Equitable Learning in Science by Megan Bang, Bryan Brown, Angela Calabrese Barton, Ann Rosebery, and Beth Warren.

The chapter lays out 3 Principles for expanding meaningful learning opportunities in science:

  • Principle 1: Notice sense-making repertoires. Attend to, listen to, and think about students’ diverse sense-making as connecting to science practices.

  • Principle 2: Support sense-making. Actively support students in using their sense-making repertoires and experiences as critical tools in engaging with science practices.

  • Principle 3: Engage diverse sense-making. Engage students in understanding how scientific practices and knowledge are always developing and how their own community histories, values, and practices have contributed to scientific understanding and problem solving and will continue to do so.

I think that some of us as science teachers might look at these principles and say, “Yes- I think I do that.” OR “I’m not sure what this means exactly.”

This chapter uses three vignettes to clarify these three principles that are crying out for examples.

Not sure how long this chapter will stay on the NSTA site as a FREE download so grab it now.

Equity & Diversity Resources Pt. 1

I know that a lot of educators are digging into books on equity and diversity this summer. Here are a few resources that have been key in my personal journey as a white male looking to become more culturally aware, equity-focused, and anti-racist. I will keep adding to this list. I’m aware that many excellent resources are currently not included here. I’m not trying to make an exhaustive list on this first post- but instead providing a ‘playlist’ of the resources that I’ve used personally and that feel like good starting places for others.

TITLE Overview Author Link
Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain THE book on culturally responsive teaching. Provides tools and strategies to dig into CRT. Clear discussion of how a lack of CRT affects students. Zaretta Hammond Click HERE
Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People Describes the Project Implicit implicit association tests. Discusses how we all have unconscious biases (even ones we don’t want) and how these may affect us. Makes the case that we must confront and think about these “mindbugs”. Mahzarin R. BanajiAnthony Greenwald Click HERE
For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too Provides stories, a framework, and strategies for effectively teaching urban students of color. Lots of wisdom here. Christopher Emdin Click HERE

My Statement to My Fellow White Folks

The horrific murder of Mr. George Floyd, caught on video for all to see, is a graphic and disturbing reminder of what communities of color have had to navigate for centuries. While we absolutely must seek justice for the Floyd family we cannot stop there. This moment must be bigger than that.

For some white folks it is more comfortable to conceive of this event as the result of just a few “bad apples”. This is the result of a system that clearly needs reform. By the way- all of our systems need reform. From education to health care and beyond- people of color experience a different reality from what I experience as a white man navigating the same systems.

I’m so discouraged when I see white folks in my community, online, and on TV who just don’t believe or don’t accept the experiences of people of color.

I believe people of color when they share about their multiple negative encounters with the police.

I believe people of color when they share their experiences of walking down the street in America.

I believe people of color when they share what it feels like to be monitored and followed when shopping in a clothing store.

I believe people of color when they describe how they prepare their sons and daughters for that inevitable encounter with a police officer.

I believe the teachers of color who fear losing their jobs after continuously speaking up about injustices in their school.

I believe my former elementary students of color when they describe the low expectations (and worse) that they have experienced in our school systems K-12 and beyond.

I believe my college students of color when they describe their experiences navigating relentless biases and prejudices in and out of school.

I believe the data on the difference in health outcomes that people of color experience in our hospitals.

I believe the white woman who doesn’t want her black husband going for a run here in my own community because she fears for his life. He runs near his work in Tacoma instead.

I believe the woman of color who didn’t want her young son to ride his bike home this past Monday because there was racial profiling happening in her neighborhood. She picked him up in her car instead.

I believe my wife when she decides to not have some of her staff come to her workplace this week when there was a militia of heavily armed white men just a few blocks away. I believe that she felt afraid for their safety.

I believe it is time for us as white folks to step up. The case has been made. People of color are pleading with us to finally act. I also believe that many people of color are beyond exhausted with us. We need to stop being silent. We need to stop expecting the oppressed to be the only ones to fix the very systems that oppress them. WE need to fix this!

Climate Science Assessment Tasks

The Phenomenal Assessment site features three assessment tasks created for the Climate Science Proviso which has provided climate science education funding in Washington state. You will find an elementary task, a middle school task and a high school task.

Elementary: Comparing & Critiquing Energy Sources grade 4

Middle School: Analyzing Patterns in Wildfire Data

High School: Climate Impacts after 1492

These assessment tasks are not intended to be solely used as summative assessments. Think about how you might use these as objects of study for your own professional learning and how these might be used as assessments WHILE learning. This site provides examples of ways that these tasks might be used in equitable and rigorous ways. See below:

Do-Talk-Revise

Reflect on Argumentation

Analyze Data

 

 

Online PD: How to Support Home-Based Science Learning

The STEM Teaching Tools team/site recently hosted a Zoom professional development session titled- ClimeTime Professional Learning Session: How to Support Home-Based Science Learning During School Closures…it’s a catchy title to be sure.

Click the link HERE to see the presenters, goals, and resources. The video is embedded below. Enjoy!

Climate Clock

Screen Shot 2020-05-05 at 1.56.43 PMI’m assuming you are coming to grips with a global pandemic and the introduction of murder hornets. So there is no better time to add on by sharing the Climate Clock. This site features a real-time clock that displays the total global warming to date, the time left to a 1.5 degree celsius increase, and the tons of CO2 emitted.

This is a powerful image to have projected while presenting information on climate science to students, adult learners and/or the community. Could be interesting to have learners discuss why these metrics were selected to be a part of the clock. Enjoy!

Video: How to See Germs Spread

This video by Mark Rober (Check out some of Mark’s other science videos) is nicely done and could be pushed out to students as part of some online science learning. There are lots of Science & Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts at work here too if you wanted to get all NGSS nerdy with it.

Mark is also livestreaming a Science Class on his YouTube channel at 1pm PST Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. His first was today. He’s also posting the videos so you don’t have to catch the livestream.

Resources for Supporting Science Learning During School Closures

Our friends at STEM Teaching ToolsScreen Shot 2020-03-23 at 3.52.54 PM have organized some resources from Council of School Science Supervisors (CSSS) to support families with science learning while practicing social distancing at home. Some of these could be great for use in school districts as reminders of best practices and others contain ready-made resources that are available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

The Sample Learning Menu is a particular favorite.

Click HERE to get to these thoughtfully designed resources.

Science in the City by Bryan A. Brown

science in the city coverScience in the City: Culturally Relevant STEM Education by Bryan A. Brown of Stanford University is a true gift to the science education community. I’ve been using a YouTube video of Dr. Brown discussing science, language and identity for several years in workshops and with my pre-service science teachers (see embedded video below). Dr. Brown has taken the ideas in the short video and built them into an engaging, readable and important book.

Science in the City is an easy read largely due to Dr. Brown’s writing style and his use of story to couch the ideas that he’s presenting to us- he’s also modeling for us what he wants us to do with students! The stories are everyday events that illustrate language, identity, and race. One of my favorites is from early in the book when Dr. Brown reminds us of a post-game interview that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston gave on TV in 2014 following a victory in the national championship game.  After the interview Mr. Winston’s interview was met on social media with a barrage of criticism including a tweet saying, “Am I listening to English?” This criticism was countered by tweets from Lebron James and Reggie Bush praising Mr. Winston’s leadership, interview skill, and talk. Dr. Brown puts this in front of us to make the point that schools tend to value “academic English” and that many folks working in educational systems have a bias for (and against) certain types of talk. We are often missing out on the brilliance of students of color based on these biases.

If you have done any work on student discourse in science this book will resonate with you and likely push you to think deeper about how to interrogate educational systems for more culturally relevant language practices in science classrooms.

Here is a quote from the book that illustrates what Science in the City is all about:

If there is a single message that serves as the foundation for this book it is the idea that there is no cultural distance between students of color and a successful science education.

The final chapter of the book does a clear and concise job of presenting a small but powerful set of instructional practices to implement in science classrooms:

  • Disaggregate Instruction
  • Generative Formative Assessment
  • Culturally Based Cognitive Apprenticeship Instruction
  • Technology as a Cultural Mediator

I highly recommend adding Science in the City to your set of science education resources. I’d also love to hear from anyone else who has been digging into this book.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Puget Sound Region Only: High School Climate Science Workshop Series

My colleague, Tom Hathorn, and I are facilitating a workshop series on Climate Science for High School Science Teachers in the Puget Sound Region of Washington State. The series starts October 23rd and we still have a few seats left- so register soon at the link below if you’re interested in joining us.

Who: HS Science teachers in King & Pierce Counties

Where: Sumner School District Office (1202 Wood Ave, Sumner, WA 98390)

When: Face to Face- Oct. 23, Jan. 15, Mar. 24 (8am-3pm)

When: Online- Nov. 20, Dec. 11, Feb. 12, Mar. 4 (4-5:30pm)

What you get: Learning, collaboration, sub coverage, STEM clock hours, Stipend pay for after-school online meetings

Overview:

  • Inspire all students to participate in understanding and challenging climate science problems, especially mitigating environmental injustice where they live.
  • Use student voice tools as inputs for shaping climate science learning and developing student leadership.
  • Join a regional group of high school teachers who are knowledgeable about using the NGSS innovations to integrate Climate Science (ESS2 & ESS3) with other sciences.
  • Develop Climate Science curriculum objects (learning/assessment tasks, lesson activities, activity sequences) to use in HS science courses.
  • Participate in a public Climate Forum, sharing student and teacher projects.

Registration: pdenroller.org/psesd/Catalog/Event/97616

Click HERE for the flyer with more information