Science for All: Making science instruction equitable and accessible for English Learners
Wednesday, March 20 5:45 PM-7:00 PM Location: Celebrity Ballroom 1&2
Presider: Monique Woodard, Drexel University, United States
Abstract: Common Core (CC) domains of English language arts (ELA) and mathematics dominate the elementary school day. With limited time in the day, this means that science instruction is often delivered solely through ELA, which requires grade-level reading comprehension and fluency. Though long-identified as a poor means to foster science learning for anyone, for English learners (EL), science conceptual learning is made largely inaccessible by this approach. This lack of access to science learning reduces EL’s development of science literacy and blocks opportunities for these young learners to even consider becoming part of the American science pipeline. Science instruction through ELA is an issue of equity and must be addressed head-on to effect the change necessary to support all learners. The researchers will share a project between an urban elementary school with a majority EL population and university faculty. The goals were to use technologies to strategically make science learning accessible and engaging for 4th and 5th graders at grades K-1 reading levels and to build their science vocabulary and background knowledge to strengthen their ability to access content through reading in their integrated classrooms. We will share successes in teacher training and student learning as well as lessons we learned throughout this process.