Teaching Science to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Elementary Students

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-05-27
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Teaching Science to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Elementary Studentshelps K-8 teachers implement culturally relevant instructional strategies to ensure that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class, can do science, like science, and become scientists if they choose. #xA0; In America#x19;s increasingly diverse classrooms, science is not always presented in a way that is meaningful to all students. With this in mind, this book outlines 8 culturally relevant strategies for teaching scienceto help ensure all students have access to inquiry-based, interactive, and experiential science learning. Written to encourage inclusive practices, the book shows how to teach science using students#x19; experiences, how to integrate science and literacy and how to use alternative methods to assess students#x19; understanding of science. #xA0; Includes 8 culturally relevant strategies for teaching science to all students-outlines inclusive practices that ensure all students have access to inquiry-based, interactive, and experiential science learning. #xA0; Shows how to teach science to and through students#x19; experiences-connects science activities and content to students#x19; lives at home and includes a chapter on fostering family connections. #xA0; Offers examples of science and literacy connections-models how teachers can integrate science and literacy to enhance students#x19; understanding of science. #xA0; Includes case studies with reflection questions in each chapter-provides examples of culturally relevant science teaching in the K-8 classroom. #xA0; Offers step-by-step descriptions of four science instructional models-discusses Concept Attainment, Concept Formation, Group Investigation and 5 Es Model. #xA0; Devotes a complete chapter to alternative assessment with diverse learners-provides a variety of examples and assessment methods to help teachers gauge students#x19; understanding of science. #xA0; Presents book study questions-helps teachers discuss the book professionally and apply the information to their current science activities.

Author Biography

Amy Cox-Petersen, Ph.D. has over 25 years of experience within multiple educational settings. She holds a BS in Early Childhood Education and a MA in Elementary Education from East Carolina University and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a Science Education Specialization from the University of Southern California. She has presented internationally and nationally on topics related to science teacher education and learning science outside the formal classroom. Her research focuses on culturally relevant science teaching and learning in classrooms, field sites, museums, and service-learning settings. She is the author of “Educational Partnerships: Connecting Schools, Families, and the Community” (Sage, 2010). She taught in urban, suburban, and rural schools as an elementary and middle school teacher. She joined the faculty at California State University, Fullerton in 1998 and is currently a professor in the Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education.


Leah M. Melber, Ph.D. has 20 years experience within informal and formal science education. She holds a BA in Zoology, an MA in education together with a multiple subject teaching credential for the state of California, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Southern California. She has presented internationally on inquiry-based instruction and effective methods of connecting with cultural institutions such as museums. In addition to numerous journal articles she has written on this topic, she recently authored the book “Informal Learning and Field Trips”. She was awarded the 2001 Informal Educator Award through the California Science Teachers Association and the 2010 Promising Leadership Award from the Association of Midwest Museums. She was recently accepted as a candidate on the Fulbright Specialist Roster in the focus area of education. She is a former third grade teacher and university professor in science education. She also served as the Science Education Specialist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in addition to serving as a consultant in the area of informal education for museums around the nation. She joined the staff of Lincoln Park Zoo in December of 2008 where she is currently the Director of Student and Teacher Programs.


Terri Patchen, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education at California State University, Fullerton. A credentialed bilingual teacher, she taught kindergarten in a lower-income, Spanish speaking classroom for close to ten years before getting graduate degrees in Urban Planning and Latin American Studies, and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has published in journals as diverse as Multicultural Education and Science Education and regularly presents at education conferences.  She is a lifelong advocate for the benefits of working with English learners.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Culturally Relevant Science Instruction

Teaching Science with Access for all Students

Eight Explicit Strategies to Encourage Cultural Relevant Science Instruction

Challenges for Students from Non-English Language Backgrounds

Case Study 1.1: Snapshot of Ahna’s Culturally Relevant Classroom


Chapter 2: Culturally Relevant Inquiry and Action

Scientific Methods and Processes

Inquiry Process Skills

Teacher as Facilitator

Effective Use of Questioning

Allowing Students to be Experts

Integrating Inquiry across the Curriculum

Extending the Walls of the Classroom

Building Fluency outside the Classroom

Case Study 2.1: Expect the Unexpected


Chapter 3:  Literacy Development through Science

Importance of Authentic Connections

Language Arts and the Work of Scientists

Reviewing Information Sources

Sharing Discoveries

Extending the Experience

Case Study 3.1: Sixth Grade Service Learning Project


Chapter 4: Teaching Strategies that Promote Science Access for All Students

Learner Differences

Integrating Cognitive Views of Learning

Inquiry Models

Making Models of Teaching more Culturally Relevant

Case Study 4.1: Teachers and Students participating in a Group Investigation science activity


Chapter 5:  Assessment, Evaluation, and Culturally and Linguistically-Diverse Students

Multidimensional assessment procedures

Different Assessment Methods




Assessing Attitudes, Values, and Beliefs

Assessing Portfolios, Products, and Performances

Case Study 5.1: Mrs. Weirath’s Garden


Chapter 6: Family Connections

Creating new collaborative frameworks for culturally relevant practice with families and communities

Joyce Epstein’s (2001) Six Types of Involvement for Families and Schools

Building Home-School Partnerships

Connecting Science with Students’ Community

Working Together

Case Study 6.1: Family Science Night


Chapter 7: Keeping Current and Assessing Resources

Eight Explicit Culturally-Relevant Strategies Revisited

Assessing Resources

Planning and Preparation

Integration of Technology

Funding Resources

Grants Available to Schools and Teachers

Case Study 7.1: Mrs. Rey and Hands-On Science


Final Comments

Rewards Program

Reviews for Teaching Science to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Elementary Students (9780137146239)