Esmonde, I. (2009). Mathematics learning in groups: Analyzing equity in two cooperative activity structures. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 18(2), 247–284.
This article discusses the design and conditions of high school mathematics activities that aim to distribute opportunities to learn to all students. Of particular interest to ISE educators is the analysis of how some ostensibly equitable group activities may shut down equal participation. Also of interest is the theoretical discussion of the relationship between opportunities to productively participate in mathematical activities and the development of positive mathematical learning identities.
Van Eijck, M. & Roth, W.-M. (2009). Authentic science experiences as a vehicle to change students’ orientations toward science and scientific career choices: Learning from the path followed by Brad. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 4, 611–638.
This study aims to answer two questions important to informal science learning: What is “authentic”? And, why do we want students to have authentic science learning experiences? Using ethnographic methods, the authors developed a case study over the course of one year of an Aboriginal student, Brad, who participated in a scientific internship program that included both nature conservation and laboratory work. This study analyzes how Brad’s cultural identity interacted, influenced, and hybridized with the scientific and other practices he participated in during his internship. The paper will be of interest to ISE educators exploring how program experiences interact with identity to encourage expanded participation in STEM.
Emdin, C. (2011). Dimensions of communication in urban science education interactions and transactions. Science Education, 95(1), 1–20.
This study is relevant to educators seeking to expand science practices and discourse in their programs for youth. The author finds that a lack of understanding of everyday communication patterns of African-American students leads many science teachers to shut down students just as they are beginning to express interest and active involvement in the science classroom. The result may be orderly looking classrooms, but the youth have in fact “checked out” and are merely following procedures. This paper presents a framework for analyzing various levels of authentic involvement in the science classroom, and is an important resource for ISE educators seeking to engage urban youth in structured science education programs.
Malone, K. R., & Barabino, G. (2009). Narrations of race in STEM research settings: Identity formation and its discontents. Science Education, 93(3), 485–510.
This study investigates specific challenges that students of color have in developing a personal identity related to science. The researchers examined how experiences in graduate school programs shaped the emergent identities of African-American women students in science and engineering. The study sheds light on the barriers cultural minority students might face in their pursuit of science in school and in careers, and suggests that educators might help to prepare students for these experiences.
Archer, L., DeWitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B., Wong, B. (2010). “Doing” science versus “being” a scientist: Examining 10/11-year-old schoolchildren’s construction of science through the lens of identity. Science Education, 94(4), 617–639.
Research shows that between ages 10 and 14, children’s interest in science declines sharply. This study investigates 10- and 11-year-old children’s attitudes toward science and relates it to identity, finding that children show a preference for either school (“safe”) science or what they see as grown-up (“dangerous”) science.
Zeyer, A., & Wolf, S. (2010). Is there a relationship between brain type, sex and motivation to learn science? International Journal of Science Education, 32(16), 2217–2233.
This study is based upon a body of work that characterizes individuals as primarily empathizers, systemizers, or an equal balance of both. Systemizing describes the ability to understand the world in terms of a system, whereas empathizing is the ability to identify and perceive the mental states of others. In this study, the authors examined whether gender played a role in determining motivation for science learning or whether personality attributes (also known as “brain type”) – that is, whether more a systemizer or an empathizer – were more significant.
Denner, J., Bean, S., & Martinez, J. (2009). The Girl Game Company: Engaging Latina girls in information technology. Afterschool Matters, 8, 26–35.
Although digital technology has become ubiquitous in our time, not everyone is afforded the same opportunities to pursue the fields of engineering, computer science, and advanced technology. This paper examines how an afterschool and summer program for middle school girls considered the roles of gender, culture, and youth development to increase the participation of Latinas in IT careers.
Barton, A. C., & Tan, E. (2010). 'It changed our lives': Activism, science, and greening the community. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 10(3), 207–222.
In this article, researchers report on the ways that middle school students positioned themselves as agents of change in their community by using the results of their research into local scientific phenomena and advocating for environmental reforms. This article might be of interest to ISE educators who are exploring how their programs can support the emergence of positive science learning identities in their youth participants.
DeGennaro, D., & Brown, T. L. (2009). Youth voices: Connections between history, enacted culture and identity in a digital divide initiative. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 4(1), 13–39.
The paper describes how middle school students appropriated and transformed a particular learning experience in an afterschool literacy program in Philadelphia. The learning experience was designed to ensure that urban African-American, middle school girls had access to technology and learned how to use it to create a web page that showcased future career aspirations. The program’s director enlisted the help of male, Caucasian high school students from the suburbs of Philadelphia to facilitate the technology learning experience for the middle school youth (both girls and boys were in the program). The researchers identified a wide range of ways that cultural assumptions were made and projected upon the urban middle school students, and how these middle school students resisted and transformed the program into one where they could explore and communicate their identities within their communities. This paper can draw ISE educators’ attention to the existing resources and strengths that teens from nondominant communities bring to learning experiences.
Wong, B. (2012). Identifying with science: A case study of two 13-year-old “high achieving working class” British Asian girls. International Journal of Science Education, 34(1), 43–65.
This paper presents a case study of two currently high-achieving 13-year-old British Asian schoolgirls: One appears keen to pursue advanced science learning, whilst the other seems more likely to reject such a path. Wong’s discussion offers insight into how young people develop an identity with science—or not. His analysis adds to the literature on why students rapidly lose interest in science on reaching adolescence and secondary school.