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.
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.
Maulucci, M. (2010). Resisting the marginalization of science in an urban school: Coactivating social, cultural, material and strategic resources. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(7), 840–860.
Education reform efforts often focus on material supplies and teacher knowledge of science, but this article points out additional constraints that teachers face within their schools and how the teachers from one middle school overcame them. These constraints have implications for what the researcher calls “inertial forces” that may derail social justice efforts. An awareness of these issues can help ISE educators in their efforts to design and lead professional development programs that support teachers.
Xu, J., Coats, L., & Davidson, M. (2012). Promoting student interest in science: The perspectives of exemplary African American teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 49(1), 124–154.
This study investigated what exemplary African American science teachers do to develop interest in science among low-income African American elementary students. The researchers found three interrelated approaches:
1) Having a genuine interest—in science, in teaching, and in students’ lives
2) Scaffolding students’ interest in science
3) Offering multiple standpoints—many ways for students to engage
Berti, A. E., Toneatti, L., & Rosati, V. (2010). Children's conceptions about the origin of species: A study of Italian children's conceptions with and without instruction. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 19(4), 506–538.
This study examines how early elementary school-aged children develop theories of the origin of species. It may interest ISE educators who are developing strategies for engaging their audiences with theories and processes of evolution. The article provides background on the research literature about teaching and learning of evolution. The results of this study suggest that direct instruction or interactions with Darwinian models, even at a young age, can support children's understanding of evolutionary theory, and may be as important as developmental or cultural concerns already documented in the literature.
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.
Tan, E., Calabrese Barton, A., Kang, H., & O’Neill, T. (2013). Desiring a career in STEM-related fields: How middle school girls articulate and negotiate identities-in-practice in science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 50(10), 1143–1179. doi:10.1002/tea.21123
This article examines middle school girls’ participation in school-day science classes and out-of-school time science clubs to understand the girls’ identification with and relationship to science. Looking at the girls’ science experiences across settings, researchers compared how the identities developed from these experiences supported or worked against the girls’ future trajectories in STEM.
Johnson, C. C. (2011). The road to culturally relevant science: Exploring how teachers navigate change in pedagogy. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48(2), 170–198.
This article reports on a case study of two middle school science teachers who took part in professional development designed to help them enact culturally relevant pedagogy in their classrooms. The long-term and community-oriented aspects of the professional development seemed to play a vital role in supporting the teachers’ success.
Evans, E. M., Spiegel, A. N., Gram, W., Frazier, B. N., Tare, M., Thompson, S., et al. (2010). A conceptual guide to natural history museum visitors’ understanding of evolution. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(3), 326–353.
This study is an examination of the patterns of explanation in adult museum visitors about evolution and creationism, and the coherence of their reasoning patterns, including the persistence of intuitive childhood beliefs. The responses of all the visitors were a mix of novice naturalistic (intuitive), informed naturalistic (evolutionary), and creationist reasoning patterns. This paper can be of help to science educators to recognize different patterns of visitors’ reasoning about evolution to support the development of a more informed understanding of natural selection, the micro- and macro- processes of evolution, and the evolutionary ideas of Darwin.
Ainley, M. & Ainley, J. (2011). A cultural perspective on the structure of student interest in science. International Journal of Science Education, 33(1), 51–71.
Based on the data from the international student assessment study PISA, this research examines student interest in science as pointed out by measures of knowledge, affect, and value, and compares findings between four countries with contrasting cultural values. The authors argue that whilst levels of knowledge, value, and affect need to be understood in relation to the students’ cultural context, in general, an individual’s motivation for future participation in science, whatever their nationality, seems to be indicated by their current levels of enjoyment of science.