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Teaching Science to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Elementary Students, 1st edition

  • Amy Cox-Petersen
  • Leah R Melber
  • Terri R Patchen

Published by Pearson (May 27th 2011) - Copyright © 2012

1st edition


Teaching Science to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Elementary Students helps 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.


In America’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 science to 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’ experiences, how to integrate science and literacy and how to use alternative methods to assess students’ understanding of science.


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.


Emphasizes family connections and teaching science to and through students’ experiences–connects science activities and content to students’ lives at home and includes a chapter on fostering family connections and family connections icons throughout the book.


Offers examples of science and literacy connections–models how teachers can integrate science and literacy to enhance students’ understanding of science.


Includes case studies with reflection questions in each chapter–provides examples of culturally relevant science teaching in the K-8 classroom for teachers to analyze and discuss.


Offers step-by-step descriptions of four science instructional models, including Concept Attainment, Concept Formation, Group Investigation and 5 Es Model.


Devotes a complete chapter to alternative assessment with diverse learners–provides a variety of examples and assessment methods to help teachers gauge students’ understanding of science.


Presents book study questions–helps teachers discuss the book professionally and apply the information to their current science activities.

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

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