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Culturally Relevant Science Learning

Science and Children—January/February 2024

By ,

Creating learning opportunities for students to culturally connect in the science classroom is crucial to ensuring inclusivity and accessibility for all. This article describes how multicultural picture books that use visuals to capture diverse representations and contribute to interdisciplinary storytelling can enhance culturally relevant science tasks. By incorporating such texts in the science classroom, students can be empowered with tools to recognize and respect scientific contributions from non-dominant groups and use asset-based language to challenge discourse-perpetuating stereotypes and deficit perspectives. Suggestions are made for how to purposefully select supportive texts, and two sample multicultural picture books are examined in the context of facilitating cultural connections to Earth and Space Science (ESS) content, respectively Earth and Human Activity (ESS3) and Earth’s Systems (ESS2). Science educators are encouraged to use the sampled multicultural picture books and other provided recommendations to help students envision science as a culturally-embedded activity, thereby providing opportunities for students to make sense of the world around them and see themselves as scientists.

Inclusion Literacy Multicultural Teaching Strategies Preschool Early Childhood Elementary

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