Skip to main content

Moving Beyond Equity-as-Access to Expanding What Counts as Science in the Elementary Classroom

Science and Children—January/February 2024

By , ,

Making science accessible is an important and worthy goal, but for many students, science is inaccessible because what counts as science in the classroom is narrowly defined as what is known as western science, rooted in Europe in the 1600s and often privileging white, male-centric perspectives. In this article, we describe five examples of expanding what counts as science to help remove barriers to learning and to make school science more equitable and inclusive. Indigenous ways of knowing can complement western ways of thinking. Black botany provides examples of how Black scientists and farmers have shaped best practices for agriculture and sustainable land management while fighting for economic and food justice. Feminist perspectives on science redefine what counts as objectivity, while queer science challenges what is considered normal. Finally, neurodivergent sensemaking illustrates how people with autism have applied their strengths to provide new insights into how the world works. Expanding what counts as science helps us value multiple ways of sensemaking, see and hear the science in what all children say and do, and recognize the brilliance of all children in our classrooms.

Equity Inclusion Multicultural Sensemaking Teacher Preparation Teaching Strategies Elementary

Asset 2