Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

Committee Member

Alison E Leonard, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Cassie Quigley

Committee Member

Susan Cridland-Hughes

Committee Member

Mikel Cole


Equitable science instruction has been interpreted as instruction that recognizes, values and integrates students' culture and identity within science learning spaces. This is especially important for students who belong to non-dominant communities who have been marginalized by the practices of school and science. By prioritizing students' cultural practices and experiences, students who are often marginalized in science classrooms are brought to the forefront. Instruction that prioritizes students' lived experiences are student-centered and therefore equitable because they engage students in science learning that is meaningful and relevant to them and their communities. Despite this need of student-centered science instruction, it is not widespread in science classrooms across the nation.

Another stakeholder in equitable science instruction and an important aspect in achieving the goals of equity are teachers of color because of their shared experiences with students from non-dominant communities and their often expressed intent to teach in culturally-meaningful ways. Teachers of color offer different perspectives and insight due to their own varied experiences and practices and hence are a valuable and essential voice in designing equitable science instruction. A review of literature shows the lack of the voices and perspectives of teachers, especially teachers of color, in the design and adoption of such student-centered science instruction.

The purpose of my study was to understand the process of a teacher of color as he designed chemistry lessons and transformed his instruction to be more equitable. I utilized social design methodology, a design-based approach, to collaboratively design and enact student-centered equitable instruction. I analyzed the teacher's process to understand his learning and adoption of equitable practices. The outcomes of the study were an instructional model to guide the design of science instruction, description of two sample lessons designed using the model and a description of resources utilized to support the teacher in the design and enactment of these lessons.

The findings indicate that in order to teach science in ways that are student- centered we must build authentic relationships, pursue motives that are relevant and valuable to the student, expand learning outcomes, share cultural and historical aspects of science and reach out to a community of support. The implications for science instruction and teacher preparation are to embrace contradictions as opportunities of learning, engage in critical reflection, consider emotions and well-being as essential aspects of learning and most importantly, challenge deficit notions of students and dominant notions of school and science.



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