Practice Brief 10 -- Topics: Equity Background Culture

Teaching STEM In Ways that Respect and Build Upon Indigenous Peoples' Rights

  • Email Feedback

Why It Matters To You
  • Teachers should understand and leverage Indigenous students' ways of knowing and values.
  • District staff and PD providers should build relationships with Indigenous communities they serve and offer professional development on Indigenous STEM.
  • School leaders should learn to recognize what it looks like for Indigenous students to learn Western and Indigenous STEM and how to ensure a dual approach is adopted at system- and classroom-levels.

What Is The Issue?

Indigenous ways of knowing are sometimes thought to be in opposition to and detrimental to the learning of Western Science or STEM. Consequently, indigenous ways of knowing are rarely engaged to support learning. If STEM learning is to be meaningful and transformative for Indigenous youth, respecting Indigenous peoples rights and related critical issues, including Indigenous STEM, settler-colonialism, and decolonization, must be understood and explicitly addressed in Indigenous youths' informal and formal STEM learning experiences.



Reflection Questions

  • Do you teach Indigenous youth? How can you find out?
  • Some students and communities are wary of schools because they are places that historically and presently reflect racism. What are the implications for you?
  • Do you take up issues of settler-colonialism and decolonization in your instruction? Do you center and reinforce Indigenous youth’s ways of knowing? If not, how do you think you can?

Things to Consider

Attending to Equity

Recommended Actions You Can Take


  • Email Feedback

STEM Teaching Tools content copyright 2014-22 UW Institute for Science + Math Education. All rights reserved.
This site is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Award #1920249 (previously through Awards #1238253 and #1854059). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.

Work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. Others may adapt with attribution. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.