Practice Brief 59 -- Topics: Equity Instruction Background

Creating science learning experiences that support learners receiving special education services

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Why It Matters To You
  • Educators should design science learning tasks and instruction that value learners’ sense-making repertoires, especially those of learners who receive special education services.
  • District staff should create spaces for special ed and science teachers to leverage each other’s expertise and collaboratively design equitable science learning environments.
  • School leaders & PD Providers should create learning opportunities for science & special ed teachers to explore ways to support diverse learners that go beyond behavior management.

What is the Issue?

The Framework presents three-dimensional science learning as a vision of equitable science education for all learners. In order to achieve this justice-oriented goal, instruction must be designed in ways that enable multiple opportunities and avenues for engaging in deep and meaningful sense-making about the natural and designed worlds, rather than creating cognitive, physical, behavioral, neurological, developmental, and emotional barriers. Equitable science learning environments must include activities that foreground multiple ways of knowing, doing, and expressing understanding.



Things to Think About

  • How does thinking about disability from a social model rather than a medical model shift how you design learning activities and assessments?
  • How can you design learning environments to leverage individual strengths?
  • Who are resources within your communities and networks, such as students and the significant adults in their lives (e.g., parents, guardians), to better serve the needs of all learners?

Things to Consider

Attending to Equity

Recommended Actions You Can Take


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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.