Practice Brief 67 -- Topics: Background Equity Instruction Culture

Focusing Science and Engineering Learning on Justice-Centered Phenomena across PK-12

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Why It Matters To You
  • Teachers should help students engage in projects that address intersecting systems of oppression (e.g., racism, heteropatriarchy, poverty, settler colonialism, ableism, Islamophobia, etc.)
  • District Staff & PD Providers should help educators develop phenomena-based justice units and learn to facilitate complex interdisciplinary conversations.
  • School Leaders can help teachers connect with justice-centered organizations (e.g., to organize class visits, fieldwork, student presentations)—in addition to supporting justice within the school walls.

What is the Issue?

In the Framework vision for science education, students engage in active investigations to make sense of natural phenomena and analyze and build solutions to problems. Basing these investigations on justice-centered phenomena can be a powerful and rightful way to support science and engineering learning. Justice-centered investigations can open up important opportunities for students to engage in projects that support equity for communities and to see how the application of science and engineering are fundamentally entwined with political and ethical questions, dimensions, and decisions.



Reflection Questions

  • Does your curriculum highlight how science has helped create many social inequities over time and how various scientific knowledges and practices can promote justice? How can it?
  • Why might you shy away from using justice-centered science phenomena in your instruction? Whose interests are being served by not relating science instruction to specific forms of justice?

Things to Consider

Attending to Equity

Recommended Actions You Can Take


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