Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Ximena Suarez-Sousa


Science is a subject that lends itself well to an inquiry-based approach to teaching instead of memorizing facts and ideas. However, there are still teachers who are not utilizing student-centered methods that allow students to practice science as they learn the concepts. While many students can still pass their courses, unique populations of underrepresented students struggle to engage with the material as it is presented. In this study, the researcher utilized a social justice approach to teaching science to her classes in a juvenile detention facility to measure their engagement levels. She did this by allowing the students to engage in scientific activities that were meaningful to them in order to refine their conceptual knowledge of science and practice real-world skills while learning science in order to increase their self-reported levels of engagement with the material. The study showed that student engagement levels increased by 20% during the study and students reported an ability to utilize skills that will be an asset to them in their family and community settings through a deeper understanding of the science content.

Included in

Education Commons



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