‘But the science we do here matters’: Youth-authored cases of consequential learning

September 1st, 2017 | RESEARCH

In this paper, we use the concept of consequential learning to frame our exploration of what makes learning and doing science matter for youth from nondominant communities, as well as the barriers these youth must confront in working toward consequential ends. Data are derived from multimodal cases authored by four females from nondominant communities that present an account of 'science that matters' from their work during their middle school years. We argue that consequential learning in science for these girls involves engaging science with a commitment to their community. This form of engagement required the girls to develop bridging practices that allowed them to transform existing relationships among science and community for themselves and others despite normative barriers experienced in science. Our study expands upon current understandings of consequential learning through highlighting the vital role of sociohistorically constructed understandings of community in determining when, how, and why science learning and doing matters for youth. This view opens up new ways to understand how youth can and do contribute to the changing contexts in which sciencetakes place, and toward the ways in which youth contributions alter what gets counted as learning, as being expert, and as meaningful participation.


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Team Members

Daniel Birmingham, Author, Colorado State University
Angela Calabrese Barton, Author, Michigan State University
Autumn McDaniel, Author, Michigan State University
Jalah Jones, Author, Michigan State University
Camryn Turner, Author, Michigan State University
Angel Roberts, Author, Michigan State University


Identifier Type: DOI
Identifier: 10.1002/sce.21293
Identifier Type: ISSN
Identifier: 0036-8326

Publication: Science Education
Volume: 101
Number: 5
Page(s): 818-844

Related URLs

Full Text via EBSCO


Access and Inclusion: Black | African American Communities | Ethnic | Racial | Low Socioeconomic Status | Urban | Women and Girls
Audience: Educators | Teachers | Learning Researchers | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Climate | Education and learning science | General STEM | Nature of science
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Afterschool Programs | Public Programs