Using Transformative Boundary Objects to Create Critical Engagement in Science: A Case Study

January 1st, 2013 | RESEARCH

Teachers are increasingly faced with questions of how to teach the students in diverse classrooms in ways that are responsive to their experiences outside of the classroom. This paper presents a case study of how one 6th-grade teacher in a midwestern city enacts the Choice, Control, and Change (C3) curriculum, a curriculum based on the concept of dynamic equilibrium (energy in/energy out) in science-rich and culturally relevant ways. We analyze how she used what we call 'transformative boundary objects' to leverage students' cultural knowledge and experiences of food and activity practices and systems to support the learning community in (a) developing an awareness of and trying on the norms and practices of science and (b) legitimizing the values, discourses, and practices of their everyday lives, the first two tenets of Ladson-Billings (1995a, 1995b) culturally relevant teaching, to transform the traditional discourses and practices of school science. We particularly focus on Ladson-Billings third tenet, (c), the development of critical consciousness, showing how the teacher uses transformative boundary objects to transform science learning into a context where traditional boundaries between students lives and school science are blurred, and a critical consciousness about how the food system works and its connections to their everyday food choices is supported.


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Team Members

Blakely Tsurusaki, Author, University of Washington
Angela Calabrese Barton, Author, Michigan State University
Edna Tan, Author, University of North Carolina
Isobel Contento, Author, Columbia University


Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1002/sce.21037
Identifier Type: issn
Identifier: 0036-8326

Publication: Science Education
Volume: 97
Number: 1
Page(s): 31

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EBSCO Full Text


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs