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Increase Cultural Responsiveness in Science Classes II


To ground concepts in real-life, physical, or tangible examples easing access to learning for all students.


Students will make connections to the content of the science curriculum through representations from their own lives.

Action Steps

Using food:

  • In a unit on nutrition and carbohydrates, have students track their diet and examine nutrition labels or cafeteria menu. Relate work that is done in lab back to students’ lives.
  • Use food, such as gummy bears and marshmallows, to have students build models of molecules. Use twizzlers and gummy bears to build DNA molecules. Require that students demonstrate baseline knowledge before getting to build.
  • Learn about acids and bases by having students mix together common household items.

Using water:

  • In a unit on weather, have students examine their own communities and drainage patterns, flooding on certain streets, etc.
  • In discussing solvents, relate concepts back to examples that students might observe in their homes.
  • Relate study of water or food to future careers in medicine, science, nutrition, etc.

Using money:

  • Use teenagers’ common interest of shopping to spark interest in finance or balancing a checkbook.
  • Incorporate examples of popular video games or playing sports into statistics.
  • For percentages, set examples in buying clothing that is popular with students or other items students are interested in, or which cell phone provider is providing the best deal.


Tanase, M.F. (2022). Culturally Responsive Teaching in Urban Secondary Schools. Education and Urban Society, 54(4), 363-388. Retrieved March 2022 from https://doi.org/10.1177/00131245211026689

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