, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 61-79

Improving achievement for linguistically and culturally diverse learners through an inquiry-based earth systems curriculum

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This report describes an inquiry-based Earth systems curriculum and strategies for teaching diverse students, which were embedded in the curriculum. The curriculum was implemented with 5th-grade students with varied linguistic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds in five schools in a large, southeastern U.S., urban school district. At the end of the school year, all schools showed statistically significant improvement on two assessments: (1) an Earth systems unit test and (2) a sample of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) items. Students’ perspectives regarding the cognitive and affective domains of the curriculum are discussed as are implications of the findings and recommendations for future research.

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, and National Institutes of Health (Grant No. REC-0089231). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position, policy, or endorsement of the funding agencies.