Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 361-380

First online:

What does playing cards have to do with science? A resource-rich view of African American young men

  • Alfred R. SchademanAffiliated withDepartment of Education, California State University Email author 

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The study examines the resources related to science that African American young men learn and develop by playing a card game called Spades, a common cultural practice in African American communities that dates back to the Civil War Era. The qualitative study examines what the Spades players at a local high school consider when making decisions about what cards to play. A significant finding is that the players use, learn and develop resources such as the ability to make observations, draw inferences, and use empirical data to inform future actions and decisions. Such reasoning bears a resemblance to central practices of science and challenges long held deficit views of African American young men. Implications of the research findings are discussed.


Science education African American young men Card playing Cultural practice Spades