Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 270–283 | Cite as

Modern Scientific Literacy: A Case Study of Multiliteracies and Scientific Practices in a Fifth Grade Classroom

  • Elizabeth Allison
  • M. Jenice Goldston


This study investigates the convergence of multiliteracies and scientific practices in a fifth grade classroom. As students’ lives become increasingly multimodal, diverse, and globalized, the traditional notions of literacy must be revisited (New London Group 1996). With the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States 2013a) in many states, either in their entirety or in adapted forms, it becomes useful to explore the interconnectedness multiliteracies and scientific practices and the resulting implications for scientific literacy. The case study included a fifth grade classroom, including the students and teacher. In order to create a rich description of the cases involved, data were collected and triangulated through teacher interviews, student interviews and focus groups, and classroom observations. Findings reveal that as science activities were enriched with multiliteracies and scientific practices, students were engaged in developing skills and knowledge central to being scientifically literate. Furthermore, this study establishes that characteristics of scientific literacy, by its intent and purpose, are a form of multiliteracies in elementary classrooms. Therefore, the teaching and learning of science and its practices for scientific literacy are in turn reinforcing the development of broader multiliteracies.


Multiliteracies Scientific literacy Scientific practices Elementary science education 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South AlabamaMobileUSA
  2. 2.University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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