Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Gary Reglin

Committee Member

Karen Kimble


equitable science education, place-based learning, scientific inquiry, the theory of reasoned action, field-based excursions, science education


This applied dissertation was designed to examine marginalized Black and Latin American urban upper elementary school students' scientific inquiry knowledge and interest in science after participating in a four-week placed-based community-integrated science learning academy in Texas. Research has shown that low representation of people of color in STEM presents a social justice concern as the economic need for more STEM jobs increases. The present study aimed to aid in filling the academic gap related to the culturally relevant and equitable science curriculum found at the upper elementary school level.

An analysis of the data revealed that students’ participation in a place-based, community-integrated science learning academy positively influenced their interest in science and their knowledge of scientific inquiry. Coding the data revealed three themes, a) demystifying science practices and identities, b) the impact of field-based excursions, and c) unraveling the connection to scientific skills.

The participants had a general interest in science but did assert that participating in this intervention solidified their love for science and provided an overall fun and different way of learning from their normative way. Participants came into the study with misconceptions about scientific identity, and to help students of color see themselves as scientists, the researcher worked hard to curate moments that would allow students to form new ideas about who scientists were and what they did. Additionally, to challenge traditional places of learning, the students participated in the community-integrated aspect of the study which was composed of carefully curated field-based excursions to local places in their community which provided discovery opportunities that went hand in hand with their daily workshops.

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