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Provide opportunities for learning science that students find personally meaningful, interesting, and/or culturally relevant

Relevance NGSS P8S2

Using community text-based news sources (newspaper or internet articles) related to the phenomenon or design problem, students could construct ways to communicate this information through diagrams, graphics, or other visuals.

Resource Information

Relevance Principles

The strategy above is aligned to the principles in bold.

Make connections to students' previous experiences, interests, goals, and real lives
  • Design assignments that allow students to pursue their existing interests, progress toward their goals, and/or make their own connections between the science content and their experiences
  • Explicitly discuss with students the purpose, importance, and scientific authenticity of activities/skills and how new concepts connect with phenomena, design problems, and previously learned concepts
  • Discuss why phenomena are valuable and relevant to the real world (and more specifically to the local community) and invite students’ perspectives on these connections
  • Consider whether all students can relate to relevance connections provided in the curriculum. Use strategies from equitable teaching frameworks (e.g., culturally responsive pedagogy) to learn about students’ personal interests/values/home cultures and communities and to encourage students to generate their own examples and connections to ensure personal relevance
  • Think about topics that could inspire wonder in students, and include demonstrations, videos, photos, and whole-class activities that invite student wonderings
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for the content, as students often feed off of the teacher’s excitement or interest
  • Sustain student interest beyond the initial “hook” by building on student curiosity to generate questions, and by connecting introductory activities to the ongoing development of students’ science understanding and practices. Avoid using rewards as the “hook”; instead, focus on curiosity, authentic applications, and personally meaningful connections
Incorporate current events and issues related to science into students' learning
  • Keep up with new developments in science by reading magazine or news articles and watching educational films
  • Visit museums, nature preserves, open houses, or talks at local institutions related to content you teach
  • Relate science topics to contemporary culture (e.g., pop culture) that students are familiar with
  • Follow local news and current events within the school district to look for opportunities to connect science to issues in the students’ home communities