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Culturally Relevant Science Curriculum Efforts In A Secondary School Uganda

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

ERM Potpourri

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.391.1 - 14.391.11



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Paper Authors

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Alexandre Probst Colorado School of Mines

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Aarthi Krishnaswamy Colorado School of Mines

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Vinita Singh Colorado School of Mines

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Barbara Moskal Colorado School of Mines

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Cyndi Rader Colorado School of Mines

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Culturally-Relevant Science Curriculum: Efforts in a Secondary School, Uganda, Africa

Key Words: Culturally-relevant, simulated, laboratory, learner-centered


This paper describes the design of a simulated science laboratory experiment which has been customized to meet the needs of St. Denis Secondary School in Uganda, Africa. The on-line program was developed by two master level graduate students in computer science attending Colorado School of Mines. Both students were enrolled in an independent study which was designed to support the acquisition of advanced computing and design skills while exploring humanitarian applications in another country. The targeted high school students have had limited laboratory and computer experience. This paper describes the resultant online experiment which adheres to the curriculum while appealing to cultural experiences. The user interface is designed to support a comfortable learning experience while facilitating the acquisition of scientific knowledge and hands-on experience with computers. The methodology employed to develop this software was a hybrid of learner-centered design.

1. Introduction Meaningful science instruction, at any level, needs to be culturally relevant. According to Konnen [5], an - ction helps students to recognize science as a method of answering important questions rather than as an inventory of previously discovered facts. The first step in a scientific experiment is often to formulate a relevant scientific hypothesis and then explore this hypotheis empirically. Aikenhead [2] stresses that science instruction has more practical utility and connectedness when personal and societal issues are considered. As part of instruction, students should learn that science is a method of answering the important questions that impact their lives [5]. Linn and Muilenburg [10] explain that elegant theories are attractive to scientists because they explain a wide set of phenomena with a minimal set of principles but these theories are often too abstract to be effective for students. Students need to be able to see the benefit of applying their science instruction to situations in their lives. An example used by Linn and Muilenburg is that people who have a conceptual understanding of heat flow die in the wilderness every year due to lack of practical knowledge of insulation and conduction.

Substantial work has also been completed in devising new approaches for teaching people about science through technology. For example, White and Frederiksen [1] created an intelligent learning environment in the domain of electrical circuits which transitioned students from naïve conceptions to expert understanding. Rivers and Vockell [11] hypothesized that the practice provided by interacting with computerized simulations would help students acquire scientific

Probst, A., & Krishnaswamy, A., & Singh, V., & Moskal, B., & Rader, C. (2009, June), Culturally Relevant Science Curriculum Efforts In A Secondary School Uganda Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5521

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