Let’s Change Science Education
November 2, 2023
When I walk into our biology classrooms, they are not the same classrooms that they were two years ago…–Alejandro Lopez, Assistant Principal, Compton High School
If you had walked into Precious Nwazota’s high school science classroom three years ago, you would have seen her students working quietly and independently on their assignments. There was no talking whatsoever. Students focused best in silence.
At least that’s what Precious and many of her fellow teachers in Compton Unified School District were led to believe. Then she was introduced to BSCS Biology: Understanding for Life. And then she met Cindy Gay, who supports her and others in implementing our new high school biology program through a series of BSCS professional learning institutes.
Today, Precious’s classroom is quite loud. Her students are motivated to solve a big societal problem together. They are engaged in group work. They are sharing their questions and ideas with the rest of the class. And they are making plans to improve the world for themselves, their families, and their communities–using the science they’ve figured out along the way.
Precious is all in on this shift to a student-centered classroom. Especially when students like Lani confidently step into the spotlight.
Lani is the only student in class who speaks Spanish exclusively. She is also one of several students who didn’t receive science education in middle school. So Precious isn’t exactly surprised to see the look of defeat on her face at the start of Unit 1. Lani likely expects to sit through each lesson, struggling to understand on multiple levels.
But BSCS Biology promises to create space for all students–especially students from underrepresented communities. That’s why the program focuses on equity and inclusion. That’s why the program integrates supports for emerging multilingual learners and below-grade-level readers. And that’s why students like Lani are not left behind.
Lani partners with a bilingual student and uses language translation tools. She quickly becomes engaged in figuring out the science needed to solve the big societal problem. And she begins to trust the knowledge and experiences she can bring to group discussions.
Only a few lessons into Unit 1, Lani is standing at the front of the class, sharing her ideas in Spanish. She’s confident. She’s participating. And she is learning science and some English.
Students like Lani are the reason Precious has become one of the biggest advocates for BSCS Biology. Yes, the program is challenging. But it is dramatically changing her classroom, and she isn’t looking back.
With the help of friends like you, we can impact science classrooms all over the country. Will you make a donation to bring the best in science education where it’s needed most today?
Daniel C. Edelson
BSCS Executive Director