Science, Engineering & Society

Growing MVHS and SMATE Partnership

How do we create equitable pathways and inclusive experiences in High School science classes for all students?

The Program

Building on Western’s long-standing partnership with Mount Vernon School District, SMATE faculty and teacher candidates are collaborating with the Mount Vernon High School (MVHS) science teacher team to design, implement and evaluate a rigorous and equitable science curriculum. This curriculum seeks to challenge all students to develop evidence-based explanations of complex phenomena while focusing on authentic local issues that connect people and communities. The new curriculum is called Science, Engineering, and Society. It is being piloted as a two-semester 9th grade course that is designed not only to introduce students to foundational content in the fields of Earth and Space Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology, but also demonstrate how these scientific areas connect to our local and global communities.

The Practice

Students simultaneously construct explanations of complex phenomena as they connect scientific ideas and field experiences while engineering solutions to real-world problems. As they learn important Next Generation Science Standards, students discuss relevant themes of identity, power, oppression, resistance and liberation adopting a reflective and action oriented stance. Field trips and rich community partnerships will enhance the classroom learning and its relevance to students’ lives in this course.

Themes of the Curriculum

  • Identity - how do we identify ourselves as members of the scientific community?
  • Power and Oppression - how is the manipulation of scientific resources, knowledge, and applications used as a tool for oppression?
  • History of Resistance and Liberation - how are scientific resources, knowledge and applications used as a tool for liberation? 
  • Reflection and Action - How can student-led action, inspired by scientific knowledge and values, solve today’s real-world problems?