Adapting Existing Curriculum for Equitable Learning Experiences

Despite the increased availability of curricular resources intended to support teachers to engage in equitable instruction as expected by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States 2013), teachers are still left wondering how to use those generic resources in local classroom contexts that have unique challenges. There is growing consensus among researchers that promoting equity requires teachers to adapt the existing curriculum, tailoring it to the needs of their students in a local context, instead of simply using a generic curriculum “as is” (Kang et al. 2016; Penuel et al. 2007). In this article, we—a team of science teachers and a university researcher—present the processes of adapting existing curricular resources to promote equitable learning experiences for diverse learners. Using a middle school ecology unit as an example, we illustrate what the modification process looks like in two key elements of designing NGSS-aligned science instruction: (a) making phenomena matter with the consideration of student identities and (b) leveraging students’ diverse ideas and questions to drive instruction.

Tsai, N., Kang, H., Chang, J., & Cassese, K. (2022). Adapting existing curriculum for equitable learning experiences. Science Scope, 45(5).