Learning Language and Science at Play: Threads of Meaning-Making and Identities
This case study took place in an elementary school renowned for its decades-long efforts to embrace diversity and inclusion.
Jonathan Ferreira and Mr. Sam, a first year teacher, co-designed an interdisciplinary unit of study through which Grade 2/3 children from migrant and refugee backgrounds learned about water and its cycle while playing with dice sets and fortune teller origamis, embodying scientific language and concepts through a theatre-based activity, and visually representing their scientific knowledge in multimodal scrapbooks. The children also inquired about issues in their own communities and created building block models to represent problem-solving ideas.
Our thematic analysis of classroom interactions, interviews with teachers and the children, and the children’s multimodal productions reveals how migrant and refugee background children can draw on their lifeworld experiences and sociocultural backgrounds as assets to authentically make meaning of language and content knowledge and position themselves as creative citizens.
This website showcases a research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Insight Grant no. 435–2017-0338). The study has been reviewed by the UBC Behavioral Research Ethics Board (Certificate no. H17-01074), and the procedures were found to be acceptable on ethical grounds for research involving human subjects.