In the following section, we provide multiple examples, options, and variations of activities and instructional strategies that are aligned with the Relevance MDP in order to be as comprehensive and specific as possible. However, this does not mean that teachers must use all of these strategies to enact the Relevance MDP, nor that these strategies are the only way to do so. We encourage teachers to use their professional discretion to select what will work best for them and their classrooms, and to modify and innovate on these strategies.
Because the five MDPs are synergistic, some activities found in this MDP overlap or align strongly with activities found in other MDP sections. This alignment is conveyed through color-coded dots in the activity-specific page (“Learn More”).
- Recognize the many different types of science careers, including careers that aren’t all Ph.D. oriented
- Write about how [X] relates to your life (outside the classroom). You don’t need to summarize the material, just describe how it could relate or be used in your everyday life
- Choose a topic from class [might want to list them for students to choose from] that is personally useful and meaningful to you and describe how learning about this topic is useful to your life right now. Then, with the same topic or choosing a different one, describe how learning about this topic will be beneficial to you in the future (e.g., education, career, daily life)
- Design assignments that encourage students to draw on aspects of their culture, neighborhood, or family values as connected to the current phenomenon, etc. Resources like a Self-Documentation worksheet can help students make connections between what they are learning in science class and their everyday lives
- Incorporate student-based interests and styles into handouts, discussion boards, materials, examples, etc. Celebrating Cultural Diversity from NSTA Press includes some ideas and considerations for teachers looking to incorporate more inclusive science teaching materials
- In Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, Zaretta Hammond provides some ideas about classroom design that integrates students’ cultural values and community history into the physical space of the classroom
- Videos often capture students’ interest; be sure to make science connections clear so that the video is not just a “hook” or reward
- Relate the use of technological skills to the work that contemporary scientists and engineers do (e.g., the need to log data and share results through digital platforms)
- The software and technology itself can also be used as an example of STEM-related work that students can pursue