This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Integrating Culturally Relevant Science Lessons and Activities into a Venture Classroom for Third-Fifth Grade Students




Thomas, Misty

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



The purpose of this study was to provide insight on elementary students’ interest and engagement in science and their perceptions of scientists in early grades by integrating culturally relevant lessons and activities into a curriculum. The study consisted of Draw-A-Scientist Tests (DASTs), classroom interest surveys, and observation instruments to measure students’ perceptions, interest, and engagement after participating in culturally relevant lessons and activities. The DAST and interest surveys were disseminated to third-fifth grade students in an elementary school in the southeastern part of United States. The culturally relevant activities and lessons used in this study were also implemented in hopes of building on the knowledge and cultural assets students brought with them into the venture classroom and creating science learning experiences that were inclusive for all students. Statistical analysis included the scoring of DAST drawings using a DAST checklist (DAST-C), repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVAs), and observation instruments on pre/post DAST drawings, pre/post surveys, and classroom engagement. The ANOVAs were used to determine if grade level, gender, or ethnicity significantly influenced student perceptions and engagement. There was a significant time factor for student responses between pre- and post-tests for students’ perceptions and interests. Findings also revealed that students showed increased engagement during the hands-on inquiry based culturally relevant activities and lessons. Overall, there was an increase in students’ interest and engagement in science learning experiences as well as improvement in students’ perceptions of science and scientists overtime.