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Keywords:

  • empowerment;
  • curriculum development;
  • inquiry;
  • pedagogy;
  • socioscientific issues

Abstract

This article describes the experiences of seventh-grade students living in high poverty areas of New York City who participated in the Choice, Control and Change (C3) science curriculum. Data were collected from eight case study students in the form of individual interviews, classroom observations, and student artifacts. Analysis of these data revealed that students were able to extend their C3 science understandings beyond the classroom door by developing and expressing science agency in the following ways: (1) critically analyze the conditions of their food environment, (2) purposefully make healthier choices, and (3) expand the food and activity options available to themselves and others. Through participation in the C3 curriculum, and the science content and practices addressed therein, students began to view their worlds with a more critical mindset and to devise ways to transform themselves and the conditions of their own and others' lives. Based on the findings, we propose taking a closer look at how we might create meaningful and relevant learning opportunities for students through connecting school science with issues of personal and social significance in students' lives outside of school. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 49: 244–269, 2012