Toward a Lived Science Curriculum in Intersecting Figured Worlds: An Exploration of Individual Meanings in Science Education


Correspondence to: Jeremy F. Price; E-mail:


As knowledge of and familiarity with science becomes an increasingly important aspect of contemporary life and citizenship, efforts have been made to make the science curriculum a “lived” curriculum (Hurd, 2000), one that reaches out to the lives, communities, and experiences of students. In this research around a high school urban ecology curriculum, we advance the idea that a focus on meaning, as the keystone for identity development, can help reach the goal of a lived science curriculum. Drawing upon social practice theory (Holland & Lave, 2001, 2009) and figured worlds (Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, & Cain, 1998; Urietta, 2007), we present a way to conceptualize the meanings which emerge. We find through interviews with the adult participants (two curriculum developers and a classroom teacher) and students that meaning is described using three layers: meaning in person, meaning in intent, and meaning in practice. There are points of continuity and discontinuity of these meanings attributed to the curriculum by the adult participants. We further present data through the analysis of classroom video and artifacts created by students during an activity designed to elicit the meanings that students attribute to the curriculum. We discuss these findings and the possibilities for curriculum to provide opportunities for intersecting figured worlds which provide a focus on meaning and opportunities for agency in and with science. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 50: 501–529, 2013.