Kindergarten teacher and students

A three-year, teacher-researcher partnership focused on the implementation of Next Generation Science Standards in an urban kindergarten classroom highlights how a designed learning environment can support the learning of emergent bilingual students.

Michelle Salgado, a University of Washington College of Education doctoral student, partnered with Highline Public Schools teacher Kaia Tomokiyo to implement the physics unit and presented results of the study during the 2018 meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

Salgado noted that learning was reflected more in student participation changes over time than in the changing appearance of their own models and that students' understanding of modeling shifted over the unit from an activity they were tasked to complete into student-initiated modeling work involving spontaneous co-modeling, model revisions and talk not prompted by their teacher.

"Over time, children started to initiate the modeling, they came to the board and they co-modeled with a partner," Salgado said. "It was something they saw as an iterative cycle that is part of the learning experience."

Tomokiyo said that since introducing the unit in her classroom, she and her students have engaged in more two-way conversations about science.

"I see students talking to each other more," Tomokiyo said. "I see students who are excited about science; they go home and talk to their families about science. It's exciting to see students take science out of the classroom and into their home lives."


Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications