Integrating Energy, Equity, and Place in High School Physics

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Connecting the science of water to students’ communities

In California and other western states, discussions about water availability and access have become increasingly urgent. Connecting science learning inside the classroom to real issues that affect our students and their families is key to help students see science as a tool to work for change in their communities. Place-based education, which is rooted in historic and Indigenous educational practices, strongly supports these goals. This article describes a place-based high school unit about water.

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Energy is a foundational concept of physics and plays an integral role in a web of sociocultural realities, economic issues, and public policies. The Energy and Equity Portal supports high school teachers in teaching a robust model of energy, grounded in the NGSS, and also intentionally constructed to support engagement with current sociopolitical issues.

Using the resources and community provided in the Portal, teachers explore energy learning as a means for promoting discussions of energy justice and energy equity globally and in our local communities. By developing a model of energy in physics that is fully aware of how science is sociocultural, teachers and students create science concepts informed by their cultural worlds and educational priorities. Check out the classroom-ready teaching tools and enjoy a dynamic and compassionate professional learning community!

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