“That Makes Sense Now!": Bicultural Middle School Students’ Learning in a Culturally Relevant Science Classroom


  • Deoksoon Kim Boston College
  • So Lim Kim Boston College
  • Mike Barnett Boston College




culturally relevant science, bicultural students, invention-based learning (IBL), culturally responsive teaching


This study describes how culturally relevant pedagogy in a project-based science class improved student engagement and comprehension. We focus on bicultural students exploring cultural objects and household inventions with family members, connecting scientific concepts to their families’ funds of knowledge. We use a multiple-case study design to explore six middle school bicultural students’ experiences with culturally relevant activities. Findings describe bidirectional knowledge transfer between the home and the classroom in a way that engaged students, affirmed their home cultures, and facilitated subject matter learning.


Author Biography

Deoksoon Kim, Boston College

Deoksoon Kim is an associate professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. Her research has focused on understanding the needs of immigrant students so that educators can more effectively help them learn English and succeed in school. She has worked on second language reading and literacy, in particular, exploring how immigrant children learn to read and write English. She has also worked on how to incorporate instructional technology to facilitate language learning and teacher education. She has published in Journal of Second Language Writing, Computers and Education, Language Learning Journal, TESOL Journal, IALLT Journal, English Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Reading Education, Journal of Educational Computing Research, Multilingual Education, other TESOL publications, research anthologies sponsored by AERA, and others. In 2016 she won the Best Article Award from the Journal of Second Language Writing for her work on how English language learners develop literacy. 




How to Cite

Kim, D., Kim, S. L., & Barnett, M. (2021). “That Makes Sense Now!": Bicultural Middle School Students’ Learning in a Culturally Relevant Science Classroom. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 23(2), 145–172. https://doi.org/10.18251/ijme.v23i2.2595



Articles (Peer-reviewed)