Angela Calabrese Barton

Angela Calabrese Barton
University of Michigan | U-M · Educational Studies

PhD

About

150
Publications
40,827
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Introduction
Opportunity gaps remain in STEM for underrepresented youth. My research connects this persistent large-scale problem with the experiences and opportunities of youth. I focus on the R&D of learning environments in terms of a) learning (knowledge/practices of science) and b) identity. I approach this work from: a) multi-sited longitudinal ethnographic studies of learning, b) youth participatory design-based research in school/community, and c) teacher practice. Key projects include *justice-centered making/makerspaces - including their design, programs, pedagogies and culture. *engineering for sustainable communities in middle grades classrooms, including the design of teaching and learning terms, justice- and equity-centered approaches to teaching *teaching & teacher ed
Additional affiliations
September 2019 - present
University of Michigan
Position
  • Professor
July 2006 - present
Michigan State University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
August 2001 - July 2006
Columbia University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (150)
Article
Full-text available
Supporting more equitable participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) remains a key, persistent educational challenge. This paper employs a sociological Bourdieusian lens to explore how equitable youth outcomes might be supported through informal science learning (ISL). Drawing on multimodal, ethnographic data from fou...
Article
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Despite the promise of Informal Science Learning settings (ISLs) in supporting youth science engagement in ways that value their experiences and communities, in practice, such opportunities are limited. While some ISLs promote more culturally relevant approaches to science engagement, many still reflect White supremacist and patriarchal worldviews...
Article
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In this article, it is argued that processes of co‐production can support teachers and students in organizing resources for justice through science learning. Drawing upon a critical justice conceptual framework, critical ethnographic data from one urban middle school classroom during a unit focused on engineering for sustainable communities were an...
Article
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This study investigates how youth from two cities in the United States engage in critical data practices as they learn about and take action in their lives and communities in relation to COVID-19 and its intersections with justice-related concerns. Guided by theories of critical data literacies and data justice, a historicized and future-oriented p...
Article
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Addressing ways in which systemic injustices manifest in learning environments has been a significant challenge to the field of informal science learning ( ISL ). The dominant discourses of equity are framed around calls for inclusion and the extension of rights for quality learning opportunities for all youth. In this paper, we move beyond inclusi...
Article
We report on how one community builds capacity for disrupting injustice and supporting each other during the COVID-19 crisis. We engaged long-term community partners (parents, their youth, and local community center leaders) in on-going conversation on their experiences with the pandemic. We learned with and from community partners about how and wh...
Article
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Many professionals in the field of science communication have argued that our work too often tends to be designed for people like ourselves—those already interested in, comfortable with, and engaged with science. Thus, our work, ostensibly intended to broaden who engages with STEM, may in fact be exacerbating rather than reducing disparities with r...
Article
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Current discourses of equity in teaching and learning are framed around calls for inclusion, grounded in the extension of a set of static rights for high-quality learning opportunities for all students. This essay presents a rightful presence framework to guide the study of teaching and learning in justice-oriented ways. This framework highlights t...
Article
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Background: This paper explores traditional iterations of, and new challenges to, the tightly linked discourses of entrepreneurship and innovation within the maker movement. Methods: In a yearlong critical ethnographic study with 12 youth makers, we investigated how youth engaged with and redefined entrepreneurialism through their identity work as...
Article
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In this article we present a study of a youth, Fall, tracing her STEM engagement from grade 5 through high school, across STEM spaces both formal and informal, utilizing critical, longitudinal ethnography. Drawing from social practice and critical justice theories, we present how Fall’s STEM history-in-person collided with the history-in-institutio...
Article
Background/Context Minoritized youth from historically marginalized backgrounds continue to face systemic inequities in STEM. Existing strategies aimed at increasing diversity in STEM, which are guided by the STEM “pipeline” metaphor and are deficit-oriented, have yielded lackluster results. Purpose/Objective/Research Questions/Focus of Study This...
Article
Promoting critical science agency (CSA) may be one way to promote educational justice. CSA is using science with other powerful forms of knowledge to address issues of injustice. However, the process of enacting CSA is always embedded within a sociopolitical context, which positions some students with more power than others. Drawing upon a social p...
Article
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Justice-oriented teaching must address how classroom-based disciplinary learning is shaped by interactions among local practice and systems of privilege and oppression. Our work advances current scholarship on high-leverage practices [HLPs] by emphasizing the need for teaching practices that restructure power relations in classrooms and their inter...
Article
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Science for all has been touted as the primary path to equity in science education in the USA. We argue that without attention to the power imbalances that both create and sustain dominant views of science education; such an approach is not equity-oriented but rather science colonizing. In this manuscript, we draw upon critical views of justice to...
Article
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Opportunities to learn in consequential ways are shaped by the historicized injustices students encounter in relation to participation in STEM and schooling. In this article, it is argued that the construct of rightful presence, and the cocon-structed "making present" practices that give rise to moments of rightful presence, is 1 way to consider ho...
Conference Paper
Drawing upon critical justice studies and critical ethnographies in two community-centered makerspaces, we build an argument for how designing for expanded iterations that repeatedly draw from community cultural wealth, supported youth-makers and communities in co-creating an expansive, locally-grounded maker culture. Two related-foci are unpacked:...
Article
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This study is focused on engineering for sustainable communities (EfSC) in three middle school classrooms. Three in‐depth case studies are presented that explore how two related EfSC epistemic toolsets—(a) community engineering and ethnography tools for defining problems, and (b) integrating perspectives in design specification and optimization thr...
Article
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In this manuscript, we use the construct of critical epistemologies of place to frame our exploration of how to support engineering design among youth who have historically been marginalized from the domain, and its implications for educational settings. We present an in‐depth longitudinal case study of one 12‐year‐old African American boy to raise...
Article
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This study explores ways to support girls of color in forming their senses of selves in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) during the middle school years. Guided by social practice theory, we analyzed a large data set of survey responses (n = 1,821) collected at five middle schools in low‐income communities across four states in the...
Article
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Scholarly calls to reform science education for all students emphasize scientific sense-making. Despite the importance of sense-making, few strategies exist to help novice teachers learn to notice and respond equitably to students’ scientific sense-making in elementary science. In this article, we report on a qualitative case study in which we inve...
Article
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The maker movement has evoked interest for its role in breaking down barriers to STEM learning. However, few empirical studies document how youth are supported over time in STEM-rich making projects or their outcomes. This longitudinal critical ethnographic study traces the development of 41 youth maker projects in two community-centered making pro...
Article
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This brief essay offers an introduction to a special symposium on equity in STEM-rich making. The introduction provides context that frames current equity issues in the Maker Movement, as well as short descriptions of the four articles included in the symposium. Collectively the papers in this symposium examine how complex power dynamics shape yout...
Article
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We investigated how community ethnography as a pedagogy approach to STEM-rich making supported youth makers from two low-income urban communities engaged in sustained STEM-rich making towards making a difference in their communities. Data is drawn from two-year long ethnographic data across two community-based, youth making programs. We highlight t...
Conference Paper
We investigated the ways in which youth makers from two low-income urban communities engaged in sustained STEM-rich, making towards making a difference in their communities. Drawing upon a mobilities of learning framework and four years of ethnographic data across two making spaces, we found that as youth engaged with community across their making...
Conference Paper
Making and makerspaces have largely proliferated as an out-of-school, informal activity that mostly self-selects interested participants. To take up equity concerns seriously, we need to consider the ways in which classroom teaching is both an historicized and relational activity, and how classroom STEM teaching and learning, under which making is...
Article
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This study explores the efforts of two girls to use STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) knowledge and practice to empower themselves and their peers amid threats of sexual violence against them. Drawing on the feminist construct of intersectionality and social practice theory, we examine how these girls called on intersecting k...
Article
Large gaps in achievement and interest in science and engineering (STEM) persist for youth growing up in poverty, and in particular for African American and Latino youth. Within the informal education community, the recently evolving “maker movement” has sparked interest for its potential role in breaking down longstanding barriers to learning and...
Conference Paper
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In this paper we investigated the role youth participatory ethnography played as a pedagogical approach to supporting youth in making. To do so, we examined in-depth cases of youth makers from traditionally marginalized communities in two makerspace clubs in two different mid-sized US cities over the course of three years. Drawing from mobilities o...
Conference Paper
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In this manuscript, we examine the stories of youth makers from non-dominant communities, and argue that through their making practice they are involved not only in "artifact making" (the prototypically viewed outcome of makerspace work), but also in space-making within and across the worlds of STEM, makerspaces, and community. Such space-making fo...
Chapter
In this reflection, I discuss how each of the chapters in this section challenges the reader to grapple more deeply with the historical context in which teaching and professional development take place, and use the emerging narrative to challenge some of the fundamental assumptions we hold about what teachers might learn and do in order to be “good...
Chapter
Janis, a 13-year-old African-American, is speaking about her participation in a community-based program focused on investigating energy issues in her community. She refers to herself as a Community Science Expert [CSE] because of what she knows about science and her community. To Janis and her peers, CSEs are “committed,” “ready to learn,” “willing...
Article
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In this special issue, the structure–agency dialectic is used to shift the analytic frame in science education from focusing on youth as in need of remediation to rethinking new arrangements, tools, and forms of assistance and participation in support of youth learning science. This shift from “fixing” the individual to re-mediating and transformin...
Article
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Socioscientific issues in connection to energy production, use or influence on climate change continue to be at the forefront of local, national, and global debates. The pressing nature of these issues requires citizens not only to understand relevant disciplinary knowledge but also to have the ability to use that knowledge to take action. This pap...
Article
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The underrepresentation of non‐White students and girls in STEM fields is an ongoing problem that is well documented. In K‐12 science education, girls, and especially non‐White girls, often do not identify with science regardless of test scores. In this study, we examine the narrated and embodied identities‐in‐practice of non‐White, middle school g...
Article
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The underrepresentation of girls from nondominant backgrounds in the sciences and engineering continues despite recent gains in achievement. This longitudinal ethnographic study traces the identity work that girls from nondominant backgrounds do as they engage in science-related activities across school, club, and home during the middle school year...
Article
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Teachers are increasingly faced with questions of how to teach the students in diverse classrooms in ways that are responsive to their experiences outside of the classroom. This paper presents a case study of how one 6th-grade teacher in a midwestern city enacts the Choice, Control, and Change (C3) curriculum, a curriculum based on the concept of d...
Article
The discourse of urban science education is often framed by discussions of achievement gaps and limited resources. Although these realities are part of the urban education landscape, they focus on deficits—what urban youth and their teachers and schools lack. We argue that it is more productive to frame urban science education as a function of plac...
Chapter
In this chapter we take up the questions: (1) How do youth work to transform their science learning as participation through the dialectical, hybrid practices as they engage in community-based participatory research projects in a youth-based afterschool program called Green Energy Technologies in the City (GET City)?; and (2) How do youth expand th...
Chapter
In this chapter, we unpack frameworks of respect and its implications for teaching and learning science in urban settings. By troubling traditional notions of respect focused on absolute power and authority, we construct a framework for understanding respect in classrooms. We put forth the idea of a “practice of respect,” or actions individuals tak...
Article
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There is a growing consensus that simply learning enough science to decipher public debates on socioscientific issues will not make citizens better equipped to handle the complex and ill-structured problems these controversial issues present. This study highlights the interaction and complex interplay between youth authored and appropriated frames...
Article
An urgent goal for science teacher educators is to prepare teachers to teach science in meaningful ways to youth from nondominant backgrounds. This preparation is challenging, for it asks teachers to critically examine how their pedagogical practices might adaptively respond to students and to science. It asks, essentially, for new teachers to beco...
Article
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In this manuscript, we use a “learning to notice” framework to suggest that preservice elementary teachers bring a range of interpretations and responses to their students’ funds of knowledge and science teaching and learning. By examining data from three sections of an elementary methods course, we find that preservice teachers recognized students...
Article
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Citizen science is fundamentally about participation within and for communities. Attempts to merge citizen science with schooling must call not only for a democratization of schooling and science but also for the democratization of the ways in which science is taken up by, with, and for citizen participants. Using this stance, along with critical s...
Chapter
Kay’s face lit up when she realized that urban heat islands (UHI) were not actual bodies of land surrounded by water somewhere in the middle of a city. When she grasped the notion of “island” as a metaphor, she understood why she had never actually “seen” one, despite having lived all her life and having received all her schooling in urban settings...
Chapter
Kathy and Shawna, authors of the rap above, were two of several youth at an urban community club who were involved in a summer program focused on investigating the “farm to table systems” in the US. Both 11-year-old girls were adamant on engaging in this environmental issue in relation with their real lives, particularly in relation with the food t...
Chapter
“Although the largest 100 urban school districts represent less than one-tenth of 1% of the 16,850 public school districts in the United States, these districts serve nearly one-quarter (23%) of all public school students in the country. These same 100 districts also educate approximately 40% of all nonwhite students and 30% of students from low in...
Chapter
In this chapter, we present the experiences of two of Jhumki Basu’s students and their work in her high school physics classroom to offer a more expansive lens for the outcomes of science education. This chapter specifically takes on the construct of “critical physics literacy” to argue that the learning outcomes of democratic and empowering scienc...
Book
Democratic science pedagogy has the potential to shape learning outcomes and science engagement by taking on directly issues of pedagogy, learning, and social justice. In this text we provide a framework for democratic science teaching in order to interrogate the purposes and goals of science education in classrooms globally, as well as to call att...
Article
The rapid increase of obesity and diabetes risk beginning in youth, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, calls for prevention efforts. To examine the impact of a curriculum intervention, Choice, Control & Change, on the adoption of the energy balance-related behaviors of decreasing sweetened drinks, packaged snacks, fast food, and lei...
Article
Two summers ago the group of second grade girls I taught in science camp seemed to come from a large number of different backgrounds- Korean daughters of graduate students; white middle class children with parents who were musicians and who went river rafting in Colorado on vacations; white working-class girls of fundamentalist religious background...
Article
This study, informed by phenomenology and ethnography, explores urban children’s relationship with their urban environment: In what ways do urban children exhibit “insideness” in their sense of place? This study proposes “insideness” as a conceptual construct to understand urban children’s sense of place in its ecological and dynamic nature. Employ...
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Drawing upon critically oriented studies of science literacy and environmental justice, we posit a framework for activism in science education. To make our case, we share a set of narratives on how the River City Youth Club acquired a new green roof. Using these narratives we argue that the ways in which youth describe their accomplishments with re...
Article
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This article investigates the development of agency in science among low-income urban youth aged 10 to 14 as they participated in a voluntary year-round program on green energy technologies conducted at a local community club in a midwestern city. Focusing on how youth engaged a summer unit on understanding and modeling the relationship between ene...
Article
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This article presents a model for democratic pedagogy in science classrooms that is based on an examination of existing literature on democratic educational practices and on teacher and student ideas about how this pedagogy can take shape and be operationalized in science classrooms. A goal of democratic science pedagogy is to explore ways of teach...
Article
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Recent criticisms of the goal of “science for all” with regard to minority students have alluded to the onerous culture of school science characterized by white, middle-class values that eschew personal everyday science experiences and nontraditional funds of knowledge, in addition to alienating science instruction. Using critically-oriented, socio...
Conference Paper
In this paper, we examine teacher learning about teacher-parent engagement in mathematics and science education. Using data from three different schools participating in TE-PAC (Teacher-Parent Collaborative Communities), we find evidence of teacher learning in the stories teachers tell about the meanings of - and possibilities for - teacher-parent...
Chapter
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The students in Mr. Nader’s environmental statistics class were involved in the “pigeon project.” The pigeon project, inspired by Cornell University’s Pigeon Watch Project was a 3-week investigation focused on two goals: To support students in learning to recognize the different color morphs of pigeons and pigeon behaviors; and to use this informat...
Conference Paper
Green Energy Technologies in the City (GET City) is a year round program for youth focused on the science and engineering of energy sustainability using advanced information technologies. The program provides youth opportunities to develop scientific research skills and conceptual understanding related to energy technologies, production and sustain...
Article
In this rejoinder to Bryan Brown and John Reveles, we highlight the facts that (a) sociocultural theories of learning do not go far enough because they fail to address a number of issues and (b) we require concepts such as power and positionality to understand science learning.
Article
Dr. Sreyashi Jhumki Basu was a scholar committed to equity and social justice in science education who passed away in December 2008. In this essay, I describe Jhumki’s research and the call to action her life’s work has laid out for the science education community. In particular, I draw attention to the role of critical science agency in learning a...
Article
The purpose of this paper is to present the rationale and principles that guided the design and development of PARENTS, a multimedia case‐based environment. Following a development research approach, the tenets of constructivist learning, and the advantages of case‐based instruction, we developed a multimedia program in which we utilized and incorp...
Article
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The findings reported on in this manuscript emerged from a design experiment conducted at a low-income urban middle school intended to support the teacher in incorporating pedagogical practices supportive of students' everyday knowledge and practices during a 6th grade unit on food and nutrition from the LiFE curriculum. In studying the impact of t...
Article
Identity formation is a critical dimension of how and why students engage in science to varying degrees. In this paper, we use the lens of identity formation, and in particular identities in practice, to make sense of how and why Melanie, over the course of sixth grade, transformed from a marginalized member of the science class with a failing grad...
Article
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In this manuscript we examine how two students develop and express agency in and through high school physics. We tell the stories of two youth from a low-income, urban community to elucidate the important components of critical science agency in a physics context, and to situate a set of claims about how youth develop and express this concept. This...