Equitable Chemistry Education for Language Learners: An Exploration of Light and Matter

Sarah Wallace, ESL, Hopewell High

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


This CU is built for English Learner (EL) students. The unit will be modeled after pre-existing PACE units with a large emphasis on scaffolds and language development for Newcomers (students who have been in the United States for one year or less and are at beginning levels of English). The unit will begin with foundational scientific vocabulary terms in English. The words will be chosen by considering which vocabulary is integral for a basic understanding of chemistry and photoluminescence. At several points during the unit students will engage in simple hands-on experiments in order to benefit kinesthetic learners and maintain focus and interest in the curriculum. These experiments will have a speaking and listening linguistic focus. Additionally, grammar instruction and practice will be embedded into the unit through practical applications. Finally, the unit will include resources that can be utilized by Chemistry I teachers. There are frequent requests from content teachers for methods and materials to help EL students understand their content and to succeed in their classes. This unit will provide scaffolds that can be utilized by these content teachers who may not have training or experience with EL students.