“Typically when you think of a classroom with ELLs or students with disabilities, they are sitting in the back of the room and not participating. What NGSS highlight is that these students should engage in the practice of doing science,” Lee explained. “For example, have students build a model of the ecosystem. This could illustrate the core idea. They could also explain the cause and effect of how the ecosystem develops in response to different factors. Through engagement, language learning and science learning occur simultaneously.”
Lee, an English language learner herself, asserts that having students develop models, construct explanations, and argue from evidence enables these diverse learners to understand core ideas within science while acquiring technical aspects of language like vocabulary or sentence structure. According to Lee, this is extremely important since the CCSS are moving heavily toward building content knowledge across academic disciplines for all students.