The impact of Indigenous Knowledge in science education on urban Aboriginal students’ engagement and attitudes toward science: A pilot study

Research Start-up Summary and Abstract:

This research will engage science teachers and community Elders and/or knowledge keepers in developing and delivering a science unit respectfully including Indigenous content and pedagogies and will examine the impact of the delivery of this unit on urban Aboriginal students’ engagement and attitudes toward science.

Formal science education has failed to meet the needs of most Indigenous learners. Hence, few Indigenous peoples pursue post-secondary programs or careers in science, grossly diminishing our capacity for economic development and our ability to make informed decisions related to health, resource management, and education—thus limiting opportunities to contribute to the broader socio-economic health of Saskatchewan and Canada. The research will also foster cross-cultural understandings and acknowledge the value of Indigenous knowledge (IK) for scientific endeavors in natural resource management, ecology, and further science-related areas. 
While IK has recently been introduced in curricula across all subjects and grade levels in Saskatchewan; many teachers have little knowledge of how to meet these expectations. In response, Saskatoon Public Schools (SPS) has introduced professional development programing for science teachersengaging them in experiential learning with First Nations and Métis Elders and knowledge keepers. This proposed pilot research project is a logical and necessary next step in supporting these teachers to apply what they have learned with their students.