Document Type



Doctor of Education


Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Jacquelyn A. Lewis-Harris, Ph. D.


Granger, Charles

Cordova, Ralph

Shariff, Adam


This study examined issues related to the development of science literacy skills for urban youth, which affected school performance and achievement in science. Examined were historical and societal educational issues, identity and perception of place in society, perceived individual cultural advantages, self-efficacy, and future career interests in science. Strategies used to addrress these issues included culturally responsive approaches using hip-hop art forms, as an infusion into the urban middle school classroom. Middle school teachers and youth in large Midwest urban districts were surveyed to discover their attitudes about science education and to determine the students' level of science literacy. A performance arts-based approach was then established to connect science investigations to science literacy, and to build a foundation for science literacy skills. Students and their teachers were then trained to create spoken-word science poetry, intertwined with science inquiry explorations, to develop culminating hip-hop science performances. An assessment of this performance arts approach to learning science revealed that eighty-six percent of the students thought that they had learned science better through science poetry developed into a poetry song. Seventy-one percent of the students felt that drama, or acting out science concepts, helped them to have a better understanding of concepts. In addition forty-three percent of the students gave advice to the researcher in regards to making science education approachable through the training they had received.

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