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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Students with disabilities experience inequitable learning opportunities in science classrooms. To create equitable learning environments, science teachers must embed supports within their curriculum units. Teachers rely on their beliefs about the capabilities of their students, their role as science teachers, and the goals of science education to adapt their curriculum units. Curricular changes occur through their pedagogical design capacity (PDC) during lesson planning and enactments, in which their beliefs inform their PDC choices. Yet there is little research regarding science teachers’ beliefs about teaching students with disabilities and how they enact their science curriculum materials in general education science classrooms. This qualitative case study focused on one secondary biology teacher who taught a socio-scientific issues (SSI) based unit in a remedial biology classroom. Teacher beliefs and PDC served as the theoretical and analytical frameworks. Data included classroom observations and stimulated recall interviews. Findings show the teacher’s beliefs about her students’ capabilities, role as their science teacher, and goals for science learning drove her PDC. She scaffolded, adapted, and improvised to support learners, while not changing the rigor of the curriculum unit. This study illustrates a vision of equitable science instruction with implications for bringing this vision to life for students with disabilities in science classrooms.