Author ORCID Identifier

Lilly 0000-0002-5930-7889

McAlister 0000-0002-4155-251X

Chiu 0000-0001-7663-5748


Despite emphasis on authentic science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science (STEM+CS) projects in classrooms, research continues to demonstrate opportunity gaps in learning STEM+CS for students with disabilities. This study investigates how teachers verbally support students in two differently tracked classrooms to engage in engineering lessons that integrate science and computer science. Specifically, this study explores how the same elementary teachers both implicitly and explicitly support students across two classroom contexts, one class section with a larger proportion of students who were tracked into accelerated mathematics and another class section with a larger proportion of students with individualized educational plans (IEPs). Transcripts of whole-class discussion were analyzed for interdisciplinary instructional moves in which teachers verbally supported the integration of disciplines to help students to engage in interdisciplinary activities. Findings reveal that all of the interdisciplinary instructional moves were implicit for the class section with a large proportion of students in advanced mathematics while most were explicit for the class section with students with IEPs, and that most of the interdisciplinary instructional moves were added by the teachers rather than planned in the curriculum materials. Most commonly, teachers added interdisciplinary instructional moves between computer science and engineering. Implications of this study include recommendations for support that teachers need to engage in the important, but challenging, work of integrating science and computer science practices through engineering lessons within elementary science classrooms. This study adds to a growing understanding of equitable learning opportunities in interdisciplinary learning through engineering for elementary students.



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