Action Research 16
the school or district. The majority of students arrived to school via the Metro transit system. I also arrived to school everyday with my students via the metro. The years in which this study was conducted were my fourth and fifth years of teaching science to secondary students, my second and third year at California Academy for Liberal Studies High School, and my first and second years of a masters degree in secondary education program at California State University at Northridge.
The classroom setting was a semi-science lab. The space was large with plenty of room to house each of the four classes, which averaged 24 students per class section. The school resides in the financial district of downtown on the third and fourth floors of an office building. The attendance of the school at the time of study was 300-320 students. The communities the students resided in varied from Northeast Los Angeles (Eagle Rock) to South LA (Compton) geographically and from fairly affluent (Mount Washington) to low-income (Cypress Park) economically.
My materials used in my research included the Oceanography curriculum I developed with fellow charter school employee Brigid Morales. Excerpts from texts included Introductory Oceanography, An Introduction to the World’s Oceans, Geology: Earth, the Environment, and Modern Earth Science. The field locations for Oceanography students included Malibu Lagoon, Malibu Creek State Park, Pt Dume, and Zuma Beach. The website includes all curriculum materials, documents, and lesson plans and can be found online at: . Topics of study for the class were based on the California State Standards. Questions investigated for best practices fieldwork were student generated and teacher approved.