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Calls for the improvement of science education in the USA continue unabated, with particular concern for the quality of learning opportunities for students from historically nondominant communities. Despite many and varied efforts, the field continues to struggle to create robust, meaningful forms of science education. We argue that ‘settled expectations’ in schooling function to (a) restrict the content and form of science valued and communicated through science education and (b) locate students, particularly those from nondominant communities, in untenable epistemological positions that work against engagement in meaningful science learning. In this article we examine two episodes with the intention of reimagining the relationship between science learning, classroom teaching, and emerging understandings of grounding concepts in scientific fields – a process we call desettling. Building from the examples, we draw out some key ways in which desettling and reimagining core relations between nature and culture can shift possibilities in learning and development, particularly for nondominant students.
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