Bilingual Latino Students Learn Science for Fun While Developing Language and Cognition: Biophilia at a La Clase Mágica Site


  • Maria G. Arreguin-Anderson University of Texas at San Antonio


La Clase Mágica, project-based learning, science, informal learning, language, after school program, partnership, parents, pre-service teachers, elementary students, university faculty


In this article, the author suggests that children’s natural inclination to explore nature, or biophilia, can be explored as a factor that encourages both cognitive engagement and language development.  The author summarizes the types of scientific inquiries that bilingual elementary students and their university partners engaged in when guided to design their own projects at a predominantly Mexican-American school.  Children inquiries took place at a La Clase Mágica site, an after school program in which university undergraduates, faculty, bilingual children, and the community come together with the purpose of learning and exploring technology through interdisciplinary methodologies.  The findings indicate that children overwhelmingly chose living organisms and life-like processes as the focus of their inquiries.  The author presents the work of an exemplary dyad to illustrate how children engaged in scientific inquiry while developing language and complex thinking.