Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Middle School Journal 34:1 (Sep 2002), pp. 48-53. Used with permission from National Middle School Association.


Authenticity, choice, conceptual understanding, and motivation all play a role in engaging middle level learners. This article shows how these criteria apply to designing lessons for girls.

Listening to young adolescent girls has greatly altered my ideas of what it means to teach at the middle level. Using the ideas and attitudes that these girls bring with them to the science classroom, I now select what happens in that classroom. Others are encouraged to use this rubric to select activities as they attempt to engage the adolescent girls in the middle level curriculum. No longer looking upon girls to see what they were lacking, I now look upon them to see what they have. I believe this new understanding has cre­ated an atmosphere that further supports the educa­tion of adolescent girls. I encourage other teachers to “listen” to the adolescent girls and learn from them.