the norms and codes of the “culture of power” so that students who are not members of that culture obtain the necessary skills to negotiate the culture when they choose to do so. A similar effort needs to be made to make these norms and codes explicit for learning science in informal environments.
Finally, more detailed studies of native world views and understandings of nature have implications for designed environments. For example, the common Western view that nature is something external, something to be preserved, and something that is at its best when humans are visitors, not residents (e.g., national parks), may lead to depictions of ecosystems that do not include human beings, even though people are likely to play a dominant role in the viability of these same ecosystems. American Indians, who see themselves as a part of nature, may be puzzled by this omission (Bang, Medin, and Atran, 2007).
In summary, students from nondominant cultures, such as American Indians, must engage in border crossings from their everyday culture to the subculture of science when participating in science. To develop more effective science education in informal environments for nondominant cultures, epistemological and sociocultural issues must be recognized and taken into account. For example, the differing world views of the natural world in American Indian cultures are often not valued and can make engaging and participating in science especially difficult and confusing.
Variation in cognitive, physical, and sensory abilities is another aspect of diversity to be considered and mediated in informal environments for science learning. Among school-age children, some 6.7 million are categorized as disabled under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) (National Center for Education Statistics, 2006). Among adults ages 25-64, about 24.4 million are categorized as disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act, about 16.1 million of whom are categorized as having a severe disability (Steinmetz, 2006). According to the 2002 census, the rates of disabilities are higher among older people than younger people. For example, 8.4 percent of children under age 15 were categorized as disabled, 11 percent of people ages 25-44, 19.4 percent of people ages 45-54, and 72 percent of people over the age of 80. People with disabilities make up a sizable population (about 18 percent of the U.S. population), and they can be well served by science learning experiences in informal environments.
There are many constraints on access to science for people with disabilities, including navigation of physical spaces and access to and processing of language. Constraints on access are often multiple and act in concert, resulting in limitations on opportunity to learn science for those who experience a disability. For example, people with hearing impairment may feel cut off from science across multiple settings that are typically available to others. While