College of Arts and Sciences


Service Learning
Science Education, Service-Learning Biology 320/720

Undergraduate and Graduate students in Biology have the opportunity to take a unique course on science education that includes a weekly service commitment at Samuel Gompers Elementary School located next to SJU’s campus.
Service Learning

The Service-Learning Program is housed in the Faith-Justice Institute. Rooted in the Jesuit ideals, especially solidarity with those most in need and partnership with others, service learning challenges students to examine systemic issues of social justice through academic inquiry, direct experience and written and oral reflection. Both the placement site (the 4th grade classroom) and seminar are viewed as equal partners in the learning process.

This course will cover topics including: service-learning, age-appropriate curriculum in the sciences, and discussion and reflection on diversity and the special needs of urban children. Students will then modify a six (6) week hands-on science unit designed for elementary-age children. Students will teach the designed unit to a class of 4th grade urban Philadelphia children.


Students will integrate their service-learning experiences and biology academic coursework through modifying and enhancing a hands-on science curriculum.

Students will reflect on their service experiences through classroom discussions and weekly journal writing assignments.

Students will engage in relationship-based service learning on a weekly basis by implementing a hands-on science curriculum at Gompers Elementary.

Students will explore concepts of systemic injustice as it pertains to science education in urban, low-income schools through analysis of their service learning experiences.

For more information contact Dr. Karen Snetselaar at or 610-660-1826.