This article spotlights EDC's new i3 project, Literacy and Academic Success for English Learners through Science, and features comments from EDC Senior Research Scientist Jess Gropen: "The project will focus on about 2,000 children in prekindergarten through first grade whose native language is not English. They will be engaged in hands-on science activities in class, at home and in the community — and, educators hope, having extended conversations about what they're experiencing. 'Language is a critical piece of scientific inquiry,' said Jess Gropen, a senior research scientist for Education Development Center, a Mass.-based nonprofit that was awarded the grant through the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation competition. Learning about science means 'making predictions, describing phenomena, offering explanations,' Gropen said. 'Those conversations can happen in Spanish, they can happen in English, they can happen in any language. Really, what we're trying to do is help kids develop that sort of conceptual knowledge about the world that will feed their understanding. I think that's important...The federal grant 'could not have come at a better time,' schools Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez said. 'The Hartford community has identified educational equity for English Language Learners as a priority.''