This study seeks to identify instructional practices which have positive effects on Indonesian students’ scientific literacy, and examine whether those practices mitigate the impacts of family socio-cultural-economic background and improve equity. Drawing upon the 2015 cycle of the Programme for International Student Assessment (pisa), this study applies multilevel regression to nationally representative data from 6,513 students from more than 200 schools. Three instructional practices were examined: interactive teaching, inquiry-based learning, and traditional lecture. Interactive teaching is an approach that encourages students to debate and explain their ideas, in combination with teacher explanations of how concepts relate with and can be applied to daily life. The second approach, inquiry-based learning, refers to the use of activities related to scientific investigations which are enacted independently by students. The third approach, traditional lecture, reflects teacher-centred exposition of content. The study finds little difference in the frequency of implementation of these instructional approaches across the types of schools examined. Consistent with constructivist theories, interactive teaching was found to be associated with higher scientific literacy. In contrast, both inquiry and traditional teaching were associated with lower literacy. None of the three instructional approaches moderated the effect of family socio-cultural-economic background on students’ scientific literacy.