Writing to Support Science & Literacy

Over the last few years, the preK-8 Science program has begun updating the Science curriculum to incorporate the use of science notebooks, inquiry, and hands-on activities. As we develop new/revised units, we are also integrating with other areas of the curriculum and focusing on the use of higher order thinking skills (21st Century skills).

For example, we are continuing to work on supporting Science with literacy. By providing students with opportunities to read, write and talk about Science, learning will be more engaging and meaningful. In addition, we will be meeting Science and ELA standards at the same time.

This year, we’re focusing on writing in Science, specifically opinion (argument) writing. This involves writing arguments that include claims based on evidence—a key part of the Science standards as well as the ELA Common Core/Massachusetts ELA Framework.

This strategy involves stating a claim, providing evidence to support the claim, and then creating a concluding statement. Students will be gathering evidence collected in their science notebooks, books and other reliable sources to create argument writing pieces that focus on Science big ideas identified in the curriculum.

For instance, after an outdoor study of different types of seeds and how they are transported, a 4th grade student may use their Science notebook observations and drawings to write a claim:

I think that different types of seeds have adapted to increase plant survival. My evidence is that I observed how maple seeds spin like helicopters, keeping them in the air so they can be carried by the wind. In addition, I saw how dandelion seeds are like parachutes and can be transported by the wind. I also observed how burdock burrs can attach to things like animal fur and be carried to other places. This is why I think that seeds have adapted to increase their chance of survival in their environment.”

We’re really looking forward to implementing argument writing across the grade levels and pursuing more Science/ELA connections in the future. 

 

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