Meeting Fifteen (17th July): Literacy in Science

The title is not a typo; we will not be discussing scientific literacy, a theme we have discussed several times (but if you want more, I strongly recommend Alice Bell’s refreshing suggestion that this one isn’t just for teachers to worry about.)

Rather than an academic paper, these two articles discuss the effective use of literacy skills in science classrooms. Based on research and experience with young American students in the equivalent of Key Stage 2 and early Key Stage 3, the authors emphasize the need for much greater deliberate teaching of scientific vocabulary. Between the two short articles, suggestions are made for teaching both content knowledge and the ways in which we justify our knowledge, highly relevant for scientific method work.

Ross, D., Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2009). The art of argumentation. Science and Children, 47(3), 28-31. Download .pdf

Grant, M., Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2009). Science literacy is > strategies. Clearing House, 82(4), 183-186. Download .pdf

  1. These papers are focused on younger students. How do the ideas apply to the age groups you teach?
  2. Do you already provide writing frames or templates to promote discussion of scientific methods and the use of reasoned argument? If not, how would you adapt the examples given for distribution to students or as displays in your lab?
  3. Do you use any specific texts or sources when providing wider reading opportunities to students? How do they respond to this? How do you assess their progress?
  4. Do we take too much for granted in terms of students’ literacy development? How can this be addressed at a classroom, department and school level?

Tuesday 17th July at 7.30, to be moderated by @teachingofsci.

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