By Gianna Colson
Reading and writing play an important role in all aspects of our lives. In the science class, I always make it a point to remind the students about the link between math and science. I tell them not to forget that “there is math in science,” since they want to separate it in their mind even though we measure, calculate averages, build graphs, etc. on a regular basis throughout the first two six weeks and less often throughout the rest of the year. Reading and writing play an active role in science, whether out students realize it or not.
During my first year teaching, my school district bought into C-Scope and wanted it used exclusively. The Science C-Scope curriculum uses the 5E model with hands-on activities at each stage with students answering questions as they went along. When I passed out the weekly quizzes the science department made, one would think that the students didn’t gain anything out of the hands-on activities. The students were able to verbalize and discuss what happened, why, and how they came to that conclusion but where thrown off by the format. I began to freak out and discussed it with the reading teacher in my triad. She explained that I needed to expose the students to more reading. So I did just that and it worked. I now keep an eye out for different ways to incorporate reading into my curriculum.
Now a days, I start off and end the week with either a book or a video. I’m always looking for something that might interest my students. At the checkout lane in HEB, I found a TIME magazine series that dealt with science. The student’s favorite is about the top natural wonders of the world, which has some really wonderful pictures and easy explanations as to the reason for their existence. I also find things through Scholastic Books and at book fairs. My students have even begun to point out books to me and bring me articles from the newspaper. When a student shows an interest in a particular area, I make sure to go out of my way to find a book to meet his/her needs.
I now go to the children science center at Barnes and Nobles and look for fun and interesting books, which is where I found the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science Series. The class has begun to make foldables and do experiments from the books we read. Recently, the department purchased Delta Science Readers to further encourage science literacy. Since the Delta Science Readers can be a bit technical, I have my students read and discuss them in pairs. (Both the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science Series and the Delta Science Readers are AR testable and can count as both earn them points and count as a grade.)
The students’ science journal is now more interactive as well. It’s full of experimental illustrations and observations, foldables, games, songs, and cheers that are made as a class, group, or in pairs. My students really enjoy researching and presenting their findings and acting as an expert in their field. This coming year, I plan on having them research and present on various scientists throughout the year as they relate to the topic of the day. Each six weeks, the presentations will take on a different format. The first six weeks will be a poster that will go up in the hallways, followed by PowerPoint presentations, student-made documentary, play acting with themselves as the scientist,
etc. incorporating various web 2.0 tools along the way. My students will read, write, and produce a creative end product about significant female scientists’ contributions and other minorities who have had to overcome adversity in one form or another.
I look forward to finding other ways to expand science literacy.