Writing In Science. How to Scaffold Instruction to Support Learning New Teacher Year 2, Mtg 2 October 25, 2010 Becky Warf Smith. Goals for the Day. Learning Targets I can explain the rationale for using science notebooks as an instructional tool
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How to Scaffold Instruction to Support Learning
Year 2, Mtg 2
October 25, 2010
Becky Warf Smith
Throughout this session, we will be referring to Writing in Science. This book covers the session topics in more depth, and can thus serve as a valuable resource for you in the future.
Preview Writing in Science by asking yourself (and answering) the 4 questions on your handout as you skim through the text.
Does it lie
Add more detail
What is the data trying to say?
Give more support
Your conclusion needs to be stronger
What is the evidence?
You need to be more clear
How does this relate?
Comment of your choice
Students also need to learn specific scientific skills (e.g., making observations and interpreting data) and forms of expository writing (e.g., data analysis and conclusions) to help them construct their understanding of concepts and develop their ability to think analytically. Science notebooks serve as a tool in this learning.
Students need scaffolding and modeling to help them learn science concepts, scientific thinking and skills, and expository writing.
Elementary students have limited time and energy for making entries in their science notebooks, so their entries should focus on expository writing that will deepen their conceptual understanding and/or develop their scientific skills and thinking.
The science notebook is not a product that looks good, but it is a product to support learning and to develop expository writing skills.
The science notebook is not about what students did, but it is about helping them to make meaning of what they did.
Avoid having students write about how they felt, what was their favorite…,what they did, or a generic, “What did you learn today?”
Notebooks should be for formative rather than summative purposes and, therefore, should not be graded.
Date and Focus Question
Record data, take notes, make illustrations or diagrams
Questions about shared reflection of conclusions based on focus question
Use scaffolding to complete notebook entries
Date, in numerals, the first page of the entry.
Write a focus or investigative question for each lesson.
Write something about each science session.
Write legibly (not necessarily their “best handwriting”).
Write the date in numerals on the first page of your notebook entry.
Write the focus question on the top line of your notebook entry page.
How many drops of each different liquid will a penny hold?
What does your data show?
How does your data compare with other groups?
Introduce word bank
“Students must learn scientific vocabulary after they have had a concrete experience.”
“Ideas develop from experiences, and technical terms develop from the ideas and operations that are rooted in those experiences. When terms come first, students just tend to memorize so much technical jargon that it sloughs off in a short while.”
Organize the words conceptually, rather than randomly or alphabetically.
Write “generic” science vocabulary in a different color than you will use for the unit words. The “generic” word cards can be reused with any/every science unit.
How does the investigation connect to other observations or experiences that you have had?
This is the “SO WHAT” of the exploration
What are other questions that you have as a result of the investigation?
Where would you encounter different liquids?
What are the properties of a liquid?
Are the properties of all liquids the same?
Focus is on processing what was learned from the investigation.
Question students about the shared reflection of conclusions from the science session.
Remember, this is usually done the next day so this review is important!
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to think like a rocket scientist.”
Gerry Wheeler, NSTA Executive Director
Model structure as the students provide the content.
Focus of writing will be on:
Comparing and contrasting
Cause and effect
Drawing conclusions from data
Data Analysis Writing
This graph/table shows…
Summarize the data:
Therefore, I think…
Outliers, inconsistent data
Some data were inconsistent. I think this happened, because…
Connection to the real world
This information could be important because…
Using the data provided by the teacher, let’s work through a writing session together.
Use scaffolding to write in science notebooks using your own data from the activity
With your district team, examine the CCR Anchor Standards for Writing on page 63 and the writing standards on pages 65 and 66.
How might the type of writing that you did during the “science session” begin to prepare students to meet these standards?
Highlight specific standards that were addressed or partially addressed.
In general, what are some specific strengths and weaknesses that your students demonstrate in writing?
Are they similar across grade levels?
What are some strategies that can be used to strengthen students’ understanding of concepts and their ability to communicate in science?