Writing Scientific Articles 5th Grade Language Arts
What is a Scientific Article?A scientific article is a piece of writing that reports thefindings of a scientific experiment. Scientists usethese types of articles inform other scientists, as wellas regular people, about their discoveries.A good scientific article does several things: Itexplains why the experiment was done, how it wasperformed, what conclusion was reached, and howthe results support that conclusion.
What kind of writing is this?Expository: We’rewriting to explainsomething. Specifically,we’re writing to explainwhy the conclusion of ascientific experiment istrue.
What are the parts of Expository Writing?Focus Statement – In a scientific article theFocus Statement explains: • What the experiment is trying to figure out. • What the hypothesis is. • How the experiment will test the hypothesis (In other words, a summary of the procedure). • A brief summary of the results and the conclusion.
Let’s say, for example, I’m writing a scientific article about anexperiment about whether or not Mr. Thompson’s Miracle Growhelps tomato plants grow.Focus Statement: In this experiment I wanted to determine whether or not Mr. Thompson’sMiracle Growtm would help tomato plants grow faster and produce more tomatoeswithin a one month period. My hypothesis was that this fertilizer would not haveany impact on tomato plant growth based on the fact that it is made entirely of oldpencil shavings. To test this hypothesis I set up three trials in which I added Mr.Thompson’s Miracle Grow to one group, and did not add it to the other. I keptwater, soil, and exposure to sunlight the same for all groups and recorded myobservations about plant height, number of leaves, and how many tomatoes wereproduced over a one month period. During this time, the tomato plants in thecontrol group (that did not receive any Mr. Thompson’s Miracle Grow) measuredtaller, had more leaves, and produced more tomatoes than the plants that didreceive the Miracle Grow. From this data, I concluded that my hypothesis wascorrect and that Mr. Thompson’s Miracle Grow has a negative impact on Tomatoplant growth.
In this experiment I wanted to determine whether or not Mr.Thompson’s Miracle Growtm would help tomato plants grow faster and producemore tomatoes within a one month period. My hypothesis was that thisfertilizer would not have any impact on tomato plant growth based on the factthat it is made entirely of old pencil shavings. To test this hypothesis I set upthree trials in which I added Mr. Thompson’s Miracle Grow to one group, anddid not add it to the other. I kept water, soil, and exposure to sunlight the samefor all groups and recorded my observations about plant height, number ofleaves, and how many tomatoes were produced over a one month period.During this time, the tomato plants in the control group (that did not receiveany Mr. Thompson’s Miracle Grow) measured taller, had more leaves, andproduced more tomatoes than the plants that did receive the Miracle Grow.From this data, I concluded that my hypothesis was correct and that Mr.Thompson’s Miracle Grow has a negative impact on Tomato plant growth. = What the experiment is trying to find out. = Hypothesis = How the experiment will test the hypothesis. = Results = Conclusion
What are the parts of Expository Writing?Main Ideas – Reasons why the Conclusion istrue. In your articles, your main ideas are thereasons why you reached your conclusion.Anecdotes – anecdotes are specific examplesthat prove the main idea is true. In a sciencearticle anecdotes will include parts of the data,observations made during an experiment, orbackground knowledge.
Now you’re ready to write your main ideas and anecdotes. Our goal is to write a scientific article with at least two main idea paragraphs. Main Idea Paragraph #1: Background Knowledge. Your first main idea paragraph should be a summary of what you already know about the subject of your experiment.Example: After looking up the basic ingredients of Mr. Thompson’s Miracle Grow, Inoticed that it was composed of nothing more than old pencil shavings. Furtherresearch into the materials used to make pencils showed that they contain little tonone of the nutrients most plants require to grow. The ingredients of Mr. Thompson’sMiracle Grow include high levels of Thorzine (20%), Cordozine (45%), andMalthusianacide (35%). However, according to the Agricultural Services InternationalInc., most garden plants require Nitrogen, Posphorus, Potassium, and Calcium.Furthermore, Thorzine is a known pollutant which actually inhibits plant growth. Dueto the presence of potentially harmful chemicals in Mr. Thompson’s Miracle Grow andthe lack of nutrients that plants actually do require, it’s difficult to see how it canactually help plants to grow.
Main Idea Paragraph #2: Observations/Results. Your second main idea paragraph should contain a summary of your observations during the experiment and/or the results from the experiment.Example: During the experiment, I made careful observations on plant height, leaves,and the number of fruit produced over a period of time. The only variable, or thingthat changed, during the experiment was the addition of Mr. Thompson’s MiracleGrow to one group. During this time I noticed that my two control groups grew quitenicely, producing on average three tomatoes each. The tomato plants that were giventhe Miracle Grow, on the other hand, barely grew at all and averaged .6 tomatoes perplant. I also noticed that, over time, the control group plants color turned from a lightgreen to a dark green color, and that their stems tended to be thick and sturdy whilethe plants with the fertilizer started out as light green but then turned yellowish. Also,their stems were so thin and frail that even when they produced tomatoes their stemswere not able to support the weight and collapsed.
What are the parts of Expository Writing?Conclusion – A conclusion restates the focusstatement, and summarizes the main ideas. Ina scientific article, your conclusion summarizeswhat you’ve discovered in your experiment,and how you know that what you’vediscovered is true.
Example: Based on my research on the nutritional value of Mr. Thompson’sMiracle Grow, as well as the result of this experiment, I conclude that myhypothesis was correct and that this product does not help plants grow. On thecontrary, the results of my experiment clearly show that this product will harmplants and possibly even kill them. It contains none of the nutrients plants need,and caused the plants in my experiment to whither and die. If Mr. Thompson’sMiracle Grow is used on a large scale to fertilize crops it will likely result in thewidespread death of those plants and could lead to a food crisis. My experimentconclusively shows that this product should not be used, and that Mr. Thompsonshould not be allowed to advertise old pencil shavings as miracle fertilizer.Further research could be done to look at the effects of Mr. Thompson’s MiracleGrow on other domesticated plants such as corn, squash, and rice. However, myobservations indicate that such experiments will have the same result. Thisproduct is dangerously poisonous to plants and should not be used for anythingbut weed killer.
Let’s give it a try!Do the following experiment on whether watercan weather sandstone rocks into sediment.Then let’s write a scientific article about it!
Focus StatementLet’s start by writing your Focus Statement paragraph.Remember to indent (of course) and include: • What the experiment is trying to figure out. • What the hypothesis is. • How the experiment will test the hypothesis (In other words, a summary of the procedure). • A brief summary of the results and the conclusion.
Main Idea Paragraph #1 (Background Knowledge)Next, let’s write your first main idea paragraph. This paragraph should include background knowledgeand/or research that supports your conclusion. Think of an example of when you observed waterweathering rock, and use those observations to craft your paragraph. Can’t think of one? Then you can usemy example: Prior to performing this experiment I had the chance to observe waterweathering rock three years ago when my family visited a beach that had recentlybeen hit by a hurricane. The storm had already passed, but the waves were stillferociously pounding the shore where they had already washed up all kinds of debris.Nearby there was an outcropping of rocks that jutted out into the sea. As I watchedthe huge waves crashed into them over and over again. Looking closer I saw thatwhere the waves smashed into the rocks it was very smooth, with rounded edges.Nearer to the shore, however, where the waves didn’t reach, the same rock was roughwith sharp edges and corners. Even though it seemed crazy to think that a wave ofwater could wear down rock, I could imagine millions of waves over thousands of yearsslowly working away at the rock’s edges, wearing them smooth with time. I alsoobserved that the sand surrounding these rocks seemed to be made of the sameminerals as the rocks themselves, which led me to believe that the action of the wavesslamming into the rocks was slowly wearing them down into grains of sand.
Main Idea Paragraph #2 (Data/Observations)You summarized your results in your Focus Statement, but this iswhere you really get into specific detail about what the results ofyour experiment were and how they support or contradict yourconclusion.
ConclusionThe final paragraph of the scientific article whichexplains the conclusion of the experiment basedupon what you have learned/observed. It should alsoinclude an explanation of how this experimentmodeled erosion in real life, and how we can applywhat you’ve learned to the real world.