Improving science writing skills


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  • Brainstorming: Can use their own experiences, or let their imagination run wild.Examples can include poems, novel, letter, song
  • Examples:Write a letter to your younger brother and tell him why he’s safe in a lightning storm if he’s inside a car.
  • Envelope: 15 key topics per sciencePhysics: heat and temperature, lightning, newton’s first law, electromagnet, Bernoulli’s Law…Chemistry:Earth science: fossil energy, interior of the Earth, volcanoes, earth quakes, solar system, Biology:
  • Stimulate participants to find even more creative examples!
  • Modifications: bit more or less than 10 minutes/ or longer than 2 minutes
  • Again, extend the time to 3 to 5 minutes for students with lower writing skills.Feedback on what students thought of your lessons. What they learned can be different from what you intended
  • Improving science writing skills

    1. 1. Student Centered Approaches for science educationDeveloping Science Writing Skills<br />RTTC Kandal, July 2011<br />
    2. 2. Contents<br />Purpose of science writing<br />Tips for better writing in science<br />Note taking<br />Creative writing<br />Formative Assessment through writing<br />2<br />
    3. 3. Introduction<br />Often <br /> Science writing = copying notes from whiteboard<br /> Involves very little thinking and learning<br />3<br />
    4. 4. Introduction<br />But …<br /> it can be turned into an active learning activity<br />4<br />
    5. 5. Why writing in science?<br />Even in science students spend a lot of lesson time writing.<br />Card sorts activity: discuss why you let students write during science lessons.<br />5<br />
    6. 6. Think-Talk-Write<br />Purposeful talk in science lessons is necessary for good writing<br />between students<br /> between teacher and students<br />6<br />
    7. 7. Taking notes<br />What are good notes?<br />Taking notes ≠ dictation<br />Good note taking involves:<br />Structuring<br />Filtering: important vs. unimportant things<br />Processing: organize thinking about the content<br />7<br />
    8. 8. Taking notes<br />Note taking can help students<br />To improve listening skills<br />To improve understanding of lesson<br />To structure better what they have learned<br />8<br />
    9. 9. Cornell system of note taking<br />Note taking structure<br />For use during and after the lecture<br />Stimulates<br />Critical thinking<br />Review afterwards<br />Connecting with prior knowledge<br />Listening skills<br />9<br />
    10. 10. Cornell system of note taking<br />Write down main points & relevant details during lecture<br />Leave empty spaces<br />Use abbreviations<br />Highlight and underline<br />10<br />
    11. 11. Cornell system of note taking<br />Things you don’t understand<br />Review questions<br />Gaps in notes<br />11<br />
    12. 12. Cornell system of note taking<br />Review asap after lecture<br />Complement notes<br />Compare with textbook<br />Use own words<br />3 to 4 sentences<br /> Study using key-words and questions, then check in notes<br />12<br />
    13. 13. Review each other’s work: peer learning<br /> Students improve their note taking skills by learning from each other<br />13<br />
    14. 14. Tips<br />Be rigorous but sensitive in correcting students’ use of scientific words<br />Allowing inaccurate use will limit students’ progress<br /> Let them use scientific words often<br />14<br />
    15. 15. Tips<br />You may let students use 2 notebooks<br />One for draft writing exercises, one for final study notes<br />15<br />
    16. 16. Cornell note taking - Variations<br />Can also be applied to reading assignments<br />You can provide predetermined categories;<br />Similarities and differences<br />Arguments pro and contra<br />Main topics of the lecture<br />Write down questions on the topic before the lecture.<br />16<br />
    17. 17. Cornell Note taking: rubric<br />Try-out this rubric<br />Personalize based on your experiences<br />17<br />
    18. 18. Practice Time<br />Short lecture on a science topic<br />Take notes with a Cornell structure<br />Review and discuss notes with your neighbour, using the rubric.<br />18<br />Photo by Lindsay Phillips<br />
    19. 19. Creative Science writing<br />Writing on science in a creative way<br />Learning experience<br />Fun experience<br />Use science vocabulary in own words<br />Confidence & motivation<br />19<br />Photo courtesy Cobalt123<br />
    20. 20. Why Creative Science writing?<br />Objectives<br />Opportunity to show scientific knowledge and understanding<br />Formulate knowledge in own words<br />Apply correct scientific terms<br />Argument ideas<br />Requires engagement and decision making by students<br />Detect conceptual errors<br />20<br />Photo by irenegr<br />
    21. 21. Creative writing<br />Bringing non-science writing formats into the science lesson<br />… can you give some examples?<br />21<br />
    22. 22. Tips<br />With creative writing students take ownership about what they write<br />Reformulating their knowledge is important process in learning<br />22<br />
    23. 23. Creative writing: structure<br />Audience<br />Format<br />Topic/ Purpose<br />23<br />
    24. 24. Creative writing: structure<br />24<br />
    25. 25. Creative writing: an example<br /> Write a letter to your grandmother in which you explain that water boils faster in the mountains, but that it will take longer to cook rice.<br />25<br />Courtesy Tsiangkun<br />
    26. 26. Creative writing: an example<br /> Explain to your brother why there are more lunar eclipses than solar eclipses, but that even lunar eclipses don’t occur every month.<br />Courtesy Simon Barnes<br />
    27. 27. Creative writing: an example<br />Finish the poem…<br />27<br />
    28. 28. Practice time<br /> Design 3 different creative writing challenges for the topics that you pick out of the envelope.<br />28<br />
    29. 29. Inspiration for creative writing challenges<br />Imagine you are a chloroplast. Describe in your diary a typical day in the sun.<br />Write an article describing different ways leaves are modified to their environment.<br />Write a song describing the importance of Carbon in the human body<br />Describe your journey to the center of the Earth<br />29<br />
    30. 30. Formative Assessment<br />Continuous assessment during class<br />Teacher: collect information<br /><ul><li>Learning process
    31. 31. Pace of instruction
    32. 32. Misconceptions
    33. 33. Difficulties</li></ul>Students: think and learn<br /><ul><li>Evaluate learning process
    34. 34. Deepen understanding
    35. 35. Clarify and formulate ideas</li></ul>30<br />
    36. 36. 10 – 2 technique<br />Every 10 minutes of instruction …<br /> Give students 2 minutes of reflection:<br />Quiet thinking<br />Summarizing<br />Formulating questions<br />Discussing<br />31<br />
    37. 37. 2-minute papers<br />Near the end of the lesson…<br /> present students with general questionabout their learning<br /> students write a short answer in 2 minutes<br /> collect the notes to evaluate your lesson<br />32<br />
    38. 38. 2-minute papers<br /> Some examples of questions<br />What was the most important thing you learned today?<br />What did you learn today that you didn’t know before class?<br />What important question remains unanswered?<br />What would help you to learn better tomorrow?<br />What did you like about today’s lesson?<br />What did you not like about today’s lesson?<br />33<br />
    39. 39. Conclusions<br />Discussion<br />Write down two points from this chapter that you will use in the classroom. <br />Write down one element that you won’t use. <br />Share with your neighbor.<br />Reconsider your original choices regarding purpose of writing<br />Analyze and change if necessary your initial priority list. Discuss conflicting issues.<br />34<br />