SlideShare a Scribd company logo
we will use google docs during our presentation.	

!
to find our workshop materials, please see	

http://www.composingscience.com
click on Workshop Resources page
!
!
you will have access to these materials after the
presentation via the Composing Science website.
COMPOSING SCIENCE
leslie atkins elliott	

boise state university	

!
kim jaxon	

california state university, chico
STRUCTURE OFTHE SESSION
• background: ideas from composition studies	

• examples from our course 	

• reading text	

• whiteboards	

• peer feedback (“silent science”) 	

• final discussion
THINGS WE KNOW.
• from our composing science site, open Mark Hall’s “Some
Givens…”	

• as you read, use the “comments" button to add notes, questions
or ideas, for example:	

• what do you agree with? disagree with?	

• is there something you find confusing?	

• does this spark an idea for you?
TEACHING WRITING
• what does this mean for teaching writing in
science?
READINGTOGETHER &
WRITINGTOGETHER
• annotated google docs as a
way to help students
understand texts
HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC
WRITING
1. Concealment of rhetoric 	

“it is not a laboratory notebook... Cleansed of messiness, portrays knowledge
as unproblematic, unambiguous, repeatable truths...” (Collins & Shapin)	

!
2. Use of grammatic metaphors  	

turn “happenings” into “stable phenomena” (parameter-induced stochastic
resonance) (Halliday, 2004)
HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC
WRITING
3. Empirical evidence as a tool of persuasion	

“Observation and experiment ... are the handmaidens to the rational activity of
generating arguments in support of knowledge claims...” (Driver, Newton &
Osborne)	

4.Addressivity of science texts	

high degree of intertexuality,“invites, in fact solicits, responses from others and seeks
to engage them...” (Sharma & Anderson) 	

5. Coordinates multiple modes 	

connecting representation, mathematics, images, text
HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC
WRITING
	

•	

concealment of rhetoric:	

	

 ◦	

“final form,” a “rhetoric of conclusions” (Duschl;  Schwab)	

	

•	

grammatic metaphors:	

	

 ◦	

ambiguous, abstract, remote from concrete experience	

	

•	

role of evidence:	

	

 ◦	

easily misunderstood as proof or goal of inquiry	

	

•	

addressivity:	

	

 ◦	

requires a knowledge of the ongoing debate	

	

•	

multiple modes:	

	

 ◦	

requires understanding and translating between modes
WHITEBOARDS
• In groups of 3 - 4, play with the maglite and notice the
spot of light that it creates and how that changes when
you twist the base. 	

• Take 10 (or so) minutes to determine what you think is
causing that pattern and to put your ideas on the
whiteboard.	

• A tip: use dry-erase markers to color part of the reflector
WHITEBOARDS AS “SCIENCE
WRITING”
• Latour (1990) found that when scientists were
unable to access their graphs, they “hesitated,
stuttered, and talked nonsense” (p. 22) and were
only able to resume the conversation when a
graph was scribbled onto whatever scrap of paper
was at hand.
WHITEBOARDS AS “PROCESS”
• “Process comes before product. Writing practices
are more important than individual papers.”	

• whiteboards (and other ways of sharing ideas as
inscriptions in public ways) is “process” for
scientists.	

• informal - but disciplinary - writing.
SILENT SCIENCE
• Take 10 minutes and half a sheet of paper to
answer the following prompt:	

explain (using words and/or diagrams) what is
happening when the lightbulb is at the
“central” spot for the maglite
Please write your name on your paper.
SILENT SCIENCE: FEEDBACK
(1) do you understand what the author is saying/showing? if so,
you might paraphrase it (“you’re saying… “); if not, point out
what is unclear or paraphrase what you think they might be
saying. 	

(2) do you agree with what the author is saying? If so, comment
on that. If not, why not? Explain why you disagree with their idea. 	

(3) Note what the author is doing well or what more they might
do to help convey their ideas.
SILENT SCIENCE & WRITING
• revisit the “Things We Know” - how does “silent
science” facilitate learning to write? develop writing
processes?
WHAT NEXT?
• these assignments are in service of developing understanding,
crafting well-written explanations, attending to peers’ ideas, and
constructing diagrams. 	

• students often struggle with writing because they must have
something to say and someone to say it to: our courses create
opportunities to develop ideas. 	

• the structures are a small part of a larger set of activities and
assignments including notebooks, homework, gallery walks, exams,
and final papers.

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Composing Science: Using Writing Effectively in Science Classrooms

  • 1. we will use google docs during our presentation. ! to find our workshop materials, please see http://www.composingscience.com click on Workshop Resources page ! ! you will have access to these materials after the presentation via the Composing Science website.
  • 2. COMPOSING SCIENCE leslie atkins elliott boise state university ! kim jaxon california state university, chico
  • 3. STRUCTURE OFTHE SESSION • background: ideas from composition studies • examples from our course • reading text • whiteboards • peer feedback (“silent science”) • final discussion
  • 4. THINGS WE KNOW. • from our composing science site, open Mark Hall’s “Some Givens…” • as you read, use the “comments" button to add notes, questions or ideas, for example: • what do you agree with? disagree with? • is there something you find confusing? • does this spark an idea for you?
  • 5. TEACHING WRITING • what does this mean for teaching writing in science?
  • 6. READINGTOGETHER & WRITINGTOGETHER • annotated google docs as a way to help students understand texts
  • 7. HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC WRITING 1. Concealment of rhetoric  “it is not a laboratory notebook... Cleansed of messiness, portrays knowledge as unproblematic, unambiguous, repeatable truths...” (Collins & Shapin) ! 2. Use of grammatic metaphors   turn “happenings” into “stable phenomena” (parameter-induced stochastic resonance) (Halliday, 2004)
  • 8. HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC WRITING 3. Empirical evidence as a tool of persuasion “Observation and experiment ... are the handmaidens to the rational activity of generating arguments in support of knowledge claims...” (Driver, Newton & Osborne) 4.Addressivity of science texts high degree of intertexuality,“invites, in fact solicits, responses from others and seeks to engage them...” (Sharma & Anderson) 5. Coordinates multiple modes  connecting representation, mathematics, images, text
  • 9. HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC WRITING • concealment of rhetoric: ◦ “final form,” a “rhetoric of conclusions” (Duschl;  Schwab) • grammatic metaphors: ◦ ambiguous, abstract, remote from concrete experience • role of evidence: ◦ easily misunderstood as proof or goal of inquiry • addressivity: ◦ requires a knowledge of the ongoing debate • multiple modes: ◦ requires understanding and translating between modes
  • 10. WHITEBOARDS • In groups of 3 - 4, play with the maglite and notice the spot of light that it creates and how that changes when you twist the base. • Take 10 (or so) minutes to determine what you think is causing that pattern and to put your ideas on the whiteboard. • A tip: use dry-erase markers to color part of the reflector
  • 11. WHITEBOARDS AS “SCIENCE WRITING” • Latour (1990) found that when scientists were unable to access their graphs, they “hesitated, stuttered, and talked nonsense” (p. 22) and were only able to resume the conversation when a graph was scribbled onto whatever scrap of paper was at hand.
  • 12. WHITEBOARDS AS “PROCESS” • “Process comes before product. Writing practices are more important than individual papers.” • whiteboards (and other ways of sharing ideas as inscriptions in public ways) is “process” for scientists. • informal - but disciplinary - writing.
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  • 15. SILENT SCIENCE • Take 10 minutes and half a sheet of paper to answer the following prompt: explain (using words and/or diagrams) what is happening when the lightbulb is at the “central” spot for the maglite Please write your name on your paper.
  • 16. SILENT SCIENCE: FEEDBACK (1) do you understand what the author is saying/showing? if so, you might paraphrase it (“you’re saying… “); if not, point out what is unclear or paraphrase what you think they might be saying. (2) do you agree with what the author is saying? If so, comment on that. If not, why not? Explain why you disagree with their idea. (3) Note what the author is doing well or what more they might do to help convey their ideas.
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  • 18. SILENT SCIENCE & WRITING • revisit the “Things We Know” - how does “silent science” facilitate learning to write? develop writing processes?
  • 19. WHAT NEXT? • these assignments are in service of developing understanding, crafting well-written explanations, attending to peers’ ideas, and constructing diagrams. • students often struggle with writing because they must have something to say and someone to say it to: our courses create opportunities to develop ideas. • the structures are a small part of a larger set of activities and assignments including notebooks, homework, gallery walks, exams, and final papers.