Science and Literacy

Common Core Standards for Science and Technical Subjects focus mainly literacy.   Teachers of science are expected to promote skills in students that allow them to read technical nonfiction texts.  Reading standards can be summarized as follows:

1.  Cite specific evidence to support an analysis
2.  Determine the central ideas and conclusions of a text
3.  Follow a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments or performing tasks
4.  Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms and other domain-specific words and phrases
5.  Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text
6.  Analyze the author’s purpose in providing an explanation or defining the question an author seeks to address
7.  Translate technical information expressed in words and text into visual form (tables, charts, equations)
8.  Assess the extent to which reasoning and evidence support an author’s claim
9.  Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those  from other sources
10.  Read and comprehend science/technical texts independently and proficiently

For complete standards, see Common Core State Standards Initiative RST 9-10 which also include the matching writing standards for science.

While the standards do not specifically address the science content of your curriculum, you should be prepared to adjust how you present information in a way that promotes reading and text analysis.   There are several strategies that can help your students with reading and writing in your science class.  This page contains worksheets and lessons to help your students achieve proficiency.  These are not content specific, and many will work with any subject or topic you are covering in your science class.

Annotating Text – a simple guide on how to annotate articles and other reading assignments

Article of the Week – each week, students read a related article, annotate article, discuss and submit a reflection summary (inspired by Kelly Gallagher)

Article Analysis  – simple graphic organizer for reading and evaluating news articles, can work for any subject

Article Summary – students locate and summarize science articles from science journals. Includes rubric for grading and guidelines for summarizing

Alphabet Book – encourage writing and content mastery by having students create a book that uses each letter of the alphabet to start a page  (A is for Apple…)

Framing Guide for Summaries – this worksheet can help students write article summaries, fill in phrases like “the author hopes to discuss/encourage/debate  about ____________”

Status Update – writing assignment where students write a status update (facebook) written from the perspective of a historical or famous person. For example,  imagine what Charles Darwin’s status update would be when he returned from his voyage on the Beagle

Vocabulary – Leverage Your Understanding – focus on a particular concept (domain specific) and complete a chart to show a deep understanding

List of Short Science Readings – these articles have questions and other tasks associated with reading nonfiction, most are short 1-2 page articles that can be read in class or given as homework

“Stiff” by Mary Roach – this nonfiction book assignment uses coded symbols and post-its to annotate chapters, you can use the same system for any other nonfiction science book you’d like your students to read

Articles for Biology Students – a list of articles designed for reading and analyzing text, most relate to general biology topics and are aligned to common core standards.