Strategy Instruction

Inquiry-based learning is the hallmark of science instruction. While in many classrooms students learn concepts through traditional lecture and textbook reading, science has always incorporated an element of investigation of the processes of the subject. During this experimentation, students have the chance to productively discuss the topic, possible hypotheses and test factors, as well as analyze conclusions drawn from the results. 

Inquiry-based learning should involve creativity, accountable collaboration, and embedded multimedia research. With the inclusion of appropriate reading tasks embedded, inquiry-based learning shows great promise in promoting scientific literacy.

Graphic Organizers

  • Big Ideas
    • Concept Webs
    • Hierarchy charts
  • Sequence:
    • Sequencing/Process charts
  • Compare & Contrast:
    • Venn diagram
    • Semantic Feature Analysis/Matrix
    • T-chart
  • Cause & Effect:
    • Cause & Effect chains
    • Process charts

Word Walls

Word walls in science should reflect the organization of the words in relation to each other. In addition, pictorial clues can be beneficial. Use of student-generated materials can increase engagement.

It may also be beneficial for students to mirror the class word wall in their notebooks, creating pictorial clues in their notes to match the class example. This will also increase the use of the word wall from an accessory to a reference point of the current unit's content.

Writing in Science

Scientific writing is discipline-based. Students must understand how to communicate their experiement's hypothesis, results, and conclusion to others in a streamline way. They will not need the figurative language of Language Arts, or poetic meter. They also will not need a five-paragraph essay. So how then will they write? Think CERCA!

CERCA: Claim-Evidence-Reasoning-Counter Argument- Audience

Students must use evidence (researched, experimented, or otherwise) to support their claim and reasoning. They must determine if the argument is strong enough and relevant to the intended audience and consider how to attack the counter argument or claims. In all, students must think critically in order to prove their point in a variety of ways. This is an extension of an essay, but with a real-world twist. Writing in science buids critical literacy.

Online Resources