Teachers of every subject should aim to incorporate writing into their curriculums. Science, in particular, can take advantage of many rich topics and genres of writing. Ask students to write lab reports, journals, articles and research papers to reinforce topics and skills taught in science class. Bring creativity to the lab by asking students to use their knowledge of science by writing science fiction.
Writing a lab report should be taught in every science lab. Aside from incorporating writing into the science curriculum, a lab report requires that students structure, plan and write about their scientific experiments. Students should begin by making a hypothesis, which will state the anticipated outcome of the experiment. After making an educated guess, students should list the methods or procedure of the experiment. Carrying out the procedure will lead to a result, which will either prove or disprove the hypothesis. After conducting the experiment and writing down the process, students should then discuss observations and the outcome at the end of the report.
Journaling allows students to observe and reflect in the science classroom. In addition, because a major goal for science class is to have the students engage in scientific inquiry, the journal will allow students to write down any questions they may have in class or out. Encourage the use of the science journal by having students purchase a small and portable notebook. Students should have the journal with them in class, during labs and on field trips. Furthermore, students should reflect in the journal after school and bring fresh questions and observations to class the next day.
Science Research Papers
Have students research and write about scientists and scientific discoveries that interest them. Research paper writing is a very important skill that should be taught in middle school and high school. After they choose an appropriate topic, send them to the school or public library to find books and periodicals. Allow them to go online for sources, but be sure to provide appropriate websites for use. After students find sources, ask them to read and evaluate the information. Next, have students outline and draft their research papers. After editing, students should revise, add images, graphs and media, and then publish their work.
A variety of writing genres should be used to engage students in the science curriculum. Allow students to use their imaginations by asking them to write science fiction short stories inspired by topics explored in class. For example, if you are teaching astronomy, ask students to write about life on other planets or galaxies. Students should also have the opportunity to complete science current events reports, which will allow them to be aware of new discoveries and other science news. From there, students can move to writing their own science articles for the school paper.
Kelly Chester is an educator and writer who has worked in both public and private schools for almost a decade. Her areas of expertise include literature, writing, history and art for adolescents. In addition to writing reports for NYSAIS, she has also written a biography on artist Frank Covino, which was published in the anthology “Teaching Lives.”