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Writing Across the Curriculum: ScienceFix
Northern Nevada's Yvette Deighton shares W.A.C. lessons for science class

Welcome to the ScienceFix Project! This on-line resource is used in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) workshops for teachers, and it is designed to inspire writing about science in the classroom. Teachers who take our workshops are asked to propose lessons that we could house on this webpage. Although many of the lessons are specific to a particular science content, all can certainly be applied to other scientific topics.

Our W.A.C. workshops' driving essential question: How can we deepen student thinking in all content areas through meaningful and authentic writing assignments?

Taking our W.A.C. workshop? Here is the template to use, if you are creating a ScienceFix lesson as your final project for class.

Meet our NNWP Consultant who inspired this page. Hello, my name is Yvette Deighton, and welcome to ScienceFix. I have been a science teacher for most of my career, and more recently a trainer for our region and a graduate from the NNWP's Invitational Institute. This page has some great lessons created by teachers who also believe we can teach content, literacy skills, and allow creativity to flourish in our classrooms.

I believe we are all literacy teachers. We recognize how important it is for all students to be able to read and write fluently; we all earned our degrees through reading and writing. However, like many good intentions, writing often makes its way to the bottom of our list of things to do with the many challenges we tackle trying to teach our content standards. Interestingly, I believe integrating writing within lessons can increase our effectiveness and efficiency. That being said, teaching writing wasn’t something that came easily for me. In fact, I mostly remember assigning writing assignments, and assessing them for the content, only. Time and again I was frustrated with their writing and became more reticent to ask students to write. I realized my own lack of confidence about the writing traits was the issue. Now, in addition to being a science teacher, I am a writing teacher in training.

I believe writing is a tool that will help students deepen their understanding and command of the science content. When we write, we discover what we know and what we still need to learn; we clarify our thinking as we debate the small voice in our head. Writing helps us think. Like other tools, the more we use it, the better the results.

I believe that writing in science needs to be broader than the traditional lab report, research paper, or essay question. While those are essential formats for a science student to master, scientists also write letters, bulletins, flyers, and other less formal pieces. I believe in allowing students to express themselves through their writing, so I like to offer novel writing prompts or assignments like song lyrics, a poem, or a recipe. I hope you will find many lesson ideas to adapt for your students and offer some of your own for our community.

On this Resource Page:

Yvette's Three Demonstration Lessons She Uses When Presenting ScienceFix

Lesson 1:
Patterns for Making Meaning

Mentor Text: The Way Life Works by Mahlon Hoagland and Bert Dodson

Lesson objectives: Students will make connections between what they know, what they are learning, and the Sixteen Patterns of Life presented in the text. The format they learn in this lesson can then be used throughout the year by the students. Click here to access this lesson.

Lesson 2:
Your Glorious Gene Pool

Mentor Text: Shallow End of the Gene Pool, sung by The Austin Lounge Lizards and I am the Dog, I am the Cat by Donald Hall

Lesson objectives: Students will investigate their inheritance of genetic traits and describe through a double-voice poem the science behind the inheritance patterns. Click here to access this lesson.

Mentor text: this i believe podcasts & Science Friday podcasts, both free to download from NPR.

Lesson objectives: Students will create a "This I Believe" podcast about the topic they are studying to publish to the classroom I-Pod or webpage. Click here to access the entire lesson on-line.

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Our Favorite Book for Encouraging Writing Across the Curriculum:

51 Wacky We-Search Reports by Barry Lane

A New W.A.C. Project...

...at WritingFix. Click here to check it out! We need some science examples!
Works Great for Science!

Check out WritingFix's Exit Tickets Across the Curriculum Resource Page. Click here to access it.

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R.A.F.T. Writing Prompts for Science Content

What's a R.A.F.T.?
Click here to read about R.A.F.T. assignments at WritingFix.

Want to Build a R.A.F.T.?
Click here for science R.A.F.T. ideas.

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Picture Book-inspired Science Writing Across the Curriculum Lessons

The Important Thing
about Science

Mentor text: The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown

Lesson objectives: Margaret Wise Brown's The Important Book contains a dozen "Important Book Passages," which are Brown's original structure for looking at items that are important to her. She first says what's most important about an item, then she shares three or four other interesting details, and then she again stresses what's most important. This simple type of passage can be assigned to students so they can show what they have learned about scientific topics.

Click here to access the entire lesson on-line.

Life-Span Diaries

Mentor text: Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin

Lesson objectives: Students translate research about an animal or other living creature into their own words by writing a "life-span diary" that shares fact-filled entries from 10-12 days in the life of the creature they have researched. Students draft their diaries on paper, revise and edit with peer response groups, then publish their final diary using a Power Point slide show.

Click here to access the entire lesson on-line.

A Habitat for a
Wild "Pet"

Mentor text: The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

Lesson objectives: This lesson requires students to observe and name the elements of an animal’s habitat. It will allow students to detail what they think a specific animal needs to survive and thrive. Students will write a fictional (or perhaps true) story about finding and caring for a wild animal; stories must use details and facts the students discover about their animals through research.

Click here to access the entire lesson on-line.

Animal Reports

Mentor text: We Are Bears by Molly Grooms

Lesson objectives: We are researchers. If you assign a non-fiction animal reports to your students, this lesson provides you with a unique structure and an interesting lesson about verbs and nouns. Inspired by Molly Grooms' We Are Bears, students will organize their reports based on interesting animal-specific nouns they discover while researching.

Click here to access the entire lesson on-line.

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Writing Ideas for Secondary Science Classrooms

Podcasting Science

Mentor text: Science Times podcasts, free to download at iTunes.

Lesson objectives: Students will listen to podcasts to learn about and share science ideas that are currently in the news. By organizing and summarizing science thoughts, students will be able to effectively share the main ideas of the Podcasts with others. Students will accumulate a “Science - Current Event Portfolio” throughout the year, with their summations of monthly Podcasts.

Click here to access the entire lesson on-line.

The Scientific Recipe

Mentor text: Any printed cookbook or series of recipes from the Internet.

Lesson overview: Students translate scientific research into a creative form of writing: a recipe imitation. After choosing a topic, students list what ingredients they'll need to "cook up" their scientific recipe, and they create a list of instructions on how to combine their ingredients. The students' goal is to report accurately report on scientific facts, using the "voice" of a real recipe.

Click here to access the entire lesson on-line.

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© Copyright 2015 - WritingFix- All Rights Reserved.
Please, share the resources you find on these pages freely with fellow educators, but please leave any page citations on handouts intact, and please give authorship credit to the cited teachers who created these wonderful lessons and resources. Thanks in advance for honoring other educators' intellectual property.

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