May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Reading and Science Processes in One

Posted: Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Lisa Hegdahl

If you are like me, you are being asked to begin implementing the Common Core Standards in my science classroom.  With the help of district trainings, and a curriculum coach to observe delivery of my literacy instruction, I have managed to do so.  Although the lessons have been reasonably successful, I realized I tended to move quickly back to science processes where students are doing science – asking questions, making predictions, and testing hypothesizes.  This past week, though, I had the opportunity to visit a literacy lesson taught by the 8th grade science team at Rancho Medanos Junior High in Pittsburgh, California.  I ended the day knowing it’s possible to combine science processes with reading literacy in a way I had not considered before. 

As students entered the classroom, there was a three-paragraph reading assignment on their desks.  Instructions at the front of the room asked the students to read the selection and circle words they had any questions about – for example, unfamiliar words, words they could not pronounce, etc.  When the bell rang to start class, the teacher used the first paragraph of the reading to explain elastic forces, and then students used manipulatives that were in baskets at their desks to pick out objects that demonstrated the concept of elastic forces.  This was the first literacy lesson I have seen where reading was used in conjunction with science lab materials.  As the lesson progressed, the students read the selected science paragraphs with the teacher, working through both unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts. The desktop materials gave students a chance to experience the science they were reading about, predict what might come next, and show the teacher immediately if they could apply what they were reading in a tangible way.

A brief opportunity to speak with the instructors afterwards revealed how they choose the readings very purposefully.  Carefully selected diagrams within the reading also give students occasion to apply the new concepts to alternate situations.  I am eager to incorporate more lab-type aspects into my literacy lessons and to, with practice, build upon the best of both strategies.

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is President for CSTA.

One Response

  1. Great article Lisa! This is something everyone is trying to figure out. It is important that we push back against the idea that working on literacy replaces doing science, but understand that literacy is part of doing science. Scientists need to read to find out what other scientists have already learned and how they learned it.

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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

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To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.