Saturday, February 2, 2008

Science and Literacy

Science and Literacy: Capitalizing on a Synergistic Approach
Presented by Dr. Gina Cervetti and Jacqueline Barber
Lawrence Hall of Science
University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Gina Cervetti is the lead literacy specialist as well as coordinator and researcher for the Seeds of Science, Roots of Reading program. Jacqueline Barber is the associated director of the Lawrense Hall of Science and led the research and development of the Seeds of Science, Roots of Reading program.
(Sample activities from today’s session come from 2-3 grade curriculums from the Seeds if Science, Roots of Reading materials.)

Seeds of Science, Roots of Reading is an NSF funded program, designed to explore the collaboration of science and reading. The program “kicks down the interdisciplinary doors.” It uses the wonderment of science with literacy. Reading and writing are authentic to inquiry science. Reading about science without engaging in hands on activities leads to an incomplete understanding of the concepts. Scientists do not rely on science concepts alone. They use reading and comprehension strategies before, during, and after investigation. This approach ties reading, writing, and thinking to inquiry science.

Focus Questions:
How can science be used as a context for literacy learning?
How can text be used to support rather than eclipse inquiry science?
What does it mean to know a word?

“Do It, Talk It, Read It, Write It”
(The following activities are completed over several sessions. Students explore scientific processes as they incorporate reading and writing skills.)

Activity 1: The instructional sequence was introduced by a book Shorelines and Beaches by Catherine Halversen and Nicole Parizeau from the Seeds of Science program. (The story is about a girl named Jo who takes a trip around the world with her family. She sends postcards to her friend Linn about the beaches she visits. Linn needs to write a report about beaches for school and uses the information.) Have students turn through the book and find a picture that illustrates the difference between a beach and a shoreline. Discuss with a buddy the picture you have found. Discussion with the buddy leads to discussions of the definition of the important vocabulary and concepts. It begins to “seed” the investigation to come. It begins to get students to link the concepts and vocabulary to one another.

Activity 2: Have students look at a model of the beach. (A pie tin with beach sand and various pieces of items found on a beach.) Have students pick up items from the beach and explore them. Infer where the beach may be.

Activity 3: Guided sort. Give students index cards and allow them to sort the items in their beach. Kids share information and opinions with each other. What would you call the material that is left behind on the plate after you take the objects off the plate? What is sand made of? How can we test this idea?

Activity 4: Use a model to try to investigate this experiment. Use Jolly Rancher candies. Different colors of candy represent the different items found on the beach. (Example: green is evidence of plants and seaweeds, red is evidence of animals, purple is evidence of rocks and minerals, yellow is evidence of humans, and blue is an example of unknown) Place the Jolly Ranchers in a jar. Pass it around the room, letting each student shake it ten times. What do you predict will happen? Once complete, let the students sort the items by size. Some are larger, some are smaller.

Activity 5: Pass around bags of various kinds of sand. Have students classify them and put them in order of the size of the sand in the bag. Why are some of the pieces of sand different sizes? Leads into discussion of sand being made of different items so they break down differently. Do waves have something to do with it? Does the wind have something to do with it?

Activity 6: Exploring with tools. Pass out magnifying glasses. Have students explore the sand closer and record data on a recording sheet or in a Sand Journal. (Sample questions on the recording sheet include: Which sand has the smallest grains? The largest? Which sand is lightest in color? Which is darkest?) Give students each a “sand slide.” (The slide is simply made by placing glue on an index card and placing the sand on top. This keeps students from opening the bags of sand.) Give students a rock and mineral kit that allows students to try to classify the sand they have by comparing the sand.

Activity 7: Give the students the next book. Gary’s Sand Journal by Gary Griggs, Catherine Halversen, and Craig Strang. (Also from Seeds of Science series.) Students are now reading to inform. What did you learn in the book that you did not know? What did you get from the text that you could not have gotten from first hand experience alone?

Guiding Principle 1: Engage students in firsthand and secondhand investigations to make sense of the natural world. Text can support and enhance the investigations.
Guiding Principle 2: Engage students through multiple learning modalities.
Guiding Principle 3: Capitalize on synergies between science and literacy.
Synergy 1: Words are concepts
Synergy 2: Inquiry strategies are comprehension strategies
Synergy 3: Science is a discourse.

1 comment:

Dorry Lopez said...

Dear Melissa,
I so believe in integration of subject matter! Thank you for sharing a very interesting post!