Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Connecticut Reading Association Handout: Integrating Science and Language Arts

Discover how to teach science and language arts simultaneously by building engaging, inquiry-based K-5 science lessons around pairs of award-winning trade fiction and nonfiction picture books. Even if you are science shy, you can create lessons that will ignite your students’ natural curiosity and make them eager to learn about world around them.

“Studies show that scientists spend 60 to 70 percent of their time reading, writing, and communicating. Literacy is an authentic part of science.”
—Bill Badders, Past President, National Science Teachers Association

Why Use Children’s Books?
—Hands-on lessons aren’t always feasible or effective, especially for teaching life science.
—Books motivate, engage, and delight children.
—Students can collect “data” from books and use it in minds-on activities.
—Many teachers are more comfortable using books than kits.

Understanding NGSS PEs
K-LS1-1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
Practice: Analyzing and interpreting data
Crosscutting concept: Patterns can be observed and used as evidence.
DCI: Animals need food to live and grow. Plants need water and light to live and grow.

Why Pair Fiction & Nonfiction Books?
—Appeal to broad range of students.
—Increase and enrich data sets.
—Create opportunities for comparison and synthesis of information and ideas.

To Choose Fiction Titles
1.    Know your grade level PEs.
2.    Keep them in mind when you read a new book or re-read an old favorite.

Here Are Some Popular Books that Align with NGSS PEs
2-LS2-2. Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.

3-LS3-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.

3-LS2-1. Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.

5-LS1-1. Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.

You can find more examples on my pinterest page. Look for the board called STEM/NGSS Text Sets.

The lessons in Perfect Pairs provide a model that you can adapt. The lessons:
—Start with a Wonder Statement
—Feature a 3-step Investigative Process:

1. Engaging Students—what students’ appetite to the topic with a fun or surprising activity
2. Exploring with Students—read the books and gather information in tables or other graphic organizers
3. Encouraging Students to Draw Conclusions—students synthesize the information and do a minds-on activity that reinforces the science concept.

You can use the perfect pairs model to create great sci-lit lessons even if your school district doesn’t use NGSS. The program allows you to use books you love to create lessons that will support any set of science standards.

This video features students in Pasadena, CA, engaging in this style of learning.

Here are some more examples:

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