Each month, the NSTA journals have many ideas for helping students become producers of knowledge, through science investigations and engineering problems. This issue, however, looks at how students can become informed consumers of science and engineering. As the editor notes, “To be critical consumers…students need more than just exposure to core science content; they also need to locate, read, and understand information and to use their knowledge about the nature of science to judge the validity and quality of that information and how it was gathered or constructed.” Regardless of the grade level you teach, you can find articles here with suggestions to enhance student skills in information location, evaluation, interpretation, and use.
“Where will you get your information about new science after you take your last science class?” is a question asked by the author of Building Science Literacy by Reading Science News. He describes an ongoing project in which students look at science news: what’s reported, how it’s reported, and the source. After modeling how to “dissect” a news story (with guiding questions), the students spend one day a month on science news presentations. The guidelines are included with the article.
The NGSS documents include a cross-walk between science and literacy standards. Saturn, Science, and Cross-Curricular Literacy Standards shows “how the questions students ask during science lessons can be thoughtfully integrated with strategies for literacy instruction and science practices such as engaging in argument from evidence and the crosscutting concept of patterns. The authors describe an organizer called a “comprehension window,” using a file folder and sticky notes for claims. The graphics in the article illustrate how this was used to investigate the temperatures on planets. [SciLinks: Planets, Solar System]
Part of understanding science information is becoming familiar with the vocabulary—the technical vocabulary as well as words that have different meanings in science contexts (such as theory or energy). Increasing Science Vocabulary Using PowerPoint Flash Cards shows two strategies: a mnemonic keyword strategy and using PowerPoint to create “flash cards.” Technology also plays a role in the study described in Human Impact on Water Quality: Conducting Inquiry with Cyber Databases and ICTs (information and communications technologies). The authors share credible online sources of real-world data and ideas for how students can use this wealth of data to create information. [SciLinks: Water Quality] Continue reading …