Teaching Science and Writing with Technology

Common Core State Standards: 
Literacy in Science & Technical Subjects
Informational Text
Instructional Strategies: 
Presenting
Prewriting
Drafting
Reviewing
Supporting Science

By teaching writing within the context of science instruction, you will be able to address three of the key shifts recommended by ELA CCSS. You can (1) build your students’ knowledge of science concepts, (2) ground their writing in evidence from informational texts, and (3) give them practice understanding complex texts and using academic language within science reports and other genres.


See this video from WatchKnowLearn for an introduction on how to navigate the night sky(http://www.watchknowlearn.org/Video.aspx?VideoID=30014), or see how one YouTube member uses an app to find the north star (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ut4727-_NU).


Here is an example of how writing is integrated into a unit on astronomy:


  • Have students watch a brief video on stars and outer space to elicit prior knowledge and build background knowledge.
  • Then use Stellarium (a free, online 3D sky) to view how constellations look different depending where you are.
  • Going further, have students interact with NASA’s SkyMap to see constellations in the sky based on the time of year and time of day.

These tools fit well into the writing process. For prewriting, have students jot down ideas or capture thoughts in drawing based on what they see in the night sky. More research using these websites and other resources can help students create drafts. The reviewing process helps them further refine and polish their ideas within a report that relies on strong academic language. Publishing their final work can take different forms, especially for those struggling students who benefit from multiple forms of expression. By encouraging students to use multimedia tools, every report can have a student’s stamp of individuality. Students can write about the stars—and be a star!


Acknowledgment: Special thanks to Rebecca Flynn for helping to prepare this blog post.

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