Reading and Writing in Science

More than just picture books and research papers

Activities with Books/Reading

Literature Circles

Groups of 3 - 4 students read a book based on a topic that is being covered in science. Once a week they have a discussion. One student (a week) is in charge of creating the discussion questions for the group.

To assess and monitor students provide them with a folder, which contains the rubric and projects they can choose to complete once they are finished reading the book.

As an icebreaker, have the group decorate the front of the folder with images and words (collage) of what they think the book is going to be about. When they are finished with the book they decorate the back of the folder with images and words of what the book was actually about.

Article Analysis

Students can do this as a group or individually, you just need to provide them with the articles and the note taking sheet. Students read the nonfiction article, jot down notes and as a class you can have discussion on what was read or have students create projects. Best if you can find the same type of article with different reading levels. Good websites to use:;;;

Children's Books

Find a book that is related to the topic you are teaching, have the student journal while and/or after you have finished reading.


Have students read a book (non fiction works best) and then create a comic strip about it. Students can create a narrative story or they can map out a life cycle or time line of events.

Activities with Writing

Object Writing

Display a tangible object (not just a picture). Have the students come up and pick it up, feel it, etc. for about 1 minute. Then have them go back to their seats and write a story about the object for two minutes.

Great idea for an ice breaker to a topic, or introducing a new science tool.

Great way to start an informal discussion in class, and get students inferring about the object or even the next topic.

Image Writing

Display one image (or a piece of an image) and have the students do one of the following:

  1. One word to describe what they see - They place this on a sticky note and place it on the board
  2. Write one sentence about the picture
  3. Write 2 facts they know from the picture and 1 feeling or emotion they have.

You can use inanimate objects or pictures of people, but historical pictures would be the best. If showing a piece of the picture reveal the entire picture once students have completed activity and have a discussion about it.

Additionally, you can choose to display multiple images and have the students order them chronologically as a class as another discussion point.

Research Paper

Students do not have to write the typical paper, it is the research and what they learn that is most important.

Alternative research paper types:

  • I - Search - last paragraph has students write what they learned while researching the topic
  • Annotated Bibliography - great for beginning research, understand how to site material and summarize the important pieces from it.
  • Criteria Cards - students create a card with they information they gathers, can display the cards around the room and have a gallery walk or have students place them on a time line (for people or events in time).
  • No paper/no poster - give the student a challenge, they are to display their information without writing a paper or using a poster board, and see what they can come up with.

Information Presented by:

Reading and Writing in Science

Presented by Chelsea Ash and Kelly Cromartie, high school Science and Language Arts teachers. Presented during the North Carolina Science Teachers Association PDI conference 2015.

Additional information as well as templates and resources to ideas will be coming soon.