Writing in Science

By Betsy Rupp Fulwiler

Quotes To Think About

"One of the most crucial things to remember as you begin to learn and use this science-writing approach is that students require structured support or scaffolding during the science and writing sessions in order to think and write effectively about science." (pg. 4)

"When you are deciding what type of entries students should make in their notebooks-- in other words, the content of their notebooks-- consider this fundamental question: How will writing these notebook entries help develop the students' understanding of the science concepts and/or scientific skills and thinking?"
(pg. 23)

Ideas For Effective Science Writing

  • Provide paragraph and sentence frames in order to scaffold students' thinking as they begin their science notebook entries.

  • Schedule two separate sessions for science and science writing. Science writing tends to cause students to be unable to complete their investigations, and thus do not gain as much conceptual knowledge as they would have if they had the time to finish it.

  • Have students discuss their findings from the investigations with their peers before having them write in their science notebooks. This allows the students to explain their thinking out loud which will help them organize their thoughts for when they actually begin writing.

  • During whole class discussions, ask the students guiding questions in order to help them see how their observations and data collected answered the investigative question. Also, ask them to notice any discrepancies in their data compared with the data of their peers and think about why those discrepancies may exist.


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Final Points to Remember

  1. Plan to have a science session and a science-writing session for each lesson in your science unit.

  2. Model scientific skills, thinking, and language orally and in writing.

  3. Help students recognize what an audience of adult scientists would

    expect and need to see in science notebook entries.

  4. Understand that science notebooks are rough drafts, so students should

    focus on the following when they are writing their entries:

    • Content (science concepts and thinking)

    • Organization (scientific thinking and skills)

    • Word choice (scientific vocabulary and clarity of word use)

    • Legibility (readable; not necessarily good handwriting)