Reading As Scientistsby: Marie-Claire Shanahan

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Using an adapted version of a recently published scientific article, a group of sixth graders worked together identifying conclusions, deciding on appropriate evidence, suggesting improvements for the study, and recommending further investigations for scientists. This experience provided opportunities for these students to use reading to decide on the quality of a scientific study—just like scientists do when they read.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (4)
  • on Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:42 PM

Reading As Scientists provides ways that students can evaluate the quality of a scientific study by identifying conclusions as a group, deciding on appropriate evidence, suggesting improvements for the study and recommendations for the scientists. This is the same way scientists evaluate scientific studies. However, the student's evaluation on the quality of a scientific study is adapted and simplified into simple language. The goals of the author is to apply a narrative style in order to help students gain an understanding of scientists' work. In other words, the author wants young students to learn how to evaluate a scientific study just in the same way scientists do only in a much simplified language. The point on making students to make evaluations in scientific studies is to make them interested on science rather than just reading science.

Daniel  Cadima  (Miami, FL)
Daniel Cadima (Miami, FL)

  • on Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:20 PM

Using recently published scientific articles, the author and teacher of a 6th grade class provided a way to integrate literacy and science into an elementary classroom. These students worked together (using a current scientific article that had been adapted to their age level by the author and teacher) to identify conclusions, decide if the article had appropriate evidence, suggest how improvements could be made, and recommend further investigations by the scientists. This experience provided opportunities for students to use current and relevant articles to decide on the quality of a scientific study—just like scientists would do. This article is very well written, completely showing how a teacher can implement it for the first time. Figure 1 shows the steps involved in taking a sample passage from an original scientific article and turning it into an adapted (or hybrid adapted literature as the author calls it) version. The article provides a model that teachers can follow to introduce and guide their students to read and approach the information/text the way a scientist would. Probing questions are provided, including a student sample answer, as well as a rubric for teacher assessment for a follow-up writing task. This article is a must-read for teachers wanting to use the more complex and difficult current events and articles in their classroom and need a clear guide to help them start. I recommend this article for any grade level, content area, or teacher that wishes to provide their students with a way to help them develop a better understanding of both scientific concepts and inquiry practices.

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia

  • on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:21 PM

Reading as a scientist teaches students strategies for evaluating how good or bad scientist study science. Having students involve on these evaluations is beneficial because it keeps students engage and therefore they don’t take it as a simple reading but they actually see it from something that is of their interest. Overall I believe it is good.

Anita Newsome  (Homestead, Florida)
Anita Newsome (Homestead, Florida)

  • on Sun May 08, 2011 10:48 PM

This article outlines a lesson for getting upper elementary students to think about reading a scientific study from the perspective of a scientist. There are specific questions for students to discuss while reading the article. There is a site that links you to scientific studies which have been adapted to the reading level of upper elementary/middle school students. I think the assessment activity is a little weak and a teacher could do something more creative to get students engaged in reporting out on the material.

Kate  (Louisville, CO)
Kate (Louisville, CO)

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