Secondary Secondary Science

Secondary Science – Literacy skills in science

The written text for many pupils in science is a challenge.  Science is a process of learning a new language of complex terminology. Problems in coping with this new terminology can greatly hinder progress and enjoyment of the subject.

It is therefore important that science lessons provide the opportunity to develop ‘science and communication’ skills.

Here are some ideas of things that we use within my own department to provide further opportunities for the development of language skills such as:

  • Identification of key scientific words in a passage.
  • Using different colours on a worksheet to identify scientific words and definitions.
  • Using ‘Postits’ to match words and definitions as part of a developmental wall display.
  • Describing the scientific content of a paragraph in one sentence and the reasoning behind the whole article in a short paragraph.
  • Describing a set of apparatus – use the white board drawing scientific apparatus tool to draw a variety of equipment.
  • Writing an experimental plan using key words.
  • Describing the conclusion of an experiment using key words, phrases and conjunctives.
  • Making a drawing from a description or vice versa e.g. a specialised human cell.
  • Displays of key words for each year group.
  • Viewing a generic video where pupils will be called upon to identify the key scientific words provides an opportunity for pupils to develop literacy skills researching definitions to formulate a dictionary of terms. The activity may also be used to foster class discussion and debate.

Graham Farrall
Cleeve Park School

Leave a Comment