Learning about science through listening to lectures and reading about it, though valuable, isn’t always enough to truly engage students. Learning by doing science through hands-on science activities and experiments lets students see what they’ve learned in action and develop a deeper understanding of the subject.
An engaging science curriculum also allows students to connect it to other disciplines, such as English language arts, and an ELA-based science curriculum can save educators time on instruction.
Science is a language-based endeavor. Scientists read journals. They write articles. They collaborate to do research by speaking and listening to one another. They make presentations and listen to others do the same. Within the course of a single day, a scientist may be involved in all these areas of language usage. The same is true for science learning. In this way, science is intimately connected to English language arts, and English language arts experiences could readily involve science.
HMH Into Science links two disciplines—science and ELA—through tools such as Activity Guides and FUNomenal Readers. The Activity Guides consist of hands-on science activities that allow students to explore their understanding of science and make connections to the real world. Additionally, the guides feature informational text and workbooks to help students develop their ELA skills.
The FUNomenal Readers featured in the program are Above-, On-, and Below-leveled, standalone reading experiences that explore a lesson’s anchoring phenomenon. HMH Into Science’s careful Lexile leveling and a commitment to maintaining the same content across levels result in all students possibly participating in Reader-based class discussions and explorations.
Here’s a deeper dive into how the Activity Guides and FUNomenal Readers featured in the program develop ELA skills:
- Prompts and sentence starters allow students to record what they observe and wonder about.
- Speaking and Listening
- Prompts lead individuals and small groups to discuss ideas, present approaches to others, and analyze communication among themselves.
- Hands-on Activities begin with a paragraph of background information; explorations consist of one or more paragraphs of explanatory text.
- Three Science Stretch activities offer opportunities for students to respond to ideas in the reading in writing.
- Some prompts ask for simple or straightforward responses, such as creating a list; others ask for more elaborate responses, such as writing a diary entry.
- Speaking and Listening
- The fourth Science Stretch activity prompts students to connect with one another through conversation.
- The topical focus of each Reader is science; however, the treatment of the topics spans ELA-recognized genre, from nonfiction to biography, narrative nonfiction, fact-based realistic fiction, and sometimes, fact-based fantasy.
- Anchor Charts, referenced provide added support for using knowledge of genre and text structure as aids to comprehension.
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