Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Obtain, Evaluate, Communicate!

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Obtain, Evaluate, Communicate!

Article excerpt

It's arguable that all science learning begins and ends with obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. We think of scientists and engineers working in the laboratory or doing field research, but--in a remarkable finding--it turns out that reading and writing comprise over half the work of practicing scientists and engineers (NRC 2011; Tenopir and King 2004). The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) note the importance of allowing students to engage in the science and engineering practice of obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information (Practice 8):

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"Being able to read, interpret, and produce scientific and technical
text are fundamental practices of science and engineering...
Communicating information, evidence, and ideas can be done in multiple
ways: using tables, diagrams, graphs, models, interactive displays, and
equations as well as orally, in writing, and through extended
discussions."--(NGSS Lead States, Appendix F, p. 64).

Reading primary science literature, typically filled with jargon and dense tables, diagrams, and graphs, can be challenging for students. One solution has been called "adapted primary literature," scientific papers rewritten to an appropriate reading level for a student audience while maintaining the canonical form of the original articles (see "Resources").

Communicating science and engineering understanding can be equally challenging, but the rewards are great. Communicating to an audience in a poster session or other presentation can give students a unique opportunity to synthesize ideas and solidify understanding. Keeping a science notebook or journal--including drawings, numbers, and words--can reinforce this important practice. …

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