Serious Writing Starts in Middle School
Middle school is a place where writing should be deliberately integrated into all subjects. Science is no exception. From notes to lab reports to CER justifications, writing is an important skill that can and should be practiced beyond English class. In fact, I believe there is no place better for practicing writing skills than in the middle school science classroom.
Cross Into Cross-Curricular
Cross-curricular instruction has been a hot topic for many years in education, and I think it is only going to increase in popularity for many reasons. With ELA integration, students apply what they have learned in different ways. Writing activities can increase engagement and push the rigor up a level or two. They also appeal to different learning styles and can deepen the learning experience for students on both ends of the academic spectrum.
The Spectrum of Writing in Science
What are some ways you can increase the writing skills of your science students beyond the typical CER paragraph? It could be anything! They could try...
- describing something scientific they observed over the weekend
- writing a comic strip about a scientific discovery
- making a travel brochure for another planet
- designing an invention to combat the human impact on ocean systems
- writing a news report on a geological event
- producing a television commercial script for digital or analog signals
- composing a song about day, night, and seasons
- describing a day in the life of a ray of sunshine
- writing a call to action letter to your city council about a recent project that causes environmental change
- creating a poem to compare unicellular and multicellular organisms
- writing a creative narrative about an event that includes speed, velocity, and acceleration
- conducting an interview with a famous scientist and imagining what they might say
- writing a script for a skit about gravity and planetary motion
- ...the possibilities are endless!
Where can you incorporate these writing assignments? You can use writing activities as pre-assessment tools to find out what students already know. Include them as student choice projects, elaboration activities, or a differentiated assessment format. If you're into giving extra credit, a writing assignment is a worthy candidate.
As you know, one of my favorite things is to create high-quality materials that help teachers save time while maintaining rigor and engagement. With this in mind, I developed Writing Prompt Activities that are creative, low prep, and student-centered, which can be used on their own or with any of the other Kesler products. With over 10 different types of writing formats that span 145 topics, your students can be challenged in different types of writing.
So, whether you use your own ideas or mine, keep those students writing!