Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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8

Science

Bringing It All Together

Conclusion

Toward the beginning of these units on teaching literacy skills in science, it was emphasized that inquiry is at the heart of the scientific enterprise. Professional scientists don’t generally refer to what they do as inquiry. They call it research, and recognize that asking questions drives everything they do. In the classroom, helping students develop their inquiry and literacy skills is a highly effective way to learn science. Even in the face of high-stakes testing that may emphasize “facts” over deeper conceptual understanding, literacy and inquiry-based learning facilitate future learning and are generally a better path toward long-term retention of learning.

The importance of peers and the role of the scientific community have also been emphasized in honing the communication skills of scientists, which include: writing and presenting as well as reading, discussing, listening, and editing. The classroom, and the variety of peer interactions that you foster, replicates the settings of scientific research to great potential advantage. 

As your students’ literacy skills develop and their disciplinary interests mature, it is very likely that you will have helped nurture some of the next generation of highly accomplished scientists; they will be even more effective scientific thinkers and communicators. For all students, including those who do not pursue advanced studies in a scientific or engineering discipline, the habits of mind of following evidence, being skeptical, and asking questions will serve them well through a lifetime of learning.