Science Assignment Common Core Science

They're HERE-- NEW Close Reading Selections with Text-Dependent Questions!!

Science and Literacy

Rationale for Implementation of Literacy Strategies in Science:
As science teachers, we understand that our students need time, practice, and lots of encouragement in order to learn how to read and write well. Learning how to read and write in science is an important part of scientific literacy, and it can help students understand and retain key science content (NSTA, 2008; NRC 1996; Saul 2004; Shanahan 2004). For students to come to understand science, they must be able to explain their thinking and develop arguments for their findings. In order to become lifelong learners who are capable of reading and writing about scientific issues, making educated decisions and participating in a democratic society, students must be able to read and understand the writing of others, evaluate its worth, and share the results of their own research and experience through writing (NSTA, 2008).

We have based our literacy work in science on the MA DESE ELA Framework which incorporates the Common Core for ELA. The emphasis for middle and high school content area literacy has specific targets for science and technical subjects. Our students need to be better prepared to read and understand informational text. Argumentation and Explanation are at the core of science; these are two important areas of the literacy writing standards. We are continuing our efforts to identify complex informational texts and challenging, engaging writing tasks in science to better support our students. Click HERE to download the 6-12 reading and writing standards for science.

NEW: Resources for Close Reading in Science 

We are excited to share the 41 new Close Reading/Text Dependent Questions sets that were developed by a team of 18 K-12 science teachers and the Science Department staff with guidance and support from David Pook, one of the collaborators of the CCSS. This team identified complex non-fiction text passages and developed text-dependent questions to support close reading assignments for each grade level. Although we are continuing to develop lesson guides to support the use of these materials in classrooms, we chose to post these materials as they become ready and encourage you to try them out and provide us with feedback. If you have suggestions of good non-fiction text passages, books, or articles, please share them with us!

Close Reading: Texts, Questions, and How-to Guides

We would like to thank our curriculum partners -- 
FOSS at the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC-Berkeley and their partner, Delta Education and 
STC from Smithsonian Science Education and their partner, Carolina Biological --
who have generously given us permission to include the text selection with the TDQs that we have developed. We thank them both! We hope that other publishers allow us to do the same, but for now, we will include either page references or weblinks.
Let us know if you have Close Reading/TDQ assignments to share with others!!


Practicing Argumentation
through the Common Writing Assignment in Science

Science Notebook Rubrics

Science notebooks are an integral part of the science curriculum for all K-12 students.  The form of the notebook itself may vary from teacher to teacher and from grade level to grade level but the overall intent of the notebook is the same – to help students document their work, make sense of it and use the notebook as a resource to revisit and apply their knowledge and insights in new learning situations.

Notebooks should be used nearly every day and be essential to the student’s work.  The notebook provides a record of classroom activities, laboratory experiences, and student reflections. The Science Department recommends that teachers assess science notebooks based on the quality of student work, its organization, and its completeness. 

No matter what form the notebook takes – whether it is a permanently-bound, chronologically-sequenced notebook with handouts taped in, a 3-ring binder organized by type of assignment, or something or your own design – there are some essential features that we recommend that all science notebooks include. 

Essential Notebook Features:
­ The science notebook is a daily record of the student’s experiences, ideas, and understandings about science.
­ The materials and entries are organized appropriately (as determined by teacher).
­ There is a Table of Contents to help the student and reader effectively use the notebook.
­ All entries are dated and titled/labeled.

­ There are four main assessment criteria for science notebooks: The two Quality Criteria involve classroom artifacts and student-generated entries for making sense of each lesson. (Explained further in the charts.) The two Structural Criteria involve the notebook’s organization and completeness.

Please make writing in science a part of every students' learning every day.

Download the Science Notebook Rubric for teachers for the grade bands below:

Science Notebook Supports: Notemaking in Science

There are some wonderful sites that we recommend as supports for your work with science notebooks in your classroom.

Science Notebooks in K-12 Classrooms:
North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership (NCOSP), a National Science Foundation funded Math and Science Partnership project, convened a group of education leaders from across Washington State. This group discussed the current state of science notebook use and reviewed hundreds of actual student notebooks. 

Vocabulary Strategies for Science Notebooks:
A great collection of samples that will help you find new ideas to teach and reinforce vocabulary from your lessons.
Many thanks to the teachers who worked with us to create these assignments; we never could have done it without you!
David Pook and members of the BPS Science Department Team --
Dean Martin, Erin Hashimoto-Martell, Bev Nadeau, Suzanne Gill, Jonathan McLaughlin, and Pam Pelletier -- worked with these teachers to develop Close Reading materials for classroom use.


This astronomy unit helps students develop a new perspective on the world they’re standing on. They will be given evidence that the Earth beneath our feet is actually ... More

This astronomy unit helps students develop a new perspective on the world they’re standing on. They will be given evidence that the Earth beneath our feet is actually moving through space, both spinning on its axis, and traveling in a great orbit around the Sun. They will see how these movements account for the patterns we see in our sky (the paths of our Sun across the sky, the changing seasons, and the changing constellations). Accompanying us on this journey are the Moon and planets, which the students will observe have their own patterns of movement in the sky. Throughout this investigation students will engage in actual and simulated observations of the sky, and they will engage in the process of inquiry: beginning with observations, debating a range of possible causes, and reasoning to possible conclusions. Less

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