Writing: What’s the Purpose? What’s the Structure?

Writing can be hard. For many students, the act of writing is a challenge and not top on their list of what they want to be doing in science. Experiment. Build. Innovate. Those words often come to mind before “write”. Yet, students need to learn to write and if not now, when? If not writing about science in science, where? 

Writing in science is an area of growth for me and I appreciate any and all feedback, suggestions and ideas. I realize that the clearer I am on my purpose and understanding of what I want students to do, the more chance of success students will have. As we continue to work on writing up evidence to support the claim that Yeast is a Living Organism, I went back and forth over what students should be provided with as a structure or scaffold. As my teaching goal was not organization, I decided to provide students with the organization of this writing piece.

electron microscope budding yeast 

(Image courtesy of National Geographic)

The image above shows budding yeast cells. My class is beginning to think about the structure of living organisms and how cells function. I want their minds to be focused on writing about evidence. I wonder how well they can connect evidence to discussed characteristics of life. Cut them a break. If we’re not specifically working on how to structure the writing piece, then give it them! Several students in each class are already there. They naturally think in an organized way or have spent time writing in a formal manner. For many others, the opening challenge of how to structure their writing is a huge obstacle. I hope that by providing them with a smooth path of how to show their understanding, they can spend more time explaining evidence. Other thoughts?



2 thoughts on “Writing: What’s the Purpose? What’s the Structure?

  1. I knew it was a bad sign for me as a math teacher when management made me quit teaching writing about math. The NCTM standards meet the need to learn through language, but administrators don’t always get it. And to think that they are telling us how to teach our students! I don’t blog (www.mathnook.com/blog) about constructivism; I don’t have the forum. But I think Lev Vygotzky is smiling from heaven to see you help these kids grow by making meaning.

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