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Composing Science: Using Writing Effectively in Science Classrooms

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  • we will use google docs during our presentation.

    !

    to find our workshop materials, please see

    http://www.composingscience.com click on Workshop Resources page

    !!

    you will have access to these materials after the presentation via the Composing Science website.

    http://www.composingscience.com

  • COMPOSING SCIENCEleslie atkins elliott

    boise state university

    !

    kim jaxon

    california state university, chico

  • STRUCTURE OF THE SESSION

    background: ideas from composition studies

    examples from our course

    reading text

    whiteboards

    peer feedback (silent science)

    final discussion

  • THINGS WE KNOW. from our composing science site, open Mark Halls Some

    Givens

    as you read, use the comments" button to add notes, questions or ideas, for example:

    what do you agree with? disagree with?

    is there something you find confusing?

    does this spark an idea for you?

  • TEACHING WRITING

    what does this mean for teaching writing in science?

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/19Hk0B0i1486FJfRxNLHE0_hyjhHNq10_v-NHzPfPtYM/edit

  • READING TOGETHER & WRITING TOGETHER

    annotated google docs as a way to help students understand texts

  • HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC WRITING

    1. Concealment of rhetoric

    it is not a laboratory notebook... Cleansed of messiness, portrays knowledge as unproblematic, unambiguous, repeatable truths... (Collins & Shapin)

    !

    2. Use of grammatic metaphors

    turn happenings into stable phenomena (parameter-induced stochastic resonance) (Halliday, 2004)

  • HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC WRITING

    3. Empirical evidence as a tool of persuasion

    Observation and experiment ... are the handmaidens to the rational activity of generating arguments in support of knowledge claims... (Driver, Newton & Osborne)

    4. Addressivity of science texts

    high degree of intertexuality, invites, in fact solicits, responses from others and seeks to engage them... (Sharma & Anderson)

    5. Coordinates multiple modes

    connecting representation, mathematics, images, text

  • HALLMARKS OF SCIENTIFIC WRITING

    concealment of rhetoric:

    final form, a rhetoric of conclusions (Duschl; Schwab)

    grammatic metaphors:

    ambiguous, abstract, remote from concrete experience

    role of evidence:

    easily misunderstood as proof or goal of inquiry

    addressivity:

    requires a knowledge of the ongoing debate

    multiple modes:

    requires understanding and translating between modes

  • WHITEBOARDS

    In groups of 3 - 4, play with the maglite and notice the spot of light that it creates and how that changes when you twist the base.

    Take 10 (or so) minutes to determine what you think is causing that pattern and to put your ideas on the whiteboard.

    A tip: use dry-erase markers to color part of the reflector

  • WHITEBOARDS AS SCIENCE WRITING

    Latour (1990) found that when scientists were unable to access their graphs, they hesitated, stuttered, and talked nonsense (p. 22) and were only able to resume the conversation when a graph was scribbled onto whatever scrap of paper was at hand.

  • WHITEBOARDS AS PROCESS

    Process comes before product. Writing practices are more important than individual papers.

    whiteboards (and other ways of sharing ideas as inscriptions in public ways) is process for scientists.

    informal - but disciplinary - writing.

  • SILENT SCIENCE

    Take 10 minutes and half a sheet of paper to answer the following prompt:

    explain (using words and/or diagrams) what is happening when the lightbulb is at the central spot for the maglite

    Please write your name on your paper.

  • SILENT SCIENCE: FEEDBACK(1) do you understand what the author is saying/showing? if so, you might paraphrase it (youre saying ); if not, point out what is unclear or paraphrase what you think they might be saying.

    (2) do you agree with what the author is saying? If so, comment on that. If not, why not? Explain why you disagree with their idea.

    (3) Note what the author is doing well or what more they might do to help convey their ideas.

  • SILENT SCIENCE & WRITING

    revisit the Things We Know - how does silent science facilitate learning to write? develop writing processes?

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1y2TxNyllvePOumUYu0lJrTRf-tX9dESY6XIYbZcYAzs/edit

  • WHAT NEXT? these assignments are in service of developing understanding,

    crafting well-written explanations, attending to peers ideas, and constructing diagrams.

    students often struggle with writing because they must have something to say and someone to say it to: our courses create opportunities to develop ideas.

    the structures are a small part of a larger set of activities and assignments including notebooks, homework, gallery walks, exams, and final papers.

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