Integrating Language and Content to Teach Science

In this blog post I will explain how it is possible to teach Science through the use of narrative writing.

I used to work in a school where I co-taught and co-planned with Science teachers.  One particular lesson that will always stand out for me is a lesson we co-planned and co-taught that involved our learners learning about the journey that sound makes as it travels through the ear.

We were lucky enough to have Professor Pauline Gibbons observe the lesson and comment that it was a model of how to integrate language and content.

The lesson involved a range of EAL strategies and involved learners using a all four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking to learn about the journey that sound makes through the ear.

Here is an outline of the activities.  You can download the PowerPoint and Barrier activity from the links provided at the bottom of this page.  But I have also embedded the slides in to the post to show an outline of the lesson.

  1. On mini whiteboards, learners show their understanding of how sound travels by answering questions.  This activity is used as a prior knoweldge check.
  2. Share content and language objectives (taken from the SIOP course I have completed).
  3. THINK, PAIR, SHARE strategy to check learners prior knowledge and to share what they know about the topic.
  4. Learners complete a barrier activity in which they fill in the gaps for the missing labels for parts of the ear.
  5. Dictogloss strategy in which the teacher reads a short version of the journey that sound takes through the air.  Dictogloss are great activities to do with EAL learners.  It would be good to pair more proficient with less proficient language ability.
  6. Share / ask learners for what language is needed to write a story.  For me this tied in with work that they learners were doing in another subject (English).
  7. In groups, learners use their dictogloss and narrative language features to re tell the story that sound takes through the ear.
  8. Groups perform their narrative to the whole class.

I really enjoyed planning and teaching this lesson and to me it is an effective example of how I, as an EAL specialist, can work with a subject/content teacher to help integrate content and language.

Journey through the ear PowerPoint

Parts of the Ear Barrier Activity Barrier Activity

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