People keep looking at me funny when I tell them I have an internship that involves science and science education. “Wait… don’t you teach language arts?” Is the usual question I get. And, when I proceed to tell them that I’m incorporating the science into language arts lessons, they continue to stare and ask how that might be possible.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how “possible” it might be to take lab science and create an authentic language arts lesson. But, I like challenges.
The funny thing is, I’ve really found some great ways to connect science and language arts. As I write my lessons, I’m waiting to hit a road block, but I really haven’t hit any. Believe it or not, I really think science and language arts go hand in hand. I’m not saying that this whole process was too easy- no, I still had to brainstorm a lot, but I really loved every second of it.
One of the citizen science lessons my group had to include involved investigating DNA sequences. That made me a little nervous. Because I didn’t want to just throw an article or a writing assignment at my students- boring… and too easy. Instead, I started to think about poetry- kids really struggle with poetry, but I think once they get it, it’s all the more meaningful. I started to think about the way poetry is woven together and how that mimics the way DNA is woven together. If you change pieces of a poem, you get something totally new. Similarly, if you change the sequence of DNA, you get something totally new. Fascinating! Poems are like DNA! That led me to a lesson on “sequencing” poetry- chopping it apart to creating something new… Tada! I have a connection to science.
This experience has shown me how much I love finding these connections and making them meaningful to students. I might not be good at drawing or painting, but I truly think that writing lessons requires the same finesse. And once all your ideas click, it truly becomes a masterpiece!