ILASCD Journal

Summer 2016

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Page 33 of 70

Article Incorporating Writing in the STEM/PBL Science Classroom John Krieger On Awesome Desserts and Writing Once, while attending a music festival, I came upon a vendor selling all types of baked goods. Among the fare was a dessert clearly marked "best dessert ever." Imagine yourself tasting this and finding it to be a small slice of heaven. Imagine yourself coming into possession of the recipe for the "best dessert ever." Excitedly you rush home to make, indulge, and share the "best dessert ever" with friends. Now imagine the disappointment you have when you find the recipe difficult to understand, tough to follow, and impossible to reproduce. This situation is what is indicative of what is happening in science classrooms around the country. Students are taught to think critically, to measure carefully, to record meticulously, but when it comes to writing, many of us fall short of the mark. If scientific information cannot be communicated effectively, and the findings repeatable, science itself is insignificant. Self reported surveys of American teachers indicate that in fourth through sixth grades students only spend between 20-25 minutes of seven hour day writing. In another study middle school through high school students only wrote a little over a page each week in language classes, and a little over two pages a week in all other classes combined (Primary Sources, 2012). A strong emphasis has been placed on integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics in the science classroom (STEM). More recently, advocates of ELA and the Arts have argued that this acronym should be changed to STEAM (the A is for the SUMMER 2016 | VOLUME 62 | NUMBER 2 | PAGE 34

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