English Language Arts Grade 5
Reading: Informational Text Standard 5
This activity introduces students to the idea that science writing is organized in identifiable patterns called text structures. Understanding and using these different text structures help refine students' abilities to both read and write in science.
Teacher Resources on Nonfiction Writing
Informational Science Trade Books
As you develop resources for teaching text structures, begin with texts you already have in your classroom. You will find text structures in all expository writing. The following list of trade books has fifth grade science core connections that contain examples of the text structure listed.You could also find these text structures in Social Studies Texts
Compare and Contrast
Cause and Effect
Problem and Solution
Reading and writing are essential skills in science. This activity introduces students to the idea that science writing is organized in identifiable patterns called text structures. Understanding and using these different text structures help refine students’ abilities to both read and write in science. The following five patterns are commonly found in science writing:
||Cause and Effect|
|Compare and Contrast|
A close reading of the Science Core Curriculum Standards, Objectives, and indicators suggests when writing might be used as part of science instruction. Verbs such as “describe,” “compare,” and “explain” signal that writing is an appropriate activity for that objective. That is not to say writing should be the only activity. Inquiry experiences and other hands-on science activities should be the center of science instruction. Writing is a good way to help students clarify their thinking, unite the big ideas in an objective, and to assess learning.
Because this lesson focuses on writing skills, it may actually be best taught in the language arts block. Writing is the perfect way to integrate science and language arts. Science gives students something—topics—to write about. Writing helps solidify understanding in science.
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Invitation to Learn
Show students the Text Structure Sample Sentence Strips, then post them on a chart or the board. Explain that science writing is often expository writing--writing that explains information and ideas-- and that it is organized in different patterns called text structures. Show them the Text Structure Word Cards. Have students read the Text Structure Sample Sentence Strips and match them with the Text Structure Word Cards.
This activity may be done with the whole class or in a small group setting.
|DESCRIPTION||Golden Eagles are powerful raptors with large dark brown bodies and small heads with golden crowns.|
|SEQUENCE||First Golden Eagles soar high along ridges near their nests. They search for prey. When a meal is spotted, they attack in a long swoop.|
|COMPARE AND CONTRAST||Golden Eagles are apt to hunt for prey while Bald Eagles are more likely to take an easy meal.|
|CAUSE AND EFFECT||So many Bald Eagles were killed by pesticides and illegal hunting that they were in danger of becoming extinct.|
|PROBLEM AND SOLUTION||When a raptor species declines, scientists take wild bird eggs to raise in captivity and increase the number of birds.|
These procedures use direct instruction to explicitly teach students different science text structures. The same general process is used for teaching each text structure. Ideally, you should introduce and model each text structure separately. Next, give repeated practice in identifying the structure and then continue to reinforce it as it is encountered in science texts. When the students are proficient at identifying and understanding the organization of the structure, teach them to use it in their own science writing. Three writing activities that use specific text structures are included in this handbook: Using Description to Write in Science, Using Compare and Contrast to Write in Science, and Using Cause and Effect to Write in Science.
||FEATURES OF THE TEXT STRUCTURE|
||Main idea, unique features, supporting ideas, examples.|
||Lists in order a series of events, steps in a process.|
|COMPARE AND CONTRAST
||Lists and explains similarities and differences of two ideas.|
||Explains causes or reasons and the results or effects.|
||States a problem and possible solutions or answers.|
||KEY WORDS FOUND IN THE TEXT STRUCTURE|
||for example, involves, can be defined, for instance, on, over, next to, also, within|
||to begin with, first, second, in addition, next, then, last, finally, another, also, earlier, later|
|COMPARE AND CONTRAST
||different from, same as, alike, like, similar to, unlike, as well as, yet, either or, not only but also, although, most, however, on the other hand, opposite, opposed to,while|
|CAUSE AND EFFECT
||because, so that, thus, unless, therefore, since, in order to, as a result of, this led to, then, reasons for, then so, for this reason, consequently, an explanation for|
|PROBLEM AND SOLUTION
||problem is, a solution is, solved by, alternative, possible answer, therefore, conclusion, evidence is, a reason for|
Use informal assessment to check for understanding in reading discussions. Reteach in small guided-reading groups as necessary. Give students examples of several different text structures and have them identify the text structures.