Fostering Scientific Literacy

Science Students.jpg

Title: Fostering Scientific Literacy


In the modern world, we are always being bombarded with news reports regarding wildlife, medical information, climate and geological changes, the ethics of genetic research, the ethics of certain mining and energy practices, as well as hundreds of other topics that relate to science. It is important, as educators, to provide students with an accurate science curriculum, as well as an ability to discern between science and pseudo-scientific claims. Scientific literacy also provides students with an ability to develop problem-solving skills, form an appreciation of the natural world, and understand natural phenomena that impacts their daily lives.

Learning Outcomes

The purpose of this course is to provide empirical evidence and content ideas for fostering science literacy in the K-12 classroom. The learner will be able to:

  • View and understand the purpose of science literacy (Verbal)
  • Create real-world scientific lessons to foster scientific literacy (Intellectual Skill)
  • Evaluate the strategies suited for the users content area and grade level (Cognitive Strategy)
  • Investigate strategies for cross-curriculum content (Intellectual Skill)
  • Provide effective strategies for fostering scientific literacy (Attitude)
  • Understand the academic support behind the strategies, as laid out by the NSTA (Attitude)

Intent of Project:

The intent of this project is to provide a methodology to foster science literacy in science instruction.

Needs Analysis and Data Analysis:

1. Problem: Students of science often find it difficult to create a bridge between the language of science and the concepts being taught. Often, students will get hung-up on the difficulty of the language and fail to understand the concepts. Science literacy is not just the memorization of the language, but also understanding the practical side of science

2. What is to be learned: Learners will be provided with strategies to best foster science instruction and literacy.

3. The Learner: The learners will be teachers of any level interested in fostering science literacy, or anyone interested in helping students with science literacy acquisition skills.

4. Instructional Content: The activities in this course will provide evidence for fostering science literacy in education, provide instructional strategies, and example videos.

5. Exploring the Problem and Solution: Learners will have the opportunity to view, analyze, and integrate strategies for science literacy in the classroom.

6. Goals: The goal of this course is to provide teachers with instructional strategies that can easily be integrated into a science curriculum.

Performance Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify techniques for fostering science literacy within their own content and/or grade-level
  • Generate ideas, based on the lessons provided, to implement within a classroom setting
  • Develop cross-curriculum strategies within the context of literacy in science
  • Develop techniques and strategies for science literacy across all levels of multiple intelligence.

Task Analysis:

Unit 1:

Empirical evidence supporting the methods

  1. The learner will understand effective methods for implementing science strategies in the classroom
  2. The learner will identify strategies currently being used and how they can be integrated within current science curricula
  3. The learner will view NSTA recommendations for science literacy and available sources
  4. The learner will be engaged in learning more strategies and techniques for fostering literacy in science

Unit 2:

What is science literacy? How has it been implemented in the classroom?

  1. The learner will understand the meaning of "scientific literacy" and it's importance within the classroom
  2. The learner will see scientific methods implemented within the classroom at all levels through video models
  3. The learner will understand the different ways to create science lessons which foster literacy
  4. The learner will share strategies and resources for implementing science

Unit 3:

How can science literacy be fostered across the curriculum?
  1. The learner will understand how ELL strategies can be implemented within the science classroom
  2. The learner will view language strategies science classroom
  3. The learner will view math strategies for the science classroom within the science context

Curriculum Map:

Click on the following Curriculum Map: Fostering Scientific Literacy to view the course outline.

References and Resources:

1. NSTA. (2013). NSTA: National Science Teachers Association. Retrieved from

2. SciMath and the Minnesota Department of Education. (2013). Literacy in science. Retrieved from

3. Sessoms, T. (2012, March). In Terri Sessoms (Chair). Integrating literacy strategies instruction into science . Carolina curriculum leadership series Retrieved from Literacy.pdf

4. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. (Performer) (2000). Workshop 4: Conceptual change [Television series episode]. In Looking at Learning..Again, Part 2. Annenberg Foundation. Retrieved from

5. Educaiton Department Center. (Performer) (2000). Learning science through inquiry [Television series episode]. In Learning Science Through Inquiry: Workshops 1-8. New York: Annenberg Foundation. Retrieved from

6. Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Williams, D. (2002). Seven literacy strategies that work. Reading and Writing in the Content Areas, 60(03), 70-73. Retrieved from Defensible Strategies.doc (Read-Only).pdf

7. Schneider, P. (2003). The genetics and evolution of skin color: the case of desiree's baby. Retrieved from

8. Eastern Connecticut Public Liberal Arts University. (Photographer). (2013, Sept 19). Science Students [Web Photo]. Retrieved from

9. Criminal Justice Collaboratory Colby Community College. (Photographer). (2011, Dec 10). Evidence jpg [Print Photo]. Retrieved from Profiling Overflow Page

10. Yale University. (Photographer). (2012, May 29). Science Literacy [Print Photo]. Retrieved from

11. Larson, G. (2003). The complete farside: 1980-1994. (1st ed.). Andrews McMeel Publishing.

12. Chopin, K. (1993). Desiree's baby. Computer's Library. Retrieved from

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