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I am hoping to have “word walls” in my classroom for subject areas. What would be some beneficial words no matter the age level for the science classroom?  — H., Iowa

Great idea! I have always maintained that teaching science is also like teaching a new language to students. Working on vocabulary to use when communicating scientifically is important and should start at an early age.

In conjunction with words highlighting cross-cutting concepts, I believe that it would be ideal to have actions, skills, processes, and terms that span across all topics and disciplines of science on your word wall. Check your curriculum documents and you’ll find many such words.

Rather than have a list of words on the wall for students to memorize, developing your wall should also be an excellent learning activity for your class. Have them brainstorm the words they believe should be on the wall after some readings or activities on the nature of science. Depending on the grade level, you could have groups present or make a case to include each word. The wall does not have to be static. Add to it as the year passes. To bolster terminology specific to some topics, you could create a temporary word wall alongside your cross-cutting words.

Words I believe cut across all disciplines and could be used and taught at almost any age (in no particular order and by no means exhaustive):

Proof Researching Experimenting Designing
Evidence Observing Variables Theories
Fact Recording Controls Conjectures
Data Questioning Hypotheses Laws
Inquiring Communicating Repeatability Conclusions

Hope this helps!  


Photo credit:  Science Scope

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