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ERIC Number: EJ1119347
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8148
Supporting Academic Language
Kelly, Laura Beth
Science and Children, v54 n3 p52-57 Nov 2016
Sometimes students manage to complete investigations without really using complex and scientific language. Even when they use scientific vocabulary, they do not always build logical arguments to communicate their findings. In this article, the author describes how several elementary science teachers addressed this challenge in after-school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) clubs and a summer STEM camp. The clubs and camps had a goal of increasing academic vocabulary among language learners, but the teachers shared a commitment to discussion and helping students use academic vocabulary to discuss scientific concepts meaningfully. The author shares the strategies they used to make scientific discussions work. The clubs included kindergarten to fifth-grade students. Two clubs taught in English included fluent English speakers and English learners. One club taught in Spanish included Mexican-American students who spoke fluent English and were learning STEM concepts in their heritage language of Spanish. The summer camp was entirely in English and included 75 diverse students from grades 3 through 5. These strategies should help teach students of all language backgrounds, including those who speak English fluently but lack familiarity with norms of scientific discussion.
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A