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ERIC Number: EJ779605
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 29
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0741-0883
Fourth Graders Composing Scientific Explanations about the Effects of Pollutants: Writing to Understand
Chambliss, Marilyn J.; Christenson, Lea Ann; Parker, Carolyn
Written Communication, v20 n4 p426-454 2003
Explanation as a genre may support children's reasoning and understanding particularly effectively. In this study, 20 fourth graders were given the task of explaining the effects of a pollutant on an ecosystem to third graders. Before writing, they completed a commercially developed science unit, instruction in reading and writing an explanation, and text reading. An analysis of their writings revealed that all children used rhetorical devices to connect with third-grade readers. Sixteen children synthesized text content with personal experiences to compose subexplanations that reported information, gave examples, and presented scenarios and that were logically ordered to enhance reader understanding. Nine of these children explicitly used the scientific model to explain phenomena. Outcomes suggested that writing explanations supported children's reasoning about and understanding of an important scientific model.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 3; Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A