Prof David F Treagust, University in Perth, Australia
How can classrooms become communities of inquiry that connect intellectually challenging science content with language-based activities (opportunities to talk, listen, read, and write) especially in settings with diverse populations? This question guided a 3-year mixed-methods research study using the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH) approach in cooperation with 2 universities, area education agencies, 6 school districts, 32 elementary teachers, and over 700 students each year.
The participating teachers engaged in a yearly summer institute, planned units, implemented this curriculum in the classroom, and contributed to ongoing data collection and analysis. Findings demonstrate that critical embedded language opportunities contribute to an increase in student Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) scores in science and language based on level of implementation particularly for elementary students who receive free and reduced lunch (an indicator of living at the poverty level).