Science and Children's Literature
Effective science education has evolved to include
investigative practices and experience-driven learning to promote developed
understandings in science. A student’s curiosity is the conduit to exploration,
questioning and using inquiry in the teaching and learning of science at the
elementary level. Because science is a discipline that involves the
inclusion of other core content ideas as a component and function of
exploration, science education can become the platform for interdisciplinary
curriculum. The result of this aspect in teaching and learning science is
to further the connection of multiple content to student interest.
Children’s literature is a common thread, weaving various content into investigative learning as it enhances the study of all content areas. The introduction of accurate trade books into the elementary curriculum facilitates a connection with content by providing background knowledge, the introduction of new ideas and vocabulary as well as the catalyst to motivate students to learn more about a topic of study. Using children’s literature to support science teaching and learning is the specific focus of this project. Science and Children’s Literature in Elementary Education connects the use of trade books to support and enhance science learning through literature inclusion.
Children’s literature that relates unerring content information compliments science instruction by prompting exploration (science process skills) and the occasion to pursue scientific thinking through wonder and inquiry (investigative and inquiry-based learning). Children’s literature integrated into science instruction can be a motivating force to develop content knowledge as well as stimulate a sense of wonder about the natural world. Reading trade books can be the vehicle for students to ask questions about the world, design investigations to gain a clearer understanding of scientific ideas and form connections of scientific ideas to their real life experiences and prior knowledge.
The opportunities for students to discover greater content connections and enhanced understanding of subjects are increased with the integration of meaningful, content-related children’s literature. Using this strategy in teaching and learning has the potential to promote science literacy through multiple contexts. The integration of literature into the science curriculum promotes interdisciplinary learning, while an integrated approach to teaching elevates the potential for student learning of both literacy and science content. The use of an integrated teaching model provides students authentic learning opportunities that promote the development of understanding through multiple contexts and disciplines.
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