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Discover the relationship between STEM subjects and literacy.
Pairing Science and Literacy—Gates Foundation
Video: 14 min 8 sec
Science teacher Michelle Buroker discusses her experience in writing LDC modules.
Energy Transfer
Lesson: Literacy Module
All parts of matter have kinetic energy. The kinetic energy of the particles can change speed, resulting in phase change. The three states of matter on Earth are solid, liquid, and gas. During this module, 8th grade science students read texts on states of matter, kinetic energy, and particles and write an informational essay using Template Task 11 that explains the motion of the particles through the states of matter.
What Are the Causes and Effects of Noise Pollution?
Lesson: Literacy Module
This 8th grade physical science module is structured around students’ background knowledge of the characteristics of mechanical longitudinal waves, including amplitude (decibels), frequency (hertz), compressions, rarefactions, pitch, loudness, wavelength, and speed. Here, students apply their knowledge to noise pollution and the effects it has on marine animals. They read articles about noise pollution and, using Task Template 24, construct an essay to determine if government regulations are needed to deter future noise pollution.
The Laws of Conservation and Photosynthesis
Lesson: Literacy Module
The laws of conservation of matter and conservation of energy are demonstrable through an examination of the photosynthetic process. This informational module affords 8th grade physical science students the opportunity to examine the relationship between matter and energy as evidenced by transformations that take place during photosynthesis. The student work will lead to a deeper understanding of the laws of conservation drawn from students' previous knowledge of a biological process. After researching texts on photosynthesis, the law of conservation of matter, and the law of conservation of energy, students will answer Template Task 13 by writing an informational essay that describes how the photosynthetic process can be used to demonstrate both the law of conservation of matter and the law of conservation of energy.
The Effect Algal Blooms Have on Marine Ecosystems
Lesson: Literacy Module
Population balance in marine ecosystems is crucial to sustaining a healthy system. The results of human activities, such as fertilizer run-off from nearby farmlands into the Mississippi River, can impact energy webs by offsetting predator-prey relationships. Seventh grade life science students are required to use scientific articles to research the cause and effect of algal blooms off the coast of the U.S. and write a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to inform the agency of the problem as well as suggest possible solutions. This informational module poses the project scenario to students by using Template Task 25.
Diseases in Livestock
Lesson: Literacy Module
Based on a real-world scenario, this module asks high school students in a career and technical education class to create an informational pamphlet for farmers and ranchers on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of livestock diseases, including bovine trichomoniasis.
Nuclear Sustainability
Lesson: Literacy Module
*EXEMPLAR MODULE* In this Project Based Learning (PBL) unit, 11th grade chemistry students are asked to answer the question, “Is nuclear energy sustainable?” by responding to Template Task 2. First, students are introduced to their task through an entry event in which they are given a brief introduction to the nuclear energy controversy and are told they will be writing an op-ed piece arguing for or against nuclear power based on their knowledge of the atom, nuclear chemistry, and nuclear power. They are also tasked with creating a public service announcement to persuade others of their views. After identifying what they know and want to learn about nuclear chemistry and nuclear power, they research the topics, complete labs and activities about atomic structure, read a number of different opinion pieces, and hear a presentation from an activist. They work collaboratively in groups for much of the process. Then they write their op-ed individually and complete the public service announcement in groups. The project concludes with presentations of their editorials and public service announcements to the class and community activists.
Lesson: Literacy Module
Earth is rich with an amazing variety of life. Is it important to preserve this biodiversity? This introductory writing assignment for a life science class focuses on introducing 7th grade students to the concept and importance of biodiversity. After reading articles on biodiversity, students write a report that defines “biodiversity” and explain its importance by following Template Task 11.
Pandemic: Catch the Fever
Lesson: Literacy Module
Which is more important: scientific freedom or the public's right to safety? Tenth grade students in a health class read three articles on the 1918 influenza pandemic genome and address the aforementioned question. The articles discuss the successful scientific research on reconstruction of the genome and the scientific community's decision to publish the complete genome. Using Template Task 8, students write an editorial that identifies a problem with publishing this research and argues in favor of or against controlling the publication of certain types of scientific research.
Should helmets be required?
Lesson: Literacy Module
Some states do not require children over a certain age to wear helmets or protective gear while riding a bike. However, there is a potential risk of injury for riders. In this science module, 6th grade students read texts on Newton's Laws of Motion, bodily injury, and current state laws on helmet requirements. Using Template Task 2, students write a letter arguing whether or not helmets should be required for adolescents during recreational activities.

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