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Vocabulary Solutions: A Mixture of Science, Conversation, and Writing

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Vocabulary Solutions: A Mixture of Science, Conversation, and Writing

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute Sessions
Lesson Author

David Brown

David Brown

Aurora, Missouri


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



This lesson begins with students investigating mixtures and solutions in a science experiment.  Afterward, students take part in shared writing to describe the experiment in their own words. They then acquire and apply new vocabulary by reading informational texts and revising to include content specific terminology and accurate science concepts. Finally, students reflect on new words added to their writing using the Trading Card Creator interactive.

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This lesson uses a shared experience to ignite discussion and conversation.  From this language rich environment, writing is linked to the content areas, breaking out of the literacy block and into other parts of the day.  Fisher & Frey (2013) contend that “writing cannot be limited to the literacy block if students are to succeed” (96). By incorporating language arts into the subject of science, students will see the need for conversation and revision as a way to comprehend and later explain technical terms.  Fisher & Frey (2014) also state, “vocabulary instruction should leverage interactions between teacher, student, and text such that students are continually growing in their ability to describe, explain, and query” (598).

They go on to  suggest that teachers “encourage students to apply academic vocabulary within the context of co-constructed knowledge” (Fisher & Frey, 2014;  598). By talking about the experiment and writing together, there is an emphasis on oral language development and interaction between students and teacher as students are given more opportunities to discuss concepts and create schema to connect to new vocabulary words.

Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2013). A range of writing across the content areas. The Reading Teacher, 67(2), 96-101. doi:10.1002/TRTR.1200


Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2014). Content area vocabulary learning. The Reading Teacher, 67(8), 594-599. doi:10.1002/TRTR.1258

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