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Lesson Plan

I Wonder: Writing Scientific Explanations With Students

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

Denton, Texas


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



If you have ever had your class interrupted by a thunderstorm or by a bug crawling across the carpet, you know that students naturally question the world around them. This lesson encourages second-grade students to ask questions about a specific topic, choose a particular question to explore in detail, and research the question using a variety of resources. Students organize their information on a "What we think we know," "What we have confirmed we know," and "New facts we have learned through research" (TCF) chart. They then collaborate to write a class scientific explanation.

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Fact Fragment Frenzy: This interactive tool supports students’ writing of their scientific explanations by helping them find the facts in what they read.

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Buss, K., & Karnowski, L. (2002). Reading and writing nonfiction genres. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Buss and Karnowski suggest that seeking information to find out about a topic of interest or to confirm already existing knowledge is a common activity for children. Stead challenges teachers to pair information seeking with scientific exploration to create an even more enriching experience for students.


Stead, T. (2001). Is that a fact: Teaching nonfiction writing K–3. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

Stead defines scientific explanations as a kind of writing that "describes why something happens or is as it is (for example, why wood floats)" or "describes how something works or was formed (for example, how planes fly)."

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