Science reading involves questioning and predicting, wondering what will happen when certain elements are mixed or when force is applied. In order to cultivate this type of curiosity during reading, it’s important to get students in the habit of making predictions.
Utilize the 4-step prediction process when introducing a new unit concept or science principle.
Step 1: Before reading about the concept, provide a prediction activity for students to experience. Start with the curiosity piece to engage students in wanting to learn.
A prediction activity might be a demonstration, experiment, or a video clip. The point of the activity is to pique interest in the concept as to what will happen when the concept or principle is applied. But pause the demonstration, experience, or video clip just before the answer is revealed. Have students write down their predictions.
Step 2: Now complete the demonstration, experience, or video clip.
Step 3: Now, don’t invite students to discuss what they think–not yet! Without background knowledge, the only thing students can talk about at this point would be I think and What ifs. They don’t know why they were right or why they were wrong.
First they need to read about the science principle or concept that was in play. They’re motivated to discover facts to explain their experience.
Step 4: Once they’ve read the text, now you engage the class in conversation. Now they talk about how and why their predictions were right or wrong–rooting their reasoning in science.