Science students at all grade levels often struggle with the vocabulary, according to the NSTA blog. It’s as if we’re all SLLs—Science Language Learners. Textbooks and websites are full of specialized words that challenge our students. Some are technical and relate specifically to science (e.g., photosynthesis, thermodynamics, plate tectonics) while others have meanings in science that differ from common usage (e.g., theory, hypothesis, matter). Sometimes we think that students understand a word, only to find out on an assessment that they are confused. For example, my middle school students often interchanged the words medium and median, and they didn’t realize...
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