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1 ThE R 1AGUAIP31 DOF stnw(c& Abstract. Vocabulary is the essential element of comprehending concepts in content areas. Many words used in science content-area materials are used to define concepts and to increase the conceptual development of the content area. Conceptual development is a major goal of content-area instruction. Without a clear understanding of the language of the science content, students will certainly experience difficulty and a lack of interest with their science contentarea material. Providing students with inquiry strategic vocabulary strategies can significantly support their understanding and interest concerning the language of science. As a result of using engaged vocabulary strategies, teachers can help students bridge the gap between the language of the science content and the language and background knowledge that students bring to the class. This article is easily adaptable for grades 6-12, and it is applicable to all science areas. It provides the middle and high school science teacher with five engaged learning vocabulary strategies that will help students become active participants in the learning process as they master their content area material. In addition, the article offers a pre- and postevaluation Science Vocabulary Questionnaire. Key words: conceptual development, content literacy mastery, source-based approach, word-meaning, concept strategies EDYTH YOUNG is an assistant professor in the Department of Literacy Education at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois. Her research interests focus on the impact and scalability of employing research-based literacy instruction and comprehensive school reform principles to close the achievement gap. The investigation of reliable strategies and program designs for enhancing content literacy mastery for struggling learners at the middle and secondary levels is also a research focus. She provides K-12 literacy professional development and curriculum designs across the country. She is also registered as a professional development provider for the Illinois State Board of Education. Vocabulary strategies and explicit instruction should not just be allocated to the English teacher's instruction. It is important that every content-area teacher teach vocabulary (Blachowicz and Fisher 2002). Students' first requirement for understanding what they read in science is to understand the language (i.e., vocabulary of the content) within text and classroom instruction in which their science material is presented (Thelen 1984). Students' level of understanding concerning their science vocabulary is an excellent predictor of their ability to understand science text. In addition, prior knowledge and building background knowledge facilitates students' comprehension of science text, vocabulary, and key concepts. APPROACHES TO TEACHING SCIENCE VOCABULARY The value of the vocabulary strategies described below is that they incorporate concepts from several different research-backed approaches in an engaging way. Here is a brief look at the approaches behind the strategies. "* Science subjects are loaded with terminology and concepts. To improve students' comprehension by increasing their vocabulary, Gunning (1998) recommends the following actions: "* Contextualize word meanings: Use the words within real and meaningful content-area text. "* Establish relationships: Help students discover how new vocabulary words are related to each other and to words they already know. "* Provide multiple exposure and usage of words: Promote accessibility, active manipulation, and internalization. Examples of multiple exposures for science terminology are word analogies, associations, classifications, definition examples, same-meaning words, opposite-meaning words, word origins, word parts, context clues, and cloze statements. 12

2 Summer 2005 SCIENCE ACTIVITIES 13 It is also important that teachers understand and develop the following core types of vocabulary (Armbruster and Osborn 2001): 1. Listening vocabulary: These are words we need to know to understand what we hear. 2. Speaking vocabulary: These are words we use when we speak. 3. Reading vocabulary: These are words we need to know to understand what we read. 4. Writing vocabulary: These are words we use in writing. Nilsen and Nilsen (2004) offer an excellent source-based approach for teaching vocabulary. This approach starts with basic concepts that teach vocabulary and language by dealing with using the known to understand the unknown and moving from the concrete to the abstract. Linski, Wham, and Johns (2003) also offer excellent examples of content literacy strategies that foster word meaning and concept development. The above types of approaches are valuable resources for ensuring content literacy mastery in science subject areas. The teaching of complex concepts requires multidimensional teaching techniques (Stahl 1999). This is especially true for concepts germane to science education and bridging the gap between the language of the content and the language of the students. SCIENCE VOCABULARY QUESTIONNAIRE The Science Vocabulary Questionnaire (Young 1996) is a tool that could be used as an evaluative or reflective tool for students and teachers to examine students' thinking and use of effective vocabulary strategies (Figure 1). It is recommended that content-area teachers have students complete the questionnaire before they provide the explicit wordmeaning concept strategies offered within this article. The questionnaire should be given again after students have been provided with instructional modeling, peer-group collaborative vocabulary work, and individual practice using vocabulary strategies in science content-area reading. ENGAGED LEARNING CONTENT-AREA VOCABULARY STRATEGIES: The following word-meaning concept strategies can be used to effectively engage students in their science vocabulary and concept learning. Vocabulary TV Visualization Vocabulary TV Visualization is a word-meaning concept strategy that was developed as a part of Young's (1996) school-wide curriculum design to support high school learners and Title I students who were struggling with content-area conceptual development. This vocabulary strategy helps students internalize key vocabulary words by creating a mental image and interest. The directions for the Vocabulary TV Visualization strategy are delineated in Figure 2. The content teacher should provide whole-class guided practice with the strategy. Afterwards, students should work with the strategy in small collaborative, interactive groups and individually. The process of visualization coaching is an excellent tool to guide and enhance students' understanding of content and text (Zeigler and Johns 2004). Definition Map The Definition Map helps students to brainstorm their ideas and link concepts related to a key vocabulary word (Figure 3). The map helps them review their background knowledge and make meaningful connections, which is very important because dictionary definitions could be confusing to students, and they might select an incorrect or partial definition. The purpose of the Definition Map is to help students clearly define a word and to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of words (Schwartz and Raphael 1985). Teachers can help students define and understand words by coaching students to use the following three core questions related to a key vocabulary word. 1. What is it? (How is the word categorized?) 2. What is it like? (What are some characteristics of the word?) 3. What are some examples? (What examples can you think of that are related to the word?) The science content teacher should provide whole-class guided practice with the strategy using a key content-area vocabulary word and should go over the three core questions that make up the definition map. After the whole-class guided practice and modeling are provided, the students should work with the strategy in small collaborative interactive groups and individually. Figure 3 provides an example of a vocabulary word that could be covered in a science weather unit. Personal Clue Cards Personal Clue Cards are extremely effective in supporting long-term retention and application of vocabulary words and concepts (Young, Righeimer, and Montbriand 2002). Students are to develop personal clues (brain signals) for each one of their core science terms deemed important to a chapter or unit of study. This method is an excellent replacement of the traditional method of looking up a word and writing the definition. Students are encouraged to make mental associations to come up with their personal clues for remembering and associating with a given word. The science content teacher should provide whole-class guided practice with the strategy by (a) having the student write the key word, (b) helping the student define the key vocabulary word with concrete simplicity, and (c) helping the students

3 14 SCIENCE ACTIVITIES Vol. 42, No. 2 Date: Name: 1. Why should you build a good science vocabulary? State two reasons. (1) (2) 2. What role do context clues, word parts, and the dictionary have on your science vocabulary? Context Clues = Word Parts = Dictionary = 3. What can hinder your reading comprehension of science material? 4. What would you say is the best method to build your science vocabulary? 5. Identify and explain at least 3 vocabulary strategies to help you to understand your science subject. 6. Are you convinced that it is important to build your science vocabulary? Circle: Yes or No If yes, explain what idea convinced you. If you are not convinced, explain why. FIGURE 1. Pre- and Postevaluation Science Vocabulary Questionnaire. make associations to develop their personal clue. After the whole-class guided practice is provided, students should work with the strategy in small collaborative groups and individually. Figure 4 provides a science example. Rate Your Words The Rate Your Words Strategy (Young, Righeimer, and Montbriand 2002) is adapted from Knowledge Rating Scale (Blachowicz 1986). The Knowledge Rating Scale was designed as a prereading activity to help students assess their level of understanding of featured vocabulary words. The students have to review and analyze their background knowledge related to their content vocabulary words. In the example in Table 1, the science teacher identified six vocabulary words in the first column of the chart. The students have to rewrite each word on the chart under one of four category headings to indicate their level of knowledge related to the words. This activity helps promote students' metacognitive ability. Semantic Feature Analysis Semantic Feature Analysis (Johnson and Pearson 1984) offers a reflective way of mapping key vocabulary words that help students carefully examine relationships among associated words and concepts (see Table 2 for an example). The strategy is excellent for fostering critical and associative thinking. The Semantic Feature Analysis strategy has been proven effective with struggling readers and students with learning disabilities (Pittleman, et al. 1991). The key vocabulary column on the left depicts the key words that will be used for analysis and feature associations. The words across the top row are the features that will be compared for similarities and differences. When providing the students with whole-class guided practice, teachers should instruct students to put a plus (+) by features that are associated with the key vocabulary word. They should put a minus (-) by features that are not associated with the key vocabulary word. After the whole-class guided practice is

4 Summer 2005 SCIENCE ACTIVITIES 15 I. Draw a visual image of a television screen. Next, draw the visual image in the TV screen that comes to your mind related to the key vocabulary word. For example, what visual image do you have for the word "bouyancy"? 2. Use simpler words to describe the vocabulary word or phrase. 3. Write three synonyms for your word. 4. Write three antonyms for your word. 5. Write one sentence discussing what you like about your word. FIGURE 2. Vocabulary TV visualization. provided, students should work with the strategy in small collaborative interactive groups and individually. CONCLUSION When students use word-meaning concept strategies, they are better equipped to understand, process, and internalize new concepts (Young, Righeimer, and Montbriand 2002). As students are required to read content-area text, they must learn the meaning and language of the new words and concepts. When students understand the language of their science subjects, they are well on their way to content literacy mastery (i.e., being able to read, write, speak, listen, and effectively communicate content knowledge with a high degree of competency and expertise). Teaching content-area science vocabulary through a variety of inquiry methods and engaged word-meaning concept strategies allows learners to make their own intellectual connections while gaining an understanding and confidence in the language of the science content. References Armbruster, B., and J. Osborn Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read. Jessup, MD: National Institute for Literacy. Blachowicz, C Making connections: Alternatives to the vocabulary notebook. The Reader Teacher 36: Blachowicz, C., and P. Fisher Teaching vocabulary in all classrooms. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice- Hall. Gunning, T. G Assessing and correcting reading and writing difficulties. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Johnson, D. D., and P. Pearson Teaching reading vocabulary. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. Linski, D., M. Wham, and J. Johns Reading and learning strategies: Middle grades through high school. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. Nilsen, A.P. and D.L.F. Nilsen Vocabulary plus high school and up: A source-based approach. Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc. Pittleman, S., J. Heimlich, R. Berglund, and M. French Semantic feature analysis: Classroom applications. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Schwartz, R., and T. Raphael Concept of a definition: A key to improving students' vocabulary. The Reading Teacher 39 (2): Stab], S. A Vocabulary development. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books. Thelen, J. N Improving reading in science. 2nd ed. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

5 16 SCIENCE ACTIVITIES Vol. 42, No. 2 Word: Cumulus Clouds Definition: Puffy clouds with thick dense mass with large areas of blue sky in between the clouds Personal Clue: Floating puffy cotton balls FIGURE 4. Personal clue card sample. TABLE 1. Rate Your Words Sample Words Psychrometer Atmosphere Troposphere Acid Rain Water Cycle Precipitation Atmosphere Acid Rain Precipitation Water Cycle Psychrometer Troposphere Note. Rating scale: 1. Words you know and can use correctly. 2. Words you almost know, but the meanings are foggy (partial knowledge; meaning may contain misconceptions or a guess). 3. Words you think you have seen or heard before ("pick up" words that are slightly familiar and were experienced in a variety of places, such as television, radio, conversations, magazines, and other subject areas). 4. Words you do not know at all (no prior knowledge). TABLE 2. Semantic Feature Analysis Sample: Extreme Weather Feature Key vocabulary word Land Air/Wind Water/Ocean Tornado + + Floods + + Hurricanes Dust Bowl + + Snow Blizzard + + Note. + represents features that are associated with the key vocabulary words and - represents features that are not associated with the key vocabulary word. Young, E Accelerated mastery learning: Meeting challenging standards for at-risk students. Naperville, IL: Author. Young, E., J. Righeimer, and C. Montbriand Strategic teaching and reading project: Comprehension resource handbook. 2nd ed. Naperville, IL: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Zeigler, L., and J. Johns Using mental images: Visualization to strengthen comprehension. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. Online Instructional Vocabulary Resources to Support Science Education

6 Summer 2005 SCIENCE ACTIVITIES 17 htt1p:hteaclier.scholastic.conl/reading/bestpractices/vocabulary/ Understanding.litin hup://teacher.scholastic.coni/reading/bestpractices/vocabulary.hti-n rcsoturces.1htill wordlists.htm l 2.wa.us//KSD/MA/resources/greek and_ latin 0oots/transition.httll Cardboard Spectrometer Kit Crgraphic Diffraction Grating The Project STAR Hands-on Science Materials are based on the philosophy that students will better learn a concept when they first explore, then test their theories with hands-on, model-building exercises. With the Refracting Telescope - students learn each element of a simple telescope, see how lenses work, and see the universe like Galileo did. With the Celestial Sphere Kit - students model the apparent daily motion of the stars and sun, study the cause of the seasons and see how the sky can help in navigation. With the Cardboard Spectrometer Kit - students see different spectral lines emitted by everyday light sources, recognize their unique colorful "signatures", and discover the presence of different elements in a light source. With Holographic Diffraction Grating - students learn about color, light emission and absorption, make their own spectrometer or spectrum projector, and produce a brilliant spectrum. Learning Technologies, Inc. 40 Cameron Avenue Somerville, MA Tel: Fax:

7 COPYRIGHT INFORMATION TITLE: The Language of Science, The Language of Students: Bridging the Gap with Engaged Learning Vocabulary Strategies SOURCE: Science Activities 42 no2 Summ 2005 PAGE(S): WN: The magazine publisher is the copyright holder of this article and it is reproduced with permission. Further reproduction of this article in violation of the copyright is prohibited. To contact the publisher: Copyright The H.W. Wilson Company. All rights reserved.

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