Writing annotations of five research articles throughout the semester

Scott Clark
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
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Pre-service elementary school teachers have a critical need to be aware of the importance of scientific literacy and the variety of Earth-science related alternative conceptions (AKA misconceptions) that their future students will bring to the classroom. These future teachers also need to be aware of their own alternative conceptions. This semester-long activity is mostly conducted outside of class time. However, if time is available, it is worthwhile to have a class discussion about what students took away from each article.

Throughout the semester, students read five Earth-science related journal articles and write an annotation for each one. The information in the articles encourages an awareness of scientific literacy and leads students to become aware of their own alternative conceptions related to the Earth sciences.

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This activity is used in a 100-level Earth science course for pre-service elementary education teachers.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students are expected to possess basic writing skills.

How the activity is situated in the course

Students work on this activity outside of class time. They are expected to read and annotate one of the articles every third week throughout the semester.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

I target two main themes as I select the journal articles: research on alternative conceptions of geoscientific concepts and articles that discuss scientific literacy

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

My goal is to make students aware of how widespread alternative conceptions are among students and to make them aware of their own alternative conceptions.

Other skills goals for this activity

Students practice their writing skills while repeatedly receiving feedback throughout the semester.

Description of the activity/assignment

Students read journal articles on alternative conceptions and science literacy and write an annotation for each article.

Determining whether students have met the goals

I use a rubric that has 3 scoring options for each of three graded components. The rubric is included in the assignment file.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Teaching materials and tips

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