Reading Science Articles: Anticipation Guides, Active Reading, and Deeper Thinking

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SWBAT complete an anticipation guide prior to reading an article, take notes during the reading of that article, apply evidence from text to support or dispute statements from the anticipation guide, and answer follow-up questions to the article.

Big Idea

Reading challenging text requires active reading skills in order to gain deeper understanding beyond comprehension of text.

Why This Lesson?

The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts has specific content standards for science classes.  This content includes being able to read and interpret text as it applies to scientific topics.  Specific CCSS in ELA for science can be found here:  9-10 grade and 11-12 grade.

This lesson guides students in reading an article that discusses content around heat transfer which directly correlates to this unit on thermodynamics.  It is not a scientific journal article like ones that students will need to be able to read and interpret in college, but it is a good first step in developing active reading skills.

The article we will focus on today is "Chilling Out, Warming Up: How Animals Survive Temperature Extremes" by Brian Rohrig and featured in the October/November 2013 issue of the American Chemical Society Journal ChemMatters.

While students engage in active reading by recording information into a table as they find it during their reading, they will be participating in SEP 8:  Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.  After reading the article, students will agree or disagree with statements related to their reading, citing specific evidence to back up their findings, engaging in SEP 7: Engaging in Argument from Evidence.

Anticipation Guide

10 minutes

This lesson uses resources provided by the American Chemical Society (ACS), found online as a document here.  The Anticipation Guide provided can be found on page 6.  I handout the Anticipation Guides to students WITHOUT the article.  This is so that students do not read ahead and simply focus on the questions and their prior knowledge.

As stated on the Anticipation Guide itself, "Anticipation guides help engage students by activating prior knowledge and stimulating student interest before reading."  Students read the eleven statements and decide if they agree or disagree with the statements, recording their answers in the first column.  After reading the text, students revisit the Anticipation Guide and fill in the second column with agree or disagree as the text would consider the statements.

I allow students about 7 minutes to read and complete the "Before Reading" column.  Then, I ask students to share their answers by a hand-raise if they agreed with the statement.  I go down the list in numerical order and record the tally of agrees on the whiteboard so that we can revisit the information after reading the article.

Student samples of complete Anticipation Guides (pre and post reading):

I was impressed that my students kept an open mind about completing the Anticipation Guide.  I did tell them that there were no right or wrong answers to the pre-reading portion, which takes some of the pressure off.

Active Reading

20 minutes

I handout copies of the ChemMatters article entitled "Chilling Out, Warming Up."  Then, I handout a resource for students to actively read the article by filling in a table (page 8 of the Teacher's Guide).  I explain what I expect them to do as they read, pointing out the categories on the table for them to fill-in their notes.  I give my students 20 minutes to read the article and fill in the table.  If my students are struggling with finishing, I give up to an additional 5 minutes if we are on schedule thus far.  I also write on the white board the time I expect them to be done so that they can monitor their working time.

Revisiting Anticipation Guide

10 minutes

Now that students have read the article, I ask them to revisit the Anticipation Guide and complete the agree/disagree column again.  Students need to cite specific evidence from the article in support of their findings.  They are engaging in argument based on evidence.  I allow students to work in pairs during this exercise so that they can discuss ideas and help clarify the reading for each other through discussion.  While students work, I move around the room asking questions like "why did you write disagree before the reading, but agree after?"

Deeper Thinking

15 minutes

Now that students have had time to talk to each other about the statements in their Anticipation Guides, students are ready to answer questions that require collecting information from the article as well as some deeper thinking.  I handout Chilling Out, Warming Up Deeper Thinking and direct students to work in their pairs.  Answers to these questions can be found on pages 4-5 in the Teacher's Guide.  The questions also come directly from the Teacher's Guide (page 3), but room for students to write their answers was not provided so I copied those questions to a separate handout to use in my classroom.