Enabling students to understand and analyse contemporary issues in science and technology

Directed activities related to text

When students have to read a longer passage of text consider ways that reading the text can be made into a more active process so that they think about the text, decipher the meaning and remember the key points.

  • Notes from books
    If students are making notes from a book chapter provide particular headings to structure the notes. Even better, ask students to summarize ideas in the text, or present ideas in an alternative form such as a flow chart, table or mind map.
  • Questions on text
    Ask students to devise questions they have on the text. This will help identify problem areas. As a group activity, students could swap questions, and discuss the answers. They could also attempt to answer each other's questions and hand them back for 'marking'.
  • Active engagement with texts is needed when students are asked to seek information for a task such as researching for a presentation, or making an information leaflet or poster.
  • Provide questions relating to a text to create a comprehension exercise. Word questions carefully to discourage copying of passages from the text, and encourage re-writing or interpretation of the text. It can be useful to highlight passages which answer questions or provide information for an explanation.

Texts from scientific journals or historical documents are often difficult to read. If these texts are of value for students, teachers can support students in their reading. Reading aloud around a class, gives opportunity to stop and discuss any difficult points or vocabulary. Providing a glossary, or pointing out difficult passages beforehand can help. You could ask students to highlight tricky passages as they read to ask about later. It may be worth pointing out that it is not necessary to understand every word in order to extract useful meaning from a text.

Suggested activities
1.6 Genetic testing and screening
1.9 Genetics of sickle cell anaemia