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Helpful Tips

Considerations for Using Science A-Z Resources Effectively in the Classroom

Here are a few tips from teachers like you to help integrate Science A-Z into your classroom.

Science A-Z is a dynamic website that helps teachers integrate science and literacy instruction to efficiently satisfy standards in both science and English language arts at the same time.


Planning

If finding time to teach science content is a challenge, remember that Science A-Z enables you to teach science concepts during reading time.
Map out your science curriculum for the school year in advance, choosing the units that best support your science standards and your instructional needs.
Do collaborative planning with other teachers and your curriculum specialists to select which units and resources will be used at each grade level and to avoid repetition for students.
Explore and preview the dozens of resources within each unit. Use the Unit Resource List to plan which resources to use, and whether to use the printable or projectable version from Science A-Z, or provide online access to the eBooks and other electronic resources for students through Kids A-Z.
Use the various correlation tools on the website to identify units and resources that best support your standards. Certain results will be a closer fit than others, depending on your specific needs.
If students are expected to complete a science fair project later in the school year, decide on the best time to present the Science Fair resources offered by Science A-Z. This will give students enough time to plan their own projects and practice the inquiry process critical to the science fair experience.

Blending Reading with Hands-On Science

Unit resources help you address students' multiple learning styles by including many ways for students to read, write, think about, and discuss science ideas, as well as numerous opportunities for students to participate in hands-on science experiments and projects. You get to choose which unit resources are most appropriate for your science instructional goals and the order of their use. Below are three sample pathways through key unit resources.

Read-Do-Read

Build a foundation of content knowledge by having students read first, and then develop scientific and engineering practices with hands-on investigations and projects. Extend the learning with more reading practice.

Do-Read-Do

Allow students to jump right into hands-on activities to develop practices and to learn concepts and vocabulary in context. Then have them read science books to develop a deeper understanding of the content. Extend the learning with more projects and activities.

Blended Approach

Intersperse a variety of resources to get kids reading about and doing science using an integrated approach.

If using Science A-Z to supplement another curriculum, decide which resource types will best round out the instruction, accounting for all standards and learning styles.

  • If you use a science textbook, you might find the hands-on activities and collaborative projects from Science A-Z to be useful. You may also find that the multiple reading levels make the content more accessible to a wide range of student reading abilities.
  • If you use a kit program, supplementing it with the vast library of multilevel books and other reading materials from Science A-Z may best meet your needs.

Differentiation

Assign unit resources to students at the appropriate reading level (low , mid , or high ) within their grade range. Look for the level dots on each Science A-Z resource and choose the level that provides challenging text complexity while still making the science content accessible.
Because each Unit Nonfiction Book, the core resource of every Science A-Z unit, is written at three reading levels, it is easy to have the whole class learning the same science content while delivering developmentally appropriate content to each student.
Support English language learners by using Image Cards to teach unit vocabulary along with Game Packs that provide different strategies for learning important science concepts and terms.
Decide which resources need to be taught in class--using whole-group, small-group, or independent practice--and which can be assigned to students for independent online access via Kids A-Z.

Classroom Tips

Take advantage of the many instructional support resources found in the Teaching Tips that accompany specific resources or the Teacher's Guide that comes with a collection of resources. You will find background information, connections to standards, vocabulary lists, answer keys, and extension ideas.
Display a Science Diagram (or other visually complex resource) on an interactive whiteboard and review its content as a class activity. Discuss how it relates to what students have been reading and doing in science class.
Create timesaving science center activities while studying a unit using the Game Packs, Vocabulary Cards, Discussion Cards, and Word Work activities. Pair a Quick Read or Career File with a Graphic Organizer for easy reading and writing practice. Scientist and Inventor Cards and editions of Science in the News also provide great center activities.

Resource-Specific Tips

The Teacher's Guide that accompanies each set of Unit Nonfiction Books provides a guided reading lesson plan for use before, during, and after reading. It includes a targeted reading strategy and comprehension skill for the books.
Learn about common misconceptions and gain background knowledge related to unit topics from Teacher's Guides to help you and your students navigate science content like experts.
Begin with a structured inquiry format when conducting Process Activities to help students become familiar with how to conduct experiments and investigations. Then remove some of this structure in order to shift to a guided or self-directed/open inquiry model as students become more confident with the process.
Use the extension ideas found in Teacher's Guides and Teaching Tips to provide more ways for students to explore the content of each unit.
Have students independently watch selected Science A-Z Videos through Kids A-Z, then go over each video's discussion questions during class time.
Introduce the basic steps of conducting scientific investigations and model the inquiry process with the whole class before asking students to create a science fair project.

Sister Website Connections

Give students more opportunities to read science texts, whether informational texts or fictional stories with a science context, from Reading A-Z's leveled books collection. Use the Content Area Reading section for a curated set of science books or search by topic.
Use the Learning A-Z Connections found on Science A-Z, including selected free books from Reading A-Z, to see how each science unit can be supported by additional resources on sister websites.
Find even more science content and academic vocabulary support on Vocabulary A-Z, which contains customizable vocabulary lists and lessons for Life, Earth and Space, and Physical Science units.
Many Science A-Z Teaching Tips and Teacher's Guides include suggested writing extensions, writing in response to reading, or writing to communicate investigation results. Use Learning A-Z's Writing A-Z product for more formal instruction on the process of writing and have students use its interactive tools for independent writing practice.