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Including attributions (sources of information) in science news articles is one of the most important means of enhancing credibility. Many young writers are unaware of the use or importance of attributions. Readily available models are scarce. High school textbooks or teacher lectures generally do not include attributions. Providing support in the use of attributions in science news articles (and noticing when they are not present) will assist the students in understanding and valuing their importance.

Except for accepted facts, ideas and theories, all assertions, numbers, details and opinions are attributed. . . Attribution includes individual names or organizations, websites, newspapers/TV shows, reports, and press releases.
SciJourn Standards for Scientific Literacy

Objectives:
A) Students will recognize the value of attributions in articles they read and will ask specific questions when attributions are absent.
B) Students will work with a Track Changes style of making editor comments as they become editors themselves.

Materials: ARTICLE A Horses and Healing article
In this article, the attributions have been removed. Track Changes comment boxes are provided for editorial comments by students.

Time: 40-50 minutes

lesson – Who Says – Using Attributions (pdf)

lesson – Who Says – Using Attributions (Editable Version)

 

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In this lesson, students examine the organization and structure of the science news article and how it differs from the five paragraph essay.

“Journalism’s inverted triangle structure requires that the writer determine the gist of the story, what details are most important (these come next) and which details come later down. . .”
SciJourn Standards for Scientific Literacy

Objective: Students will recognize the elements and structure of the science news article.

Materials: The Inverted Triangle
ARTICLE A (to be cut into separate paragraphs)
ARTICLE B (intact version of article)
Several business envelopes (enough for each group of 3 students)
A piece of plain paper for each group
glue sticks

Preparation prior to lesson: Prepare enough copies of ARTICLE A so that there will be one for each group of 3 students. Cut the article along the dotted lines and place in random order into an envelope for each group.

Time: approximately 50 minutes
lesson – Science News Article Organization

lesson – Science News Article Organization (Editable Version)

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Objective: Students will recognize the elements of a well-written science news story and will evaluate the effectiveness of several examples.

Materials: ARTICLE A Apple probes iPhone explosion reports: EU
(article as originally published)
ARTICLE B Apple probes iPhone explosion reports: EU
(same as ARTICLE A but with teacher notations)
Science News Article Evaluation
ARTICLE C Teens with own cars have more crashes, study finds  – (article for students to evaluate independently)

Time: approximately 40-50 minutes

lesson – Make it Better – Improving a Science News Story

lesson – Make it Better – Improving a Science News Story (Editable Version)

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SciJourn Read-Aloud

THE LEDES AND NOTHING BUT THE LEDES

Read Aloud – ledes and nothing but the ledes

Read Aloud – ledes and nothing but the ledes (Editable Version)

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