SLEWS Habitat Restoration

Science Writing Prompts

There are five science writing prompts. All include instructions for teachers, background information and media, a graphic organizer, the prompt, and a scoring rubric.

To access the downloads page for these prompts, please fill out this survey.


In-Class Writing Prompts for SLEWS Teachers

Making "hands-on" science "minds-on" science: connecting farms, habitats, classrooms and communities

This collection of writing prompts for high-school science classes will help students prepare for and reflect on their field day experiences while developing scientific reasoning and writing skills. SLEWS teachers, staff members and University of California, Davis researchers developed the prompts as part of a year-long collaborative research project funded through the CRESS (Cooperative Research and Extension Services for Schools) Center in the School of Education at U.C. Davis. For more information about this project and our collaboration, please contact Dr. Heidi Ballard at the U.C. Davis School of Education.

The writing prompts are based on CA state science standards and are closely linked to SLEWS field day activities. Our hope is that if students better understand the science behind what they do on their SLEWS field days, their experiences will be more meaningful. In turn, students may become more excited about science class if they can directly relate their SLEWS experience to what scientists do.

Read the final report on this study here:
CRESS Collaborative Research Grant 2008-09 Final Report: Making 'hands-on' science 'minds-on' science: connecting farms, habitats, classrooms and communities (Word doc download, 176 KB)

How to use these prompts

We have designed and tested these writing prompts as activities to last one 50-60 minute period, including time for introduction of the content resources and writing prompt, small group or whole class discussion of the prompt and filling out the graphic organizer to help students organize their thoughts before writing, and time for students to write their response. However, depending on the time you have available and your specific goals, you can use the prompts in a variety of ways. See the SLEWS Writing Prompt General Instructions document, located in the folder when you download the prompt.

Collaborative Research by Teachers, SLEWS educators, and U.C. Davis Researchers: Connecting classroom learning to SLEWS field days

These writing prompts were developed as part of an educational research project during the 2008-2009 school year. The purpose of our collaborative research was to help answer the following question:

How does the integration of formal in-class instruction, coupled with hands-on participation in SLEWS field days, contribute to student understanding of ecological concepts and engagement in the learning process?

Here are some of the things we found out: