Bringing Science into English Class

I’m often asked, “But how do you have time to talk about science in your English class?”  This usually baffles me, likely because I love science and see it everywhere. I can’t imagine not incorporating science into my curriculum!  As an English teacher, I have the ability to share books, articles, films, podcasts, and more with my students.  My high schoolers love to debate so science topics are an easy go-to for me. We’ve read about (and debated) reintroducing mountain lions to our state, the importance of national parks, and development vs. preservation. We’ve read polemics, poems, and prose. We’ve written polemics, poems, and prose.

One way that I incorporate science into my English class is through nonfiction articles.  Many English teachers have adopted Kelly Gallagher’s Article of the Week and I’m no different.  However, I am lucky enough to have a newspaper subscription for my classes each day.  My students and I read The New York Times every day (you can read a bit about there here or watch a webinar I participated in) so that gives me a lot of opportunities to bring science into the classroom.  We read about environmental issues, scientific discoveries, and any other science news.  A personal favorite is anything about teenage brain development because my students and I read Romeo & Juliet through the lens of adolescent brain development.

I also collaborate with my biology colleague whenever possible.  We designed the 9th grade summer reading list together, focusing on creating a long list of fiction and nonfiction books that incorporate science in some way. The 9th graders also participate in One Class, One Read: The Forest Unseen by David Haskell. The book is a collection of essays so it’s approachable for students at different levels.  It also allows us to take a closer look at certain entries throughout the year without needing to dive into the book in-depth.  It’s one of my favorite books and I love sharing it with students.

Do you incorporate science topics into your English class?  I’d love to hear some of your ideas, too!

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