Why Use Poetry in Your Science Classroom?

 

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I am a really big fan of using read alouds in the science classroom. I love books, and that means I have to share my love of reading with my science kiddos! Reading in the science classroom has so many cross-curricular benefits for kids. Gail Gibbons and Basher Science are by far my favorite authors for science read alouds. They are interesting and provide great information.

Since it is National Poetry Month in April, I thought it would be a great time to talk about adding some poetry into science!

Poetry is a great tool for a science teacher. Poetry can have catchy rhythms, humor, and paint vivid pictures about a topic. Kids commit things to memory easily when they hear a rhyme. That is why nursery rhymes are so great for kids learning to read. Writing poetry can be a great formative assessment tool. Grab these Poetry Templates for Science!

Here are the reasons why I love poetry for science classrooms:

(And how to add it to your science classroom)

1.Poetry can be used to spark interest, excitement, curiosity, and get their attention.

Use a poem to introduce a new topic or unit. Read the poem to your class to get them interested in the topic. Poems are usually short and fun to listen to, so I will read them a couple times to my class.

2. Poetry can activate prior knowledge.

Ask your students questions about the poem’s title to help them activate their prior knowledge. Ask what they think the poem might be about, or specific details they might expect to hear in the poem. After reading the poem, you can lead a discussion with students asking them if they agree with the information in the poem, or if they were surprised by anything in the poem. Use a K-W-L chart to record your discussion points in the reading process.

3. Poetry can introduce a topic or unit.

Read a science poem at the start of a lesson. Have students talk about the theme or the topic of the poem with their neighbors. See if they can connect the poem to the learning goal, or the I Can statement, for the lesson.

4. Poetry can introduce and reinforce vocabulary.

Poems are usually shorter, simpler texts which  makes it easier for students to notice new vocabulary and understand the vocabulary. You can write the word on the board so students will know which words to listen for when you read. Discuss the possible meaning of the word based on context clues in the poem.

5. Poetry can teach facts. 

Poems are a fun way for students to learn and collect new facts. You can give students a bubble map or other graphic organizer to collect facts they hear in the poem.

6. Poetry can inspire nonfiction writing.

Use fun, informative poems as a mentor text for your students. When we think about informational texts, we usually think about a research paper, a biography, or an expository writing. Poems are another great way to write nonfiction! They are more creative and feel more fun to write. Have students mimic the style of the mentor text to get a feel for writing nonfiction poetry. Acrostic poems work, too! Grab these Poetry Templates for Science!

7. Poetry can give a new perspective on the same information students get from other methods.

Reading about the steps of the life cycle of an animal can be really informative. But reading about the steps of the grasshopper life cycle using the poem “Grasshoppers” by Douglass Florian, can paint a picture that a beautiful life cycle graphic can’t even accomplish!

Grab some poetry!

Here are the science poetry books I have been using for years, and I love them! (with links and ideas for using them)

Beast Feast by Douglas Florian

  • Read the short poems in this book, and have students listen for special structures each animal has that help it survive in its environment.
  • Students can fill in a T-chart categorizing the inherited traits and learned behaviors from the poems.
  • Use these poems for a mentor text, and have students write their own informational poems.

animal structures poems

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two by Paul Fleischman

  • Reading through these two person poems have a really neat sound and its fun for kids to read along and hear it read. Break up the class into two groups. Have group one read the left side and group two read the right side. It will be fun for everyone! To change it up, pick group members at random rather than by side of the room. Its interesting to hear synchronized voices all around the room.
  • The poems in this book can add imagery to your units on life cycles. My favorite poems for life cycles are: Grasshoppers, The Digger Wasp, Honey Bees, and Chrysalis Diary.
  •  You can read these poems with your class to introduce the life cycle unit. These poems can also be great for students to read and then write their own summary or story about an animal going through their life cycle.
  • Use these poems for a mentor text, and have students write their own informational two person poem.

animal life cycle poems.png

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian

  • The poems in this book are great to use for a unit on the planets in our Solar System. They also are perfect for units on the Sun, the Earth, and Moon Phases. They would be perfect for introducing the unit, or individual objects. Poems I like to use from this book are: The Solar System to introduce and discuss the Earth’s orbit around the Sun; The Sun to introduce and learn some facts about the Sun; The Earth to introduce and learn some facts about the Earth; The Moon to introduce the phases of the Moon.
  • Students can use a graphic organizer to collect facts from the poems about each object.
  • Use these poems for a mentor text, and have students write their own informational poem about objects in our Solar System.

Earth and Space poems.png

Spectacular Science by Lee Bennett Hopkins

  • I love these short poems for introducing units and topics. The poems are not as informational as the others I have mentioned in this post, but are nice for introducing a topic and getting your students’ attention. Here are my favorites for the book and their topics:  What is Science? (Nature of Science), The Seed (Life Cycle of a Plant), Crystal Vision (Light), Dinosaur Bones (Sedimentary Rocks and Fossils), How? (Animal Instincts).

Poem introducing science topics.png

Now, you can use poetry to enrich your science classroom!

Writing poetry is a perfect opportunity for your students to show you what they know! I love using poetry writing in science for students to get creative and process new information. And, poems make a great display product for a bulletin board or around your classroom.
These templates make it painless and simple to add poetry writing in your science classroom!

Grab these Poetry Templates for Science!

poetry 1

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