In this lesson, students will analyze an intended to support reading in the content area. The research article discusses different languages as barriers to the transfer of knowledge within the scientific community and then provides potential resolutions to aid in the reduction of language barriers. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.
Subject(s): Science, English Language Arts
Grade Level(s): 11, 12
Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Overhead Projector, Speakers/Headphones, Microsoft Office, Computer Media Player
Resource supports reading in content area:Yes
Keywords: background, bias, collaboration, scientific collaboration, peer-review, biodiversity, conservation, language barrier, lesson plan, text complexity
Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Understand that communication and collaboration between scientists are non-negotiable parts of scientific method and research.
- Understand that competing explanations of scientists are a strength of science.
- Cite specific and relevant text evidence to support analysis of the text.
- Use various vocabulary strategies to define academic and domain-specific words in the text.
- Construct a written response that clearly establishes a main point(s), contains relevant textual evidence to support the main point, utilizes transitions to maintain flow, effectively uses domain-specific vocabulary, and provides an appropriate conclusion.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
- A strong background on the scientific method is essential for the comprehension of this lesson.
- Peer review is an essential part of the scientific method. , titled "Science Works! How the Scientific Peer Review Process Works" (9:59, uploaded by YouTube user logicalthinkingorg), is focused on how the peer review process works. At the end of the video, intelligent design is discussed as a topic that is shared as a scientific idea, but none of the research has been through peer review. If preferred, stop the video at 7 minutes if this is not a relevant topic in your classroom.
- Google Scholar is the web search engine described in the article. Students should be familiar with how this website works. This video, titled "How to Use Google Scholar 101" (0:55, uploaded by YouTube user WebShare101), explains how Google Scholar works.
- Students should understand the meaning of statistical significance.
- General familiarity with environmental science, specifically biodiversity and conservation, is needed.
- See "Why is Biodiversity so Important? Kim Preshoff" (4:18, uploaded by YouTube user TED-Ed)
- If students are unfamiliar with the scope of environmental science, show them the first two minutes of this video, titled "What is Environmental Science? Definition and Scope of the Field" (4:05, uploaded by YouTube user Study.com). It will help students to realize all of the different disciplines involved in environmental science.
- Basic knowledge of statistics, as it relates to statistical significance, is needed.
- Short video on statistical significance, titled "What is Statistical Significance?" (0:44, uploaded by YouTube user askProfMilo).
- This Khan Academy video, titled "Statistical Significance of Experiment - Probability and Statistics" (8:03), explains an experiment and why the data is significant.
- General knowledge on peer-review, collaboration and bias is essential to understand the impact of the language barrier.
- This video, titled "Neil deGrasse Tyson at UB: Does BIas Play a Role in Science?" (2:09, uploaded by YouTube user University at Buffalo),explains why collaboration is essential for controlling bias.
- This video by Discovery News, titled "How Collaboration Leads to Great Ideas" (3:10, uploaded by YouTube user Seeker), gives specific examples of why collaboration is the key to solving problems.
- Students should be aware of text features that can help them locate and learn information when reading a text. The text features in "Languages Are Still a Major Barrier to Global Science" include the title, an abstract, images, and captions.
- Based on the provided writing rubric, students should be able to respond to a writing prompt in a clear, organized manner that includes the use of an introduction to establish the main point(s), body paragraph(s) that support the main point(s) and include relevant and specific textual evidence, and a conclusion that supports the main point(s).
- Students should have some awareness that use of transition words or phrases can help a piece of writing flow smoothly from one point or idea to the next.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Why is it important to reduce barriers that prevent the sharing of scientific knowledge with the global community?
- With a greater sharing of information, there is a greater chance that new, testable ideals will be produced to support one explanation of a phenomenon.
- What communication problem would scientists encounter when searching Google Scholar for current research on a specific topic?
- If the research is posted in a different language, Google Scholar will not generate and make those results available to the researcher. Non-research documents are unsearchable using English keywords.
- What evidence is provided that scientific communication and collaboration are being hindered due to language barriers?
- For example, there are over 4 million records on species occurrenceand abundance that are available online, but currently only in Japanese. In addition, important research about the Avian flu wentunnoticed by international communities as well as the World Health Organization.
- On the flip side, local field practitioners are missing out on new research that might help their local areas.
- What possible steps could be taken to bridge this gap between English and non-English research?
- Upload the title and abstract in English. Upload a lay (or easier to read) link to search engines, summarized in relevant journals. In addition, if would also be helpful if research that is linked to a specific area be translated so that local field practitioners are able to obtain and use the information.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
- Begin the lesson by breaking students into groups of four.
- Ask each group to think of as many different languages as possible, being sure not to share with other groups. Provide groups one minute to discuss.
- Then provide each group with at least five sticky notes. Ask each group to write down as many different (real) languages as possible. Provide students one minute to write down their responses.
- Then ask one group to place their sticky notes on the board at the front of the room. Sticky notes should be separated from one another.
- Each of the other groups should place a matching language above the first group's sticky. Any new language should be placed in an empty space to the left or right of the first group's sticky notes.
- Next, ask students to describe the distribution of languages.
- Students should notice that a few languages, such as English, were written down by all groups. However, some languages will probably only be written by about half of the groups, such as Russian. Even fewer groups will write languages such as Hindi (one of the most commonly spoken languages in India).
- Next, ask: "How might so many languages affect the transmission of scientific knowledge around the globe?"
- Some students may speculate that it doesn't have any effect because scientists all communicate in one language, English. (Misconception)
- However, some students should note that some information is not known/read by scientists that only speak English. Other students may note that information provided only in English is not accessible to individuals who do not speak or read English. Therefore, scientists may be performing similar experiments around the world, receiving similar results, and never communicating this information to one another.
- End the discussion by informing students that language can be a barrier to sharing results of scientific experimentation on a global scale and that they will be reading an article that addresses this barrier.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Provide each student with a copy of the article "."
- This version of the text, attached, is a simpler text-only version for students who may benefit from that presentation. It leaves out the abstract, footnotes, credits, and diagrams.
- For class discussions and activities that will follow, it is suggested that students number each paragraph, starting after the abstract. Students should number 9 separate paragraphs.
- Provide each student with a note-taking guide.
- Before students begin reading, direct them to pay attention to the text features of the article to help them learn and locate information:
- Title: Languages Are Still a Major Barrier to Global Science
- Abstract: summarizes the article and provides the audience with the purpose for the article
- Graphs: Waffle Plot, 94 sample documents in Spanish, 46 Spanish-only documents, and 48 Spanish documents with English titles and/or abstracts
- Captions: describe the graphics found above the caption. (Example Fig. 1)
- On their first reading, have students focus on the vocabulary exercise on the first part of the note-taking guide.
- Then have students form groups of 2 or more. Each student will fill out the note-taking guide for a different limitation as they reread the text. The teacher should monitor students as they work and provide support and guidance as needed.
- With partners: Students should be given time to discuss their responses and complete the portion of the note-taking guide that they did not respond to based on their partner's responses.
- In small groups: Groups can discuss their responses prior to presenting them on chart paper. As each group presents their findings, all students that did not complete their note-taking guide for that limitation should complete the other half of their guide.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for student understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their completed note-taking guides, checking their work, providing written feedback, or grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers should use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
- For discussion of students' answers concerning potential bias, teachers are encouraged to not only ask students to list their sources of potential bias, but the strategy they used to determine each potential bias. This will allow the teacher to provide alternative suggestions as to how the student could have arrived at the correct/another potential bias.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond:
- Students often believe that bias can only impact a group negatively. Therefore, they may say that over-representation of positive and/or statistically significant scientific knowledge is not a form of potential bias because it only supports an explanation. Remind students that in science, bias refers to any inaccurate representation of results.
- Students often believe that when scientists complete their research, they quickly find the answer to the problem by following the steps of scientific method in order. This is not usually the case; it can take years and years, and an answer is sometimes never found in that scientist's lifetime. In order to find answers, scientists need to be able to collaborate.
- Teachers might share this quote from scientistDavidTrauffer:
- "A lot of people have this idea left over from middle or high school that the scientific method is: make a hypothesis --> do an experiment --> analyze data --> prove/disprove hypothesis. Really it's more like: Get a general idea of an interesting topic ---> phrase it as a hypothesis to get funding ---> design an experiment ---> fail at said experiment ---> redesign experiment ---> fail again ---> redesign experiment ---> get some conflicting data ---> repeat experiment ---> get different data from the first time ---> decide there are too many variables to control ---> scrap original proposal ---> come up with a new related topic ---> design experiments ----> conduct experiments ---> analyze data ---> start to develop a hypothesis ---> disprove most of said hypothesis ---> realize hypothesis has already been disproven by an obscure group of researchers in Norway ---> develop a new hypothesis ---> run more experiments ---> get interesting results unrelated to hypothesis ---> decide you might be able to get a paper out of that interesting thing ---> abandon work on now un-related hypothesis ---> conduct experiments ---> analyze data ---> conduct experiments ---> analyze data ---> write and edit ad nauseum ---> publish paper that suggests (doesn't prove) something unrelated to the original topic."
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Provide each student with a copy of the text-dependent questions to complete. Students should be reminded to continually refer to the text and to use relevant and specific evidence from the text to support their answers.
Formative Assessment (How will teachers check for understanding?):
- Teachers can check students' understanding by collecting their answers to the text-dependent questions, checking their work, providing written feedback, and maybe grading the assignment. Or, teachers can have students share out their responses and the teacher can provide verbal corrective feedback, allowing students to make corrections to their work during the discussion.
- Teachers should use this sample answer key to help them assess students' answers.
Common errors/misconceptions to anticipate and how to respond: Please see the text-dependent questions sample answer key and Guided Practice (above).
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
- Before students complete the writing prompt, be sure to review their responses to the other text-dependent questions as a class, including covering the misconceptions and key points described in the sample answer key.
- After students' written responses have been graded and returned with feedback, teachers might wish to use the provided sample response with the class. The teacher could share the sample response and discuss the following:
- How the topic is introduced in the opening sentences of the introductory paragraph; have students identify the main point of the piece. Brainstorm with students other ways the writer could have opened the piece.
- Have students examine each of the body paragraphs and explain how each supports the main point of the piece.
- Have students identify where the writer effectively uses textual evidence from the article for support of his or her points.
- Have students identify the use of transition words or phrases that make the ideas flow.
- Ask students to identify where domain-specific vocabulary is used accurately and effectively.
- Have students read the final paragraph to see how the writer wrapped up the piece and connected back to the main point established in the introduction.
- Teachers may have students use the rubric to provide a score for the sample written response and have them justify the score they gave, possibly providing revision suggestions for any categories they scored lower than a 4.
- Ask students to write a summary of the article, as if they were the author, and then translate said summary into Spanish, French, or Italian using Google Translate. Have students submit both the English and alternative language summaries.
- Ask students to search for a research article on the web that is written in another language.
- Then have the students translate the article into English using Google Translate.
- Finally, ask the students to read the translation and discuss any problems with the translation.
- Have students create a free account with the Public Library of Science at plos.org. Then have students post their summaries as a comment on this article at this link.
- If you are not allowed to or do not wish to have students create accounts with the Public Library of Science, you may elect to use an alternative posting method such as a school sponsored/approved discussion board.
- Students will individually respond to the writing prompt. They should be directed to respond with a multi-paragraph response with a clear introduction, body section, and conclusion.
- Provide students with a copy of the rubric and go over it with them so they will know how their written response will be assessed.
- Go over the writing prompt with students and make sure students understand what the prompt is asking them to address. Encourage students to underline key parts of the prompt as the teacher goes over it so they will remember to answer all the required parts:
- Unfortunately, there is currently no one program or procedure to help create a bridge between English and non-English language users in the sciences. At the end of the article, several possible solutions for overcoming this language barrier are proposed by the authors. Which solution do you think would make the biggest impact on making science stronger by increasing communication and collaboration? Explain your choice.
- Teachers will use the rubric to assess students' written responses.
Specific suggestions for conducting Formative Assessment can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Feedback to Students
Specific suggestions for conducting Feedback to Students can be found in the Guided Practice and Independent Practice phases of the lesson where it says, "How will you check for student understanding?"
Accommodations & Recommendations
For students struggling with the science content:
- (about 3 minutes long) offers an analysis of mechanical translators as a method for reducing language barriers in the military. This may aid students who benefit from receiving information in a visual format. This may be shown before students read the text "Languages Are Still a Barrier to Global Science."
For readers struggling with the note-taking guide:
- Teachers might want to fill in some of the answers on the graphic organizer concerning vocabulary or limitations.
- In the limitations section, teachers might want to provide a few sentence starters to help students.
For readers struggling with the text:
- It might benefit students to chunk the text. Have students independently read paragraph one, then have several strong readers read paragraph one aloud.
- Then, have students highlight the purpose of the article, found in paragraph one. Work with students to model ways to determine the purpose of an article. The teacher can think aloud as he or she decides which strategy or strategies to use to determine the author's purpose.
- When students are ready, have them share their answers and provide corrective verbal feedback as needed, allowing students to make corrections to their work. Then repeat this process for the other paragraphs of the text if needed, changing the author’s purpose to main idea of each following paragraph. Or, at least have students complete the graphic organizer for the next section and receive feedback on their work before they move on.
For struggling writers:
- It might help struggling writers to provide them with an outline to help them structure their response. The outline might include places for them to record:
- Introduction paragraph
- Ideas on how to introduce the topic
- A few specifics from the text they might want to use to support or explain the topic
- A place to write down their main point(s)
- Body paragraphs:
- Topic sentences (the first sentence of each body paragraph that will reveal the point of the paragraph and will connect to the paper's overall main point)
- Specific evidence from the text for support in each body paragraph
- Ideas for transition words
- Ideas for use of selected vocabulary
- Ideas on how to wrap up their piece and connect back to the main point(s)
- Read with students , titled "Trump's Travel Ban is Already Stopping Scientific Collabroation," that discusses the U.S. travel ban and its effects on science to students.
- Have a short discussion about the article.
- On an exit ticket, have students write down their final thoughts about international travel.
- Have students watch this TED talk video by Ben Goldacre, titled "Battling Bad Science." After watching, ask students to share their thoughts on the importance of collaboration and the idea of mandatory release of all science research from pharmaceutical drugs.
Suggested Technology: Computer for Presenter, Computers for Students, Internet Connection, LCD Projector, Overhead Projector, Speakers/Headphones, Microsoft Office, Computer Media Player
Special Materials Needed:
Teachers will need the following additional materials:
- Sticky notes
- Chart paper (if students are completing the note-taking guide in small groups)
For teachers who would like more support in understanding and implementing Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects into their science curriculum, please see the teacher tutorials featured in the section of this lesson's CPALMS resource page labeled "Attached Resources."
The text's grade band recommendation reflects the shifts inherent in the standards and is based on a text complexity analysis of a quantitative measure, qualitative rubric, and reader and task considerations.
Source and Access Information
Name of Author/Source: William Dishman
District/Organization of Contributor(s): Seminole
Access Privileges: Public
* Please note that examples of resources are not intended as complete curriculum.