We all know the importance of language acquisition, but did you know that how you teach students new science vocabulary has an impact on their engagement, depth of understanding, and retention? A critical part of learning science is becoming fluent with the language of science. To do that, students must have experiences that help them make meaning of new terms themselves—not just memorize definitions.
Imagine you are a middle school student challenged with the phenomenon, “What causes rainbows?” in your science classroom.
Your preferred learning style might be to watch a video depicting the dispersion of colors within a prism. Your friend would rather read an explanation; another classmate prefers to draw a diagram, while another would like to learn through experimentation with the frequency of light and refraction.