Thursday, June 5, 2008

Writing in Science and Engineering
Writing in the content area is extremely important, but often writing in the technical areas is overlooked. I have been requiring students to write out lab reports and keep logbooks for years, but this year I wanted to take it up a notch after talking with a number of professors from Cleveland State Univ., Ohio State Univ., and Akron Univ. All told me to get the students writing technical papers, so that they have experience before they get to college. I settled on the APA style format because they will be using that style in undergraduate and particularly graduate school, and it is a technical style of writing. I also found that my students were not even exposed to the APA writing style in their English classes, which predominantly use MLA. I saw a great opportunity to expose them to technical writing and a more technical writing style. They students had a rough time at the beginning because they wanted to add a lot of fluff to their papers, rather than getting to the point, and they had to learn a new paper format and citation format, but they caught on quickly and actually liked the APA style after a few papers. The best thing about the writing though is that I started the online Student Journal of Science and Engineering (SJSE) ( which enables my students to be formally published. Teachers, parents, administrators and members of the community have all read their papers, and the SJSE has been a huge success. One major benefit that I did not foresee, but came about as the year progressed was the fact that my students were referring to their published papers in college interviews. When admissions officers asked for samples of my students' writings, they guided them to the SJSE and there they were published technical writing samples that have undergone a review process. I was very pleased to hear this. I realized then how important writing in the content area really is. Students need to be exposed to different writing styles and purposes.


Kristen said...

I think writing in the content area is a wonderful idea! I have this really cool 3rd grade math writing activity. There is a story that goes with it. There was a city that usually gets snow, but did not have snow to make snowmen, so the city hired my class to make snowmen. Each had $50 to shop for supplies to make artificial snowmen. This was a special ed. group and they were some basic requirements for each snowman. They were to write out a budget and a proposal to present to the city. The students then made there snowman out of construction paper and other classroom supplies and they all shared their ideas with the rest of the class. The students really loved the activity, they learned quite a bit about budgeting, they applies math ideas, and other teachers wanted me to give them the details to do in their own classrooms. Overall it was a great experience.

Terry said...

Really enjoyed your idea conerning the Student's Journal. I would like to create something like this so that my Surgical Technology students could share their clinical experiences, with their classmates. Often times, students can learn so much more from each other, than they can from a traditional lecture. Also, I think this exercise will certainly increase their ability to express themselves in writing, which is often very difficult for student to do.

JimmyAdam said...

Writing is a professional work. You must have perfect knowledge about the topic you are going to write. Writing should be done in a proper way. It must be organized and according to new standards. Writing must be divided into different parts properly.

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Amy Williams said...

APA format is the official style of the American Psychological Association (APA) and is commonly used to cite sources in psychology, education, and the social sciences.

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