Use language arts to teach science and engineering concepts

Updated: Nov 17, 2021


You use language arts to teach science and engineering concepts

Using language and visual arts to communicate complex scientific concepts to students is an important component of STEM education.


Integration of raw artistry with modern scientific language brings wider context to STEM subjects, showing students that the most effective way to learn is through actively practicing the skills they're learning.

 

What are the benefits of integrating language arts into science and engineering courses?


How could language arts possibly be integrated into science and engineering courses. After all, they seem to have little in common with one another. But if you look rightly, you'll see that they're not so different after all. For example, both science and language arts have their own unique vocabularies, which are used by experts within each field to communicate with one another effectively.


Language is a broad and complex subject. In language arts, there are a range of topics — vocabulary and grammar to literary analysis and composition are included. Like science and engineering, it requires the study of specific processes and defining concepts.


Mastering all disciplines within language arts can be difficult — even for those who teach the subject as a profession. But, integrating language arts into science and engineering courses can help improve students' writing skills as well as their understanding of the curriculum.


Benefits of integrating language arts into science and engineering courses


Language arts is an important skill set. It helps us to communicate with others, to make sense of what we read, and to express our own thoughts. Language arts is an important skill set. The language arts that are the foundation of literacy.

Literacy is the ability to understand and use written information. In today's society, literacy is growing in importance.


In order for students to be truly literate, they must have a foundation in language arts. This foundation enables them to communicate with others, to make sense of the written word, and to express their own thoughts.


To be a well-rounded person, a student needs a strong foundation in language arts. This includes reading comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and writing skills. To be a well-rounded student, a student also needs a strong foundation in science and math skills.


This includes scientific processes such as:

  • observing

  • classifying

  • recording data

  • making conclusions based on the data collected

  • and testing hypotheses.

It is important that we teach language arts in a meaningful and relevant way to all students. Language arts should be integrated into science and technology courses so that the language arts skills learned in the subject areas have a real purpose.


Integrating language arts into science and technology courses contributes to the understanding of the content in these courses by providing a context for learning about science and technology.


Students can use their language arts skills to develop research questions, to interpret data, and to make sense of information they read or hear about science and technology. Integration can also help students connect what they are learning in science and engineering with other content areas such as history, social studies, government, art, music, foreign language, etc.


This integration allows students to achieve both social literacy (reading for pleasure) and academic literacy (reading for information).


By integrating language arts into science and engineering courses we can help students to become better critical thinkers and problem solvers. They will also learn how to use evidence from different sources to support their arguments.


Language arts enrich STEM learning


How can language arts enhance STEM learning and creativity? Let’s look at an example: the project-based science and engineering course.


Projects encourage students to be engaged and motivated by providing a strong purpose and an opportunity for students to explore and learn the content in a manner that fits their learning styles. The projects allow students to use innovative approaches to experience, analyze, and create.


Projects such as building a solar-powered boat, creating a computer program to automate recycling, or developing a slide deck presentation on food safety standards in restaurants are all fair play.


Students must generate ideas, plan and organize their work, conduct research for information and evidence, solve problems, communicate with others in an effective manner, and reflect on their learning processes.


However, language arts is not limited in its ability to enhance STEM learning and creativity; STEM also has strengths that can be used in language arts classes.


In engaging and motivating STEM classes, students can learn vocabulary, inform their learning, and practice critical thinking.


STEM and language arts bring the two together and enhance on each other’s unique strengths. By asking the right questions and allowing students to engage in creative and innovative approaches to problems, STEM enhances language arts’ key strengths such as creating original texts that have relevance to the real world.


Insight into the holistic nature of the sciences


In art and literature, students use language to create a multitude of different works that take into account aesthetic, compositional, structural and material components. Using these same concepts to communicate complex scientific concepts gives students insight into the holistic nature of the sciences.


Language arts enrich STEM learning by helping students translate complicated scientific concepts into knowledge they can use. This is crucial for students who are learning science without the help of pictures, diagrams, or models.


While the language arts allow visual learners to be creative, it also gives text-based learners a chance to process complex ideas about science visually.