Fall 2017


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Susan Manakowski

Content Expert

Anne DeMuth


Academic language in the register of science is often challenging for students to compose, and their science teachers may struggle to support their language development. This project explores the question, what are the language structures science teachers must teach for secondary students to be able to write successful science lab reports? In this paper I report the strong link between language and knowledge in science. Students must develop strong language skills in science not only to communicate scientific ideas but also to gain understanding of scientific concepts. Supporting the development of language in the register of science is a challenging obstacle for science teachers. The literature will show that science teachers report being under-prepared to teach the language of science, and much of the writing they lead in science classrooms does not involve analysis and interpretation. The review of literature indicates at least four significant aspects of language in the register science. 1) Writing in science tends to use an authoritative tone that is both objective and assertive. 2) Packed with meaningful technical terms, extended noun phrases and embedded clauses, scientific writing is informationally dense. 3) Scientists make broad use of Greek and Latin roots and modify them with prefixes and suffixes, developing extensive technical vocabulary within the register of science. 4) Finally, nominalization, transforming verbs and adjectives for use as nouns, enables scientific argumentation and description of scientific processes. (231 words)

Project Type

Professional Development


ESL/ ELLs, Science, Teachers/ Teaching, Writing

Included in

Education Commons