Developing scientific literacy and numeracy

Ensure secondary science students have got to grips with key literacy and numeracy skills in biology, chemistry and physics with these popular resources

Nicola Davison

Science, Secondary, Literacy, Numeracy, Resource, Lesson, Activity, Display, Keyword, Skills, KS3, KS4, GCSE Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10, Year 11

Hand-picked resources to help you to foster cross-curricular literacy and numeracy skills in the science classroom

While recognising the importance of developing cross-curricular literacy and numeracy skills is one thing, putting it into practice can be quite another. But with the introduction of marks for quality of written communication (QWC) in some science exams, there is an increasing need for these skills to be grown in context. 

We’ve brought together a collection of top resources to ensure that learners are not only able to analyse and interpret data, but also communicate their findings clearly and accurately.

Literacy resources

  1. Literacy-focused starters and plenaries
    Suitable for all ages and abilities, these engaging activities include a range of spelling and writing exercises, which can be adapted to suit different topic areas.
  2. Keyword wall display
    Featuring many of the classic exam-specific command words, these simple posters offer students advice on choosing the relevant vocabulary, as well as structuring their writing.
  3. Sentence starter placemats
    Support learners as they write up the planning, analysis and evaluations sections of their investigations with these handy sentence starters.
  4. Editable word wheel
    Use this playful resource to ensure pupils correctly spell and understand the definitions of key words related to any unit.
  5. Extended writing guidance and mark scheme
    Prepare younger learners to write longer paragraphs in science with these top tips and accompanying feedback sheet.
  6. Conquering QWC marks presentation
    Establish the six steps to success when it comes to answering longer exam questions with this presentation, including worked examples.

Numeracy resources

  1. Numeracy-based lesson pack
    Help students get to grips with calculating averages, constructing results tables and changing units across all three sciences using these well-structured lessons.
  2. Scientific numeracy placemat
    Encourage learners to work independently through maths-based questions with this detailed mat, including useful rules, tips and formulae.
  3. Unit-less treasure hunt
    Demonstrate the importance of units when presenting scientific data with this stimulating lesson, which considers the catastrophic consequences of getting it wrong.
  4. Graphing practice sheets
    Practice makes perfect with this simple activity, requiring pupils to plot either a bar chart or line graph based on the given data.
  5. Describing graphs posters
    Demystify the language involved in describing results in charts and on graphs using this visual reminder of the OHLA mnemonic.

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