Building Literacy and Science Knowledge Task Sets

New standards and new assessments call for new ways of working in science classrooms. Science teachers are charged with advancing students' knowledge of science concepts while also supporting them to read and write about texts. The IFL's Building Literacy and Science Knowledge (BLSK) task sets are designed to provide students with opportunities to practice using one or more science texts to build and present knowledge in science.

BLSKs are designed around complex science text(s) and text-based tasks. Students are supported to read the text(s) multiple times and for different purposes, including to build science and literacy knowledge, connect visuals and text, graphically represent ideas, and connect ideas across text. Students are supported to engage in a text-based writing and talk with questions and prompts that guide student-to-student discussion and sense-making.

BLSKs span 3-5 days and can be flexibly integrated into existing curricula and courses of study. The IFL offers BLSK-specific professional development to support teachers and other educators to use and learn from these materials.

Mighty Microbes Purchasable Online

Grade Level
3

This third grade BLSK asks students to learn about microbes and the work they do in and on our bodies by reading, writing, and talking about the text "Meet Your Mighty Microbe." As their final task, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the text and its ideas in writing by using what they have learned to explain the important work that microbes do to keep us healthy.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00

Trees That Would Not Grow Purchasable Online

Grade Level
3

In this third grade BLSK, students learn about how scientists study and solve problems by reading, writing, and talking about the text "The Trees That Would Not Grow" by Susan E. Quinlan. Quinlan explores how scientists have studied and tried to solve the problem of pine trees that were not thriving. As their final task, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the text and its ideas in writing by using what they have learned to argue what living thing is surprisingly important to pine trees and why.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00

Arctic Animals Purchasable Online

Grade Level
4

In this fourth grade BLSK, students consider structures and behaviors that help animals survive arctic conditions. Students to learn about two arctic animals, the artic fox and the musk ox, by reading, writing, and talking about two texts. As their final task, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of both texts and their ideas by writing an explanation of how the arctic fox and the musk ox are able to survive challenges of living in the arctic.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00

Plant vs. Animal Purchasable Online

Grade Level
4

In this fourth grade BLSK, students learn about plant and animal structures that aid in survival. Students read, write, and talk about the text, "Plant vs. Animal" by Donna O'Meara. As their final task, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the text by drafting an essay in which they make an argument about who is the winner—plants, animals, neither, or both.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00

Looking at Mushrooms Purchasable Online

Grade Level
5

This fifth grade BLSK asks students to learn about fungi and how they function by reading, writing, and talking about the text "Looking at Mushrooms." As their final task, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the text and its ideas by writing an explanation of how mushrooms grow and function in a forest for an audience who doesn't know much about fungi.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00

Water Shortage Purchasable Online

Grade Level
5

This fifth grade BLSK asks students to read, write, and talk about water shortage issues based on two texts: "Are We Running Out of Water?" by Brian Richter and "You Are Drinking What?" by Paul Kix. Each article provides an argument for a potential solution to the water shortage problem. As their final task, students are asked to draft an essay in which they argue which of these two texts presents the more effective argument based on the given evidence and reasoning.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00

Pollution at the Ends of the Earth Purchasable Online

Grade Level
6

In this sixth grade BLSK, students read, write, and talk about the text "Pollution at the Ends of the Earth" by Douglas Fox. Fox explores how persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are created in industrial regions of the world and then travel to remote regions where the POPs impact the local communities. As their final task, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the text and its ideas by creating a map and diagrams based on evidence from the text. Using their map and diagrams, students are then asked to draft an explanation of how POPs from other parts of the world reach and affect the children in Kuujjuaq.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00

A Low-Tech Treatment for Bee Plague Purchasable Online

Grade Level
7

This seventh grade BLSK asks students to learn how bees impact our food sources and consider the potential impact of Colony Collapse Disorder by reading, writing, and talking about the text "A Low-Tech Treatment for Bee Plague." As their final task, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the text and its ideas by writing an explanation of Colony Collapse Disorder and the potential impacts from the loss of bees.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00

Elk Vanishing Act Purchasable Online

Grade Level
8

This eighth grade BLSK asks students to learn about how wolves and other factors are affecting the elk population in Yellowstone National Park by reading, writing, and talking about the text "Elk Vanishing Act." As their final task, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the text and its ideas by creating a visual representation and drafting an essay to explain the factors that contribute to the decrease of elk in Yellowstone National Park.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00

Altruism Purchasable Online

Grade Level
HS Biology

This high school BLSK asks students to learn about how altruistic behaviors observed within two animal communities fit within Darwin's theory of natural selection, by reading, writing, and talking about the texts "Sentinels: Meerkat Superheroes" and "Honeybees Reveal That Evolution Is Stranger Than You Ever Realized." As their final task, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the texts and the ideas by drafting an essay in which they argue to what extent altruism functions within Darwin's theory of natural selection.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00

The Immortal Devil Purchasable Online

Grade Level
HS Biology

This high school BLSK asks students to learn about devil facial tumor disease, an unusual cancer that is devastating the Tasmanian devil population, by reading, writing, and talking about the text "The Immortal Devil." As their final task, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of the text and its ideas in writing by determining the strategies scientists have come up with to help battle devil facial tumor disease in light of its uniqueness.

Purchase this teacher manual with 25 student readers for $75.00