Writing Science- Persuasive texts and narratives in science

Jim Sturgiss
Aligning practice for better outcomes.
The syllabus makes it quite clear that science teachers are teachers of writing. This course is designed to show you how to use writing as a powerful tool for feedbac...
Target Audience
Secondary science teachers 7-12 Primary teachers of science.

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Outside of the English classroom, Science provides the greatest opportunity for students to write. Writing has the capacity to facilitate the abstraction of concepts and promote high order critical thinking. The Science classroom provides excellent opportunities to improve literacy skills and in turn, improve overall student learning outcomes. This course focuses on the genres of narrating and persuading; how to assess student writing from both a scientific and literacy point of view; and provides strategies on how help students write.


Secondary science teachers 7-12
Primary teachers of science.

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

Course Access - This course is available 24/7. Begin the course when it suits you. After completing the course you will still have ongoing access to review content.

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2.5.2 Proficient Level – Literacy and numeracy strategies
5.3.2 Proficient Level – Make consistent and comparable judgements
6.2.2 Proficient Level – Engage in professional learning and improve practice
Are you in NSW? If so, this is relevant for you
Completing this course will contribute 3 hours of NESA Registered PD addressing 2.5.2, 5.3.2 & 6.2.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW

This course contributes to 3.0 professional development hours.


  Start Date Location Availability Price    
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1 Engaging in writing

20 minutes

Presentation: The importance of writing in science
Writing task: Participants engage in a persuasive writing task
Presentation: Instructing persuading and narrating in science

2 Language and knowledge

20 minutes

Presentation: Language and knowledge
Presentation: What are genres?
Quiz: Identify the genre of text?

3 Persuasive texts in Science

1 hour

Presentation: Instructing
Presentation: Expositions
Task: Modality
Task: Nominalisation
Quiz: Persuasive texts in Science
Analysis of student writing – persuasive texts (SOLO)

The ALARM matrix

40 minutes

Presentation: The ALARM matrix
Quiz: Analysis of student writing

5 Historical narratives in Science

40 minutes

Text: What do children’s stories and Physics have in common?
Quiz: Analysis of student writing

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About the team

Jim Sturgiss


Improving outcomes through aligned teaching practice synergies.

Jim is an educational researcher and independent educational consultant. A recipient of the NSW PTC Distinguished Service Award for leadership in delivering targeted professional learning to teachers, he works with schools to align assessment, reporting and learning practice. He has been a DoE Senior Assessment Advisor where he developed many statewide assessments, (ESSA, SNAP, ELLA, BST) and as Coordinator: Analytics where he developed reports to schools for statewide assessments and NAPLAN.

Selected NSW Department of Education and Communities appointments
2015                            Analytics, Systems and Development Coordinator 
2012 – 2013                School Assessment Design and Development Acting Coordinator (ESSA)
2007 – 2010                Head Teacher Science, Newtown High School of Performing Arts
2004 – 2005                Senior Assessment Officer, Computer Skills Assessment (CSA6)
2004                            Test Development Officer, Secondary Numeracy Assessment Program (SNAP)
2000 – 2004                Head Teacher Science, Concord High School 
1998 – 2000                Senior Assessment Officer, English Language and Literacy Assessment (ELLA)

Teaching Qualifications
1993 – 1997                M.Ed. (Hons) University of New England (Thesis: Literacy & learning in Science) 
1979                            Dip. Ed. University of Wollongong
1976 – 1978                B.Sc. University of Wollongong (Majors in Chemistry and Bioenergetics)