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  • Sharing students’ scientific learning through poetry can be a powerful activity as it combines artistic expression with scientific understanding. Using fictional modes can make the science more accessible and personal for the creator and audience.

    Rights: Chloe Stantiall

    Kōwhai poems

    The poems and illustrations demonstrate careful observations of kōwhai trees and flowers made by the authors.

    I was blown away by the level of creativity and language features that my students used in their poems about kōwhai trees. Having spent a week collecting and planting kōwhai seeds and observing kōwhai trees, students had an incredible amount of knowledge and vocabulary to use in their poetry. Initially, poetry seemed like a strange genre of writing to share their learning, but what each student produced far exceeded my expectations!

    Chloe Stantiall, Silverdale Normal School

    In this activity, students write poems about kōwhai trees as a way of sharing their learning. The activity includes sentence starters and examples written by year 5–6 learners working at levels 1–4 of the New Zealand Curriculum.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • recognise that scientific learning can be shared in a variety of ways
    • share their scientific understanding of kōwhai through poetry
    • illustrate their poems in a way to add more meaning.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Nature of science

    Communicating in science can take many forms. In this activity, students use content vocabulary and careful observations to create poetry about aspects of kōwhai trees.

    Related content

    Literacy through science has hints on how to connect the English and science curriculum strands.

    The topic literacy through science curates activities that have strong literacy components. Use the filters to narrow your search.

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    Check out these ready-to-use cross-curricular teaching resources:


    This article was written by Chloe Stantiall as part of the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative project Envisioning student possible selves in science: Addressing ‘plant blindness’ through place-based education. The project explores students’ sense of place and science-related possible selves through local curriculum units that focus on plants. Chloe was assisted by researchers Maurice M. W. Cheng and Bronwen Cowie from The University of Waikato.

      Published 29 May 2024 Referencing Hub articles
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