Robert Hooke’s Micrographia is a wonderful text. The extract above describing the discovery of cells is a unique insight into the discovery of a key concept in science. And it fits in the curriculum. Every child should read it, and not just because it is the 350th anniversary of its publication.
Its just a bit too hard to read though. So I have adapted it: Of The Cells and Pores of Frothy Bodies. I hope I haven’t mangled it too much. I follow my own rule of keeping what I can. With support, most secondary school children can read it.
My preferred strategy for reading non-fiction texts was developed with Cooperative Learning advocate and teacher Jakob Werdelin. We are presenting our work at this January’s ASE conference in Birmingham.
Our philosophy is to teach children to read using the same reading strategies that scientists use: questioning and summarising. We believe this is best done collaboratively. Paired reading is an excellent tool. Student A reads a paragraph and student B either summarises it or asks a question about it. We aim for students to internalise this dialogue for when they read alone. We make this explicit in our teaching.
If you are coming to the conference on the Thursday, we’d love to see you. If not, please drop us a line.