Chemistry as a Second Language

Journal Article by: Cara Hanes Digital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Chemistry is a unique language in and of itself that can be difficult for students to understand. As a result, the basic curriculum approach described in this article was designed to make chemistry more accessible to students, especially those who are second-language learners. This approach incorporates multiple intelligences, the learning cycle, and specially designed academic instruction in English (SDAIE) strategies. Through the implementation of these strategies, students learn how to write and decode chemical formulas, understand chemical reactions, and explore the concept of the mole.

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A selection from The Science Teacher—February 2004

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Reviews (3)
  • on Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:24 PM

This resource utilizes the different learning modalities and Second Language Learning strategies to instruct students in the basics of chemical nomenclature, conservation of matter, and balancing chemical equations.

Therese  (Salisbury, MD)
Therese (Salisbury, MD)

  • on Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:01 PM

This article describes strategies such as the learning cycle, multiple intelligences and English learning strategies used to help students understand the language of chemistry. From chemical symbols to chemical formulas to understanding chemical reactions, and ending with the mole, this author explains the step by step process she has used to forward the goal of understanding chemistry.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:40 AM

I agree with the author that Chemistry is a completely new language for most students. The author outlines her use of multiple intelligences, the learning cycle, and specially designed academic instruction in English (SDAIE) strategies to help students learn to "speak" Chemistry. She describes how she teaches her students to write chemical formulas and understand chemical reactions and the molar concept. I appreciate many of the strategies discussed in this article and look forward to incorporating them into my chemistry class.

Ruth Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

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