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In a recent chat with an administrator, they were reaching out because this teacher is using a new curriculum, and every time he/she goes into the classroom, the students are just talking. My response: That's perfect! 

Student talk is one of the most critical underlying aspects to each and every Science and Engineering Practice. This phrase echos in my head: Whoever is doing the most talking, is doing the most learning. Of course know that is not always true, but students must discuss while engaging in sensemaking, developing and using models, argumentation, investigations, etc. etc. If students are too quiet, misconceptions may be forming, questions are going unanswered, and dots are not connected. How will you plan and support discourse in your classroom? Even for those students who "won't talk?" A lot of our learning has been leading up to this, as you implement previous modules, their success depends on student discourse. 

Why is Talk Important?

  • Talk is integral to human learning and provides a window into student thinking, revealing understanding and misunderstanding.

  • Talk helps teachers make decisions on how to support students as they progress in their language development.

  • Student talk makes their thinking public.

  • Students’ ideas are resources and perspectives for others. Through exchanging views with others, students develop their understanding of the science beyond what could be achieved individually.

  • Talk supports robust learning by boosting memory, providing richer associations, and supporting language development.

  • Talk supports deeper reasoning and encourages students to reason with evidence.

  • Talk supports the development of social skills and encourages risk-taking which can have big payoffs for learning.

  • Scientists and engineers communicate through talk to make sense of their work, gather feedback, and refine their ideas.

  • Talk apprentices students into the social and intellectual practices of science.

(Collected from San Diego Department of Education, pulled from Inquiry Project and Ambitious Science Teaching)

 In this module, you will have multiple modes to explore student discourse. Ideally, we would also engage in discussion, but with everyone at different points in the course, please PLEASE talk to a colleague. 


Must Read: 

Talk Science Primer


You are about to facilitate a discussion in your classroom and need to make a plan for it. I assure you, winging it is very hard to do and in the end much less effective. 

Consider the Talk Moves:

What will you use? 

What will you make available to students? How will you make it visible and available? 



Visit the Library of Resources for the Inquiry Project, select a couple videos to learn more and view Talk Moves in the classroom, or learn more about utilizing them. 


You are about to facilitate a discussion in your classroom and need to make a plan for it. I assure you, winging it is very hard to do and in the end much less effective. Use one of the discourse planning tools to prepare for the conversation. Be sure to share your completed planning tool with me ( for credit in this module. 



Give the discussion a try!  You've planned for it, next step is to facilitate it. Complete the Google Form to share your thoughts, take-aways, successes, and challenges. 


I HIGHLY recommend recording a discourse opportunity in your classroom. We often miss things in the moment, or do not fully hear what students are saying. By recording the discussion, you can play it back to be a more active listener and elicit participation, depth of ideas, ways you can support students, your role in the discussion, and more. Use the Inquiry Project's Reflection Tool to think about the discussion. 

As a department or team, what will be your norms for discussion. We had this module early on, but now is a great time (if you haven't already) to set norms for discussion in the classroom. Different discussions may have slight variations on norms. 

Just in case: Remote Learning Resource from OpenSciEd on Discourse

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