Creative writing gets left out of the STEM conversation far too often. We’ve all heard about how a consistent writing practice improves literacy, expands vocabulary, and strengthens kids’ abilities to communicate. What we don’t often hear about, however, is how writing supports a greater understanding of STEM subjects, like math and science. When creative writing exercises are integrated into math and science curriculum, they can increase students’ capacity for information intake and retention as well as increase their speed of information retrieval. Let’s talk about how.
Writing has been linked to boosting memory and recall. Our brains store information in memory networks and a single concept can be stored in multiple networks. Processing math and science concepts through writing give the brain new ways to interpret information, and creates neurological paths to store it. As a result, writing creates connections across these networks, strengthening the memories themselves and increasing the speed with which we can recall a concept. Think of it this way: the more places a piece of information is stored in our brain, the faster we’re able to remember it.
You may be asking how to incorporate writing into math and science, but it’s more natural than you think. There’s the classic research paper, which may elicit a groan from a class full of students but is a tried-and-true method of making sure they grasp the material. Research papers force students to synthesize facts and commentary and show off their interpretation of their findings. They can produce opinion or op-ed style pieces defending an opinion, perhaps of a scientific theory or a lesson just covered in class. These exercises make students practice constructing and proving an argument, skills that will come in handy throughout their lives. For a more creative approach, they can keep a journal to write in during lab experiments or throughout projects. In their entries, they can document progress, explore their own hypotheses, or write out their reactions to each step of whatever process they’re exploring. With any of these exercises, young writers will be processing information in a new way, solidifying it in their memories. They’ll be getting comfortable with the technical, scientific vocabulary and how to put it into practice. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll learn how to integrate their own voice and perspective into material that could use some personality, and how to communicate complicated topics in simple, engaging, readable terms.
We love seeing research that proves the importance of our work. We love having our passion for writing proven valuable in so many ways. This is why we do what we do: to give students skills that they’ll use across multiple disciplines for the rest of their lives. We believe in the work we do, and we hope our community does, too.
It’s time for our 2020-2021 Annual Giving. We’d appreciate any contribution you can make to our organization,which will allow us to empower our young writers.
If you are so inclined, please donate on our website, Cashapp $LIFT2Enrichga, or use PayPal.me/LIFT2Enrichga. Thank you for your support.