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An Interview with a Glass of Water Capability: Interpret representations NoS achievement aims: Communicating in science Contextual strands: Material world Contextual strands: Planet Earth and beyond Level : 3,4

Author: Jeffy James.  Connected 2, 2002, pages 2–5

The Water Cycle. Author: William Rea.  Connected 2, 2002, pages 6–9

This resource illustrates how a Connected journal can provide opportunities for students to strengthen their capability to make sense of representations in the context of science.

Curriculum Aims and AOs

NZC LINKS: The Nature of Science strand


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Communicating in science

Develop knowledge of the vocabulary, numeric and symbol systems, and conventions of science and use this knowledge to communicate about their own and other’s ideas.

L3 & 4:

Begin to use a range of scientific symbols, conventions and vocabulary.

Engage with a range of scientific texts and begin to question the purposes for which these texts are constructed.

NZC LINKS: Planet Earth and Beyond, Material World


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Interacting systems

Investigate and understand that the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere are connected via a complex web of processes.

L3 & 4:

Investigate the water cycle and its effect on climate, landforms, and life.



Learning focus

L3 & 4 students compare scientific and narrative writing styles.

Learning activity

This Connected journal contains a story and an article about water. While both are written to inform, An Interview with a Glass of Water is a personal account from the point of view of the water, and The Water Cycle is an example of a classic science text.

Adapting the resource

Reading both the story and the article provides an opportunity for introducing the idea that there is a “science way of writing” and this has some particular features that make it different from other writing styles. At this level you will need to be careful not to overload students with too much detail about the structure of scientific writing. It is likely to be more useful to focus on general impressions rather than trying to cover all features.

After reading the two articles, ask students:

  • What did you notice about the two different writing styles?
  • What do you think the purpose of each piece of writing is?
  • Which article focuses mainly on things and events, and which includes feelings and characters?
  • What does the article The Water Cycle tell us is valued in science?/ How does science writing show that science is about things and processes rather than about people and their feelings?

Follow up students' responses with more in depth discussion about any features of scientific writing that they have noticed or are particularly interested in. 

What’s important here?

Scientists represent their ideas in a variety of ways, including models, graphs, charts, diagrams and written texts. The ways of thinking that are valued in science are embodied in the literacy practices of science, e.g., focusing on things and processes.

Understanding and using the literacy practices of science supports students to think in new ways and supports students to become scientifically literate, i.e., to participate as critical, informed, and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role. (This is the purpose of science in NZC.)

What are we looking for?

Can students identify scientific writing?

Can they recognise some elements of scientific writing?

Can they suggest the author's purpose?

Opportunities to learn at different curriculum levels

For suggestions about adapting tasks in ways that allow students to show progress in gathering and interpreting data see  Progressions .

Exploring further

There are two Assessment Resource Banks English resources that focus on the language of science:  Variable oystercatchers  and  The moa . Both these resources have extensive Teachers’ Notes about the features of science writing.

Other resources for this capability

Watch Me! (L1) Ready to Read series 2009, Guided Reading level: yellow

Seeds (L1 & 2) Connected 1, 1999

Light and Colour: Our Vision of the World (L1 & 2) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 10

Standing Up: Skeletons and Frameworks (L1 & 2) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 51

Ferns (L3 & 4) Connected 3, 2002

Why Does It Always Rain on Me? (L3 & 4) Connected, Level 3, 2012

Spring is a Season: How Living Things Respond to Seasonal Changes (L3 & 4) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 44

The Air around Us: Exploring the Substance We Live in (L4) Building Science Concepts, Booklet 30

Catch My Drift (L4 & 5) Connected, Level 4, 2012

Bioaccumulation interactive (L5) Science Learning Hub

The elements: element analyser interactive (L5) Digistore on TKI

Garden Bird Survey: Participants’ Stories (L5) Landcare Research webpage

The Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (L5) GNS Science webpage

Key words

Connected, water