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Chemistry Reading Reflection Mark as Favorite (8 Favorites)

ACTIVITY in Interdisciplinary. Last updated January 30, 2023.


In this activity, students will read a short informational science text about chemistry in the real-world (either pre-selected by the teacher, or chosen by the student from a collection of articles) and will briefly summarize and reflect on what they read. This activity could be reused many times with different articles (or even other types of media, like videos) and would be easy to incorporate into a sub plan.

Grade Level

Middle School, High School

NGSS Alignment

This activity will help prepare your students to meet the following scientific and engineering practices:

  • Scientific and Engineering Practices:
    • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information


By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • Read an informational science text, summarize it, and reflect on what they learned and what questions they still have.

Chemistry Topics

This activity supports students’ understanding of:

  • Real-world applications of chemistry
  • Science literacy and communication


Teacher Preparation: minimal
Lesson: 15-30 minutes (per article)


  • Student handout
  • Copies of science content article(s) (physical or digital access, such as ChemMatters articles)


  • No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.

Teacher Notes

  • You can assign this activity for as many articles as you want, either in one class session or throughout the year. It could also be a good activity to have at the ready for students who finish tests/assignments early, as an extra credit assignment, or as part of a substitute lesson plan.
  • This activity makes it easy to assign informational science texts for students to read and analyze. You can select a specific article for all students, or allow students a choice in which articles to read. Ideal article length is about 2-3 pages. Some places to find good articles for the high school level include the ChemMatters archive, Chemical & Engineering News, and science-related newspaper articles, but any grade-level appropriate informational science text can be used. Texts aimed at younger students can be used with middle schoolers, such as articles from the chemistry section of Science News Explores.
    • You can remove the first question on the student handout before distributing it if you are assigning the same article to all students.
    • If you allow students to select their own articles, you will likely want to limit where the articles can come from to ensure that students are using reliable sources. One good source of articles you can use is ChemMatters. Take advantage of the Student Pass feature on https://teachchemistry.org so students can browse the 1,000+ articles in the ChemMatters archive.
  • This activity is similar to the Chemistry Close Read activity, which also has students annotate a copy of the article they read and submit that as part of the assignment. The close read activity takes a bit more time and would likely require modeling of the close read process first, but once students are comfortable with it, it also would be easy to incorporate into a sub lesson plan.
  • You may want to model summarizing (question 2) and/or writing thoughtful reflections (question 5) for students the first time using this resource, or if you have used it and found students would benefit from seeing and evaluating examples. You could also prepare some examples (either teacher generated or from anonymized student work) of varying levels and have students point out strengths and weaknesses of the responses.
    • One example of student summary and reflection is provided in the Chemistry Close Read activity mentioned above.
  • Responses to the final reflection question should be thoughtful and conceptual, not shallow, surface level comments like “I would like to know more about [the article topic],” or “I am curious what [a word from the article] meant.” (If students don’t know what a word means, for example, they should look it up!) Depending on the level of your students, you may wish to model some examples before assigning this activity.
  • This activity could also be adapted for use with other science communications media, such as informational science videos. A good source of reliable videos is the ACS Reactions series.

For the Student

  1. Which article did you read? (Include the title of the article, the author, the name of the publication, and the month/year of publication.) Why did you select this article?
  2. Summarize the main point(s) of the article in 1-2 sentences.
  3. Describe three chemistry concepts that you learned (or better understood) from reading this article.
  4. What is the most interesting thing you learned from this article, and why do you find it so interesting?
  5. Choose three of the sentence starters below and write a 2-3 sentence reflection for each after having read this article.
    • "I'd like to know more about…"
    • “I wonder…”
    • “I was surprised by…”
    • “I was reminded of…”
    • “I’m curious whether…”
    • “I was intrigued by…”
    • “I realized that…”
    • “I can relate to this because…”

    1. Reflection 1:
    2. Reflection 2:
    3. Reflection 3: