We use cookies to provide you with the best experience on our website and to improve our communications with you. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies on this website. If you wish, however, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Click “find out more” for detailed information about how cookies are used on this website. Find out more


Guest Blog: Text sets part 2 - Science


Text sets

We are delighted to welcome Trisha Templeton, Teacher Librarian at Daramalan College, for this series discussing text sets. Part one of this series discussed text sets, the theory behind, benefits, and impact of using text sets. This blog demonstrates the benefits of using text sets in science and provides examples with learning outcomes.

Text sets have immense capacity to support literacy development and multiliteracies whilst meeting curriculum learning outcomes. By giving students specifically curated text extracts from a variety of sources and modalities, they are able to construct knowledge, as well as develop literacy and language in a social context. 

Text sets in the science classroom

The use of text sets in science classrooms has significant benefits for teaching and learning (Manie, Mabin & Liebenberg, 2018, p.389). Science textbooks often contain information at a superficial level and their format does not take into concern the developmental age of students (Lewis & Strong, 2020, p. 43). Their information overloaded pages often overwhelm low ability students, and the lack of varied viewpoints minimise opportunities for critical thinking (Lewis & Strong, 2020). 

The inclusion of text sets in classroom practice provides the students with a range of viewpoints and experiences, as well as engaging disinterested students, developing critical thinking, connecting students to the curriculum, and improving disciplinary literacy (Lewis & Strong, 2020; Mania, Mabin & Liebenberg (2018).

Critical thinking is increased when literary texts are used because it encourages students to develop empathy, use their imaginations to explore various perspectives, and challenge what is considered normal (Mania, Mabin & Liebenberg, 2018, p.391). 

In particular, the use of science fiction text extracts allows teachers to combine storytelling with factual science to increase student engagement with the content, provide information in diverse formats, and encourage students to envisage future scientific possibilities and their effect on society (Mania, Mabin & Liebenberg, 2018, p.391; Creighton, 2014). This is because science fiction highlights the human response and how science and technologies can be used and misused. 

The most famous of all these science prophets was Jules Verne who imagined space, underground, and underwater exploration in the mid 1800’s. His fictional journeys to the bottom of the ocean, centre of the earth, and outer space broke social norms and spurred others into creating innovative machines over the past two centuries.  Kay (2012) points out that Verne’s scientific calculations in his journey to the moon were only marginally different from the correct calculations of Apollo 11. Whereas, nonfiction narratives such as Shetterly’s Hidden Figures (2016) shows how women can challenge racial and gender stereotypes in STEM courses.  

Science text set example: Forces and Motions

Learning Outcomes: Science Stage 5

  • ACSSU117 - Change to an objects motion is caused by unbalanced forces.
  • ACSHE120 - Relating regulations about wearing seatbelts or safety equipment in relation to forces and motion.
  • ACSHE121 - How sports scientists apply knowledge of forces to improve performance.
Bike helmets: an emergency doctor’s perspective.

Online opinion article

Dinh, M. (2013). Bike helmets: an emergency doctor’s perspective. The Conversation. Read article 

Non Fiction book: Dirt Bikes

Non Fiction book

Caswell, D. (2019). Dirt Bikes. Chicago, IL. World Book. 

Non fiction book:  Forces and Motion

Non fiction book

Dreier, D. (2008). Forces and Motion. Oxford. Heinemann Library. 

Online News Article 

Cooper, D. (2013). Helmets reduce head injury severity. ABC - News in Science. Read article 

Textbook extract 

Linstead, G. (2016). Pearson Science 7 Student book. 
Pearson Publishing.  
Newton’s 3rd Law of motion.  

Riding a bike is an example of Newton's third law of motion because the force needed to pedal a bike forward, which is the force that the tire exerts on the ground, is equal to the force of the ground pushing against the tire. The real-world example of riding a bike can also be used to demonstrate Newton's first and second laws of motion.

Science text set example: Space Travel as a Human Endeavour

Learning Outcomes: Stage 6 Science

  • The universe contains features including galaxies, stars and solar systems, and the Big Bang theory can be used to explain the origin of the universe (ACSSU188)
  • Advances in scientific understanding often rely on technological advances and are often linked to scientific discoveries (ACSHE192)
  • People use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and advances in science can affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities (ACSHE194)
  • Values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (ACSHE230)

Non fiction book 

Kluger, J. (2018). Apollo 8: the thrilling story of the first mission to the moon. New York. Picador & Henry Holt and Company. 

Fiction novel 

Verne, J. (1970). From the Earth to the Moon. London. Dent Publishing. 

Non Fiction Picture Book 

Shetterley, M., & Freeman. L. (2018). Hidden Figures- the true story of four black women and the space race. Harper Collins 

Newspaper article - Extract from The Guardian

 Russell, N. (April, 9 2021). Revive the US Space program? How about not. The Guardian. Read article 


NASA. (2013). Why we explore - human space exploration. Beyond Earth. Read article 

Coming soon

Keep an eye out for further blogs in this series where Trisha provides examples of text set usage in English and the Humanities/Social Studies

Read more from Trisha



Balkus, Brenna C. (2019). Utilizing Text Sets To Teach Critical Literacy: Bringing Literacy Into The Social Studies Middle School Classroom.  School of Education Student Capstone Projects. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.hamline.edu/hse_cp/309

Batchelor, K. E. (2017). Around the world in 80 picture books: Teaching ancient civilizations through text sets. Middle School Journal, 48(1), 13–26. https://doi-org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1080/00940771.2017.1243922

Beck, P. (2014). Multigenre Text Set Integration: Motivating Reluctant Readers Through Successful Experiences with Text. Journal of Reading Education, 40(1), 12–19. CSU Library.  

Cervetti, G.N., & Hiebert, E.H. (2019). Knowledge at the center of English language arts instruction. The Reading Teacher, 72(4), 499–507. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1758

Creighton, J. (6th February, 2014). Isaac Asimov: Science fact and science fiction. Futurism. https://futurism.com/isaac-asimov-science-fact-and-science-fiction

Derewianka, B. (2015). The contribution of genre theory to literacy education in Australia. In J. Turbill, G. Barton & C. Brock (Eds.), Teaching Writing in Today's Classrooms: Looking back to looking forward (pp. 69-86). Norwood, Australia: Australian Literary Educators' Association. Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2620&context=sspapers

Elish-Piper, L., Wold, L., & Schwingendorf, K. (2014). Scaffolding High School Students’ Reading of Complex Texts Using Linked Text Sets. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 57 (7). DOI: 10.1002/jaal.292 © 2014 International Reading Association (pp. 565–574). CSU Library  

Hoch, M., McCarty, R., Gurvitz, D. & Sitkoski, I. (2019).  Five key principles: guided inquiry with multimodal text sets. The Reading Teacher 72 (6) pp701-710. International Reading Association CSU Library.  

Howell, H. (2016). Embedded nonfiction ideas for Macbeth. Teach like a champion [Blog]. Retrieved from https://teachlikeachampion.com/blog/helen-howell-shares-embedded-nonfiction-ideas-macbeth/

Hughes, H,. Bozorgian, H., Allan, C., & Dicinoski, M. (2013) School libraries, teacher-librarians and their contribution to student literacy development in Gold Coast schools: Research report. School Library Association of Queensland , QUT. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/60260/  

Kay, J. (23rd February, 2012). Prophets of science fiction: Jules Verne Recap. ScienceFiction.com.  https://sciencefiction.com/2012/02/23/prophets-of-science-fiction-jules-verne-recap/

Lannin, A., Juergensen, R., Smith, C., Van Garderen, D., Folk, W., Palmer, T., & Pinkston, L. (2020). Multimodal text sets to use literature and engage all learners in the science classroom. Science Scope, 44(2), 20–28.

Lewis, W., & Strong, J. (2020). Chapter 3 - Designing content area text sets. In Literacy Instruction with Disciplinary Texts: Strategies for Grades 6-12.  Guildford Publications. CSU Library.  

Lupo, S., Berry, A., Thacker, E., Sawyer, A., & Merritt, J. (2019). Rethinking text sets to support knowledge building and interdisciplinary learning. International Literacy Association 73 (4). Pp. 513-524. CSU Library. DOI:10.1002/trtr.1869

Lupo, S., Strong, J., Lewis, W., Walpole, S., & McKenna, M. (2017). Building background through reading; Rethinking text sets. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 61(4), p.433-444. https://doi-org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1002/jaal.701

Pennington, L. K., & Tackett, M. E. (2021). Using Text Sets to Teach Elementary Learners about Japanese-American Incarceration. Ohio Social Studies Review, 57(1), 1–14.

Mania, K., Mabin, L.K., & Liebenberg, J. (2018). ‘To go boldly’: teaching science fiction to first-year engineering students in a South African context.  Cambridge Journal of Education 48 (3), pp389–410, https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2017.1337721

Merga, M. (2020). School librarians as literacy educators within a complex role. Journal of Library Administration, 1-20. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/ecuworkspost2013/8875  

NSW Department of Education. (2020). Planning EAL/D support. Multicultural Education. https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/curriculum/multicultural-education/english-as-an-additional-language-or-dialect/planning-eald-support

Parker, G. (2018). The top 20 scientific breakthroughs in history. MoneyInc.com. https://moneyinc.com/top-20-scientific-breakthroughs-history/