The Symbiosis of Science and Poetry

Sylvia Vardell, Janet Wong


Sometimes unlikely partners can benefit each other in surprising ways. For example, dogs offer protection and companionship to humans, who in turn provide food and shelter for dogs. This “give-and-take” relationship is called symbiosis, referring to relationships that have mutual benefit.

That’s true for the disciplines of science and poetry, too. Science is rich in content and poetry offers powerful language; together they can both inform and inspire.

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Valarie L. Akerson, “Teaching Science When Your Principal Says, ‘Teach Language Arts,’” in Teaching Teachers: Bringing First-Rate Science to the Elementary Classroom (Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association Press, 2002), 22.

Timothy V. Rasinski, “Speed Does Matter in Reading,” Reading Teacher 54, no. 10 (2000): 146–51.

John J. Pikulski and David J. Chard, “Fluency: Bridge Between Decoding and Reading Comprehension,” Reading Teacher 58 (2005): 510–19.

Jill Castek, “Implementing Dynamic and Interactive Science Instruction to Meet the Common Core” (keynote speech, Regional National Science Teachers Association conference, Portland, Oregon, 2013).

Christine Anne Royce, Emily Morgan, and Karen Ansberry, Teaching Science Through Trade Books (Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association Press, 2012), 6.

Erin Biba, “The Way the U.S. Teaches Science Doesn’t Work: Here’s How to Fix It,” Popular Science 9, no. 5 (2013),

J. Patrick Lewis, Face Bug (Honesdale, PA: WordSong/Highlights, 2013), 32–35.

Sylvia M. Vardell, “Classroom Connections: Connecting Science and Poetry,” Book Links 4, no. 9 (2013),



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