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English for STEM: Understanding Science Vocabulary

Learn key English vocabulary to help you explore different science subjects and advance your English language skills.

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Improve your English vocabulary in the main science subjects

This three-week course from Macquarie University EMI Centre will help you improve your English language ability as you develop your understanding of key science topics in physics, chemistry, and biology.

You’ll learn essential science vocabulary through videos, quizzes, and reading texts to help you master pronunciation, word form, and use.

The materials are designed to help you as an English language learner to understand new science vocabulary for your future studies. You’ll explore mechanics and gravity in preparation for physics, examine atoms and gases as you learn about chemistry, and uncover the living world and cells in biology.

Explore strategies to advance your language skills

Each week, you’ll focus on learning science vocabulary in context as you look at different word forms (noun, verb, adjective, adverb), listen to the pronunciation and see, hear, and practise the stressed syllable. You’ll learn about strategies for recording and revising new vocabulary and use interactive tools (like Quizlet) to do this.

You’ll also learn how to interpret written and visual texts on scientific topics, as well as key grammar, to help you improve your ability to read, listen, write, and speak in English.

Improve your academic skills

Each week, you’ll develop important academic skills to prepare you for studying in English. You’ll learn how to listen to lectures, understand lab reports, and give presentations.

Learn from the experts at Macquarie University

Throughout the course, you’ll have many opportunities to practise to ensure you master the new vocabulary.

Guided by a language trainer and a science trainer from Macquarie University EMI centre, you’ll finish the course with the confidence to use scientific vocabulary in real-life settings.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds Do you want to get ahead on English preparation for your studies and career? Sign up for Macquarie University’s ‘English for STEM’ series on FutureLearn. Improve your English so that you can study or teach science, technology, engineering or maths. STEM content specialists and English language trainers will help you develop language and skills to succeed in your studies. The course makes learning fun with STEM videos, quizzes, pronunciation practice, and interactive language tools. You’ll also learn about listening to lectures, giving presentations, and participating in discussions. Prepare for success with the Macquarie University EMI Centre’s ‘English for STEM’ series. Now available on Futurelearn.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Physics

    • Welcome to English for STEM: Science

      In this section, you will meet your language trainer and science trainer. You will also learn how to use Quizlet to record and practise new vocabulary.

    • Introduction to Physics

      In this section, you will learn some basic English vocabulary relating to physics generally and also the topic of mechanics. You will also have the chance to practise and record the new vocabulary.

    • Reading Practice

      In this section, you will read a text about gravity and answer some questions. You will also learn about comparatives and superlatives in the context of physics.

    • Academic Skill: Lectures

      In this section, you will learn about the structure of lectures and some of the language used in lectures. You will also watch parts of an example physics lecture.

    • Conclusion

      In this section, you will review some of the language you have learnt this week and look at a summary of what you have covered during the week.

  • Week 2

    Chemistry

    • Introduction to Chemistry

      In this section, you will learn some basic English vocabulary relating to chemistry generally and also the topic of atoms. You will also have the chance to practise and record the new vocabulary.

    • Reading Practice

      In this section, you will read an infographic about the noble gases in the periodic table and answer some questions. You will also learn about word forms and how this can help you expand your vocabulary in English.

    • Academic Skill: Lab Report

      In this section, you will see how a lab report is written in English and will watch a simple science experiment being conducted in a lab.

    • Conclusion

      In this section, you will review some of the language you have learnt this week and look at a summary of what you have covered during the week.

  • Week 3

    Biology

    • Introduction to Biology

      In this section, you will learn some basic English vocabulary relating to biology generally and also the topic of cells. You will also have the chance to practise and record the new vocabulary.

    • Reading Practice

      In this section, you will read a text about osmosis and answer some questions. You will also learn about how to use the zero conditional in the context of biology.

    • Academic Skill: Presentations

      In this section, you will learn watch an example of a student presentation on osmosis and learn about some of the language used in presentations. You will also learn how to use emphasis effectively during a presentation.

    • Conclusion

      In this section, you will review some of the language you have learnt this week and look at a summary of what you have covered during the week.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop key English vocabulary for Science
  • Apply strategies for recording and revising new vocabulary
  • Interpret written and visual texts on scientific topics
  • Improve your academic skills for studying in English

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for learners and educators who are studying or teaching an area of science and would like to develop their English language ability in this area.

It is most suitable for learners who have an intermediate CEFR B1 level of English.

Who will you learn with?

English Language Teacher at Macquarie University College. Cambridge CELTA. Over 10 years' teaching experience in Spain, Belgium and Australia.

Biology teacher, former IELTS clerical marker and Senior Academic Team support. Developed and delivered Biology units at Macquarie University College and Taylor's University, Malaysia.

Who developed the course?

Macquarie University

Macquarie University aspires to be a different type of university: one focused on fostering collaboration between students, academics, industry and society. Ranked in the top 1% of Universities globally, Macquarie is recognised for producing graduates who are among the most sought after professionals in the world.

  • Established

    1964
  • Location

    Sydney, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 200Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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