A new collection of science report game prompts for Frankenstories

The new prompt presets include classifying reports, general description, compositional description, process description, explanation, and exploration for everything from crabs to conductive materials.

Want to help your students practice basic, foundational, informational writing?

Check out our new collection of scaffolded preset prompts for scientific report writing!

The prompts reflect the Martin-Rose model of informational science text types:

  • Classifying report
  • General description
  • Compositional description
  • Process description
  • Explanation (incl causal vs consequential, linear vs factorial, and conditional)
  • Exploration

Unpacking the text types

Depending on your background, these labels might be slightly more abstract than you're used to.

However, they're valuable because they show us basic information patterns that reoccur throughout science writing and that we can assemble into more complex science texts (such as lab reports or research papers).

For example, a classifying report tells us about relationships between things and why something belongs to a particular category.

For instance, what is the relationship between corn and other grasses? Or between varieties of corn? What properties determine those relationships?

Text prompt: Write a classifying report about this subject or phenomenon. Image prompt: Cobs of corn growing on a stalk.

The first three rounds of a Frankenstories game using the prompt above, classifying corn kernels into three types—starchy, sweet, and waxy.

In contrast, a general descriptive report tells us what is distinctive or interesting about something.

For example, what's interesting about cows?

Text prompt: Write a descriptive report about this subject or phenomenon. Image prompt: A herd of cows.

A couple of rounds of a Frankenstories game describing cows' swimming capabilities and the origin of the word 'cattle'.

We don't yet have teacher notes for this topic, but most of the game prompts have demo games to give you a sense of how each variation works.

In the meantime, if you want more info, here's a summary of scientific text types from PETAA and I can recommend Investigating Model Texts for Learning as an easy intro and Genre Relations: Mapping Culture for more advanced reference.

You can also play with voice and attitude

Most of our demo games take an encyclopedia-style approach to report writing, but you can encourage students to explore other voices and attitudes towards information & audience.

For example, you might ask students to write like a science journalist working for a middle-school science magazine (factual but fun) or write like a conspiracy theorist running their own YouTube channel (follow the report structure, but be more rhetorical and don't worry about facts):

A Frankenstory titled These Night Lights Are Up to No Good. Text prompt: Write a report describing various alternative explanations for this process or phenomenon. Image prompt: The night sky filled with shooting stars.

A few rounds from the Frankenstory, written in a conspiracy theorist tone, explaining the shooting stars as potentially secret military tech, an alien invasion, or Big Brother surveillance

Customise the images (and prompts) to suit whatever you're teaching

An explanation report prompt in the game editor with a custom image about splinters and editable round instructions.

We made variations of each text type to give you a sense of possibility, but as with all preset prompts, you can change them however you like, including uploading your own images or browsing our image library.

Speaking of which, we have a bunch of "nonfiction" images you might not have noticed

The 'Wildlife' image theme has photos of a variety of animal species.

You have to scroll down to the bottom of the image theme list, but you'll find:

  • Environment (landscapes and nature photography)
  • Wildlife (animals)
  • STEM (mostly diagrams and illustrations)
  • Natural disasters (floods, fires, etc)
  • Topical (a jumble of contemporary, non-fiction-type images)

You can browse around these collections to find relevant images for your games or upload your own.

Content Frankenstories