Todd Taylor
Professor of English

Writing in the Sciences: Popular Science Article using Adobe InDesign

Project Published 2/19/17 Last updated on 3/2/20

This learning module teaches students how scientific writing and research work by immersing them in the research, writing, and publication of a scientific article for publication for a popular, lay audience. The students work together to compile a collection of popular magazine-style scientific articles for a magazine like Popular Science or Scientific American. Each student contributes an article to the compilation. The primary goal and outcome of the project is for the students to deepen their understanding of how science and scientific communication works. As such, Adobe InDesign is a means to the end of disciplinary learning and not the end itself. However, students are likely to develop their skills with InDesign quite effectively along the way, because they are immersed in an experiential learning project, potentially with a real, public audience for their work. The module includes five pieces:

  1. (1) a brief, narrated video overview from the instructor about the project;
  2. (2) the assignment prompt, rubric, and supporting documents;
  3. (3) sample student work;
  4. (4) lesson plans for organizing and developing the student project;
  5. (5) link to tutorial videos that can be used to teach InDesign skills that students need for the project.
  • Photoshop

    Editing and compositing for photos, web and mobile app designs, 3D artwork, videos, and more.

  • InDesign

    Craft elegant layouts at your desk or on the go.

Age Levels
1+ Month
Custom Standards
WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition located online at:

The classroom needs a digital projection system to share student work under development.

The students and instructors need access to Adobe InDesign desktop publishing software.

CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
5 / 5 • 6 Ratings

Resources (5)

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Comments (7)

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Grow Weed Easy 101

Posted on 12/16/18 4:08:47 PM Permalink

​Thank you for sharing

Robyn Mortimer

Posted on 1/23/18 11:46:41 AM Permalink

​This will be a great intro for my new class starting next week. Thank you!!

Jessica Campbell

Posted on 4/18/17 6:18:27 PM Permalink

​Thanks for this great project! I took this as inspiration and my middle school students are designing their own magazine covers, but their "popsci" magazine is focusing on the tech related innovations in their favorite hobbies. So it's like "Popular Science: Horse and Kittens Edition." Instead of doing all the writing themselves, I had them find 3 current event articles and basically rip them into their own mini-mag, doing all the text and image layouts for the articles that they found. Thank you for sharing!!!

Echo Adcock Smith

Posted on 4/6/17 3:01:36 PM Permalink

​I don't understand how to actually take part in this? What do I need to click on?

Rick Henderson

Posted on 9/12/17 8:08:42 PM Permalink

Hi Echo, if this is still a problem, simply click on the Download buttons for the lesson plans and assignment rubric to save them to your computer. The video would probably make a good asset for the class as well.

However, the lesson plan and perhaps the rubric will need to be edited to your own purposes. But they're great starting points.

Katherine Eccleston

Posted on 4/5/17 3:50:08 PM Permalink

​Interesting project. I teach both science writing and publication design and hope to use a similar approach via a collaborative project between the two classes.

Tarek Bahaa El Deen

Posted on 3/23/17 7:57:28 AM Permalink

​useful resources

thank you for sharing