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ENGLISH AND SOCIAL STUDIES

Proceedural Text for Science Fair

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Features of Text Forms

Instructions - Procedural Texts


Purpose

The purpose is to tell the reader how to do or make something.

The information is presented in a logical sequence of events which is broken up into small sequenced steps. These texts are usually written in the present tense.

The most common example of a procedural text is a recipe.

Types of Procedural Texts

There are different procedural texts for different purposes:-

  • Texts that explain how something works or how to use instruction /operation manuals eg how to use the video, the computer, the tape recorder, the photocopier, the fax.
  • Texts that instruct how to do a particular activity eg recipes, rules for games, science experiments, road safety rules.
  • Texts that deal with human behaviour eg how to live happily, how to succeed.

Features

Structure

    • Each type of procedural text has a format.
    • Recipes usually have the information presented in at least two basic groups: ingredients and method.
    • Games instructions usually include instructions on how to play, rules of the game, method of scoring, and the number of players.
    • Scientific experiments usually include the purpose of the experiment, equipment, procedure, observations and conclusion.

Instructions need to be clear, logical and easy to follow eg

    • the goal is clearly stated
    • the materials are listed in order of use
    • the layout of the text is easy to understand and follow (steps are numbered or listed)
    • is chronological.

Language

The text usually:

    • is written in the simple present tense (do this, do that)
    • focuses on generalised people rather than individuals (first you take, rather than first I take)
    • the reader is often referred to in a general way, ie. pronouns (you or one)
    • action verbs (imperative verbs), (cut, fold, twist, hold etc)
    • simple present tense (you cut, you fold, you mix)
    • linking words to do with time (first, when, then) are used to connect the text
    • detailed information on how (carefully, with the scissors); where (from the top); when (after it has set)
    • detailed factual description (shape, size, colour, amount)

 

There are a lot of times when you have to write out directions of how to do something. Sometimes you have to explain how something works, how to make something, or how to get from one place to another.

Here’s a way to help you write an explanation.

  1. Make a list of all the steps – don’t go into a lot of detail, just enough that you remember what to write about.
  2. Make sure all of the steps are in the right order.
  3. If you’re giving directions to make something, make sure you give a list that tells all the stuff you’ll need.
  4. Start your explanation with a good sentence that explains what you’re trying to do.
  5. Write all the directions as briefly and clearly as possible. Use words like first, second, and next to help the reader understand.
  6. Edit what you’ve written, and then try to follow the directions yourself. Make any changes that you might have missed the first time.
  7. Have someone else try to follow your directions. If they don’t understand, write it more clearly so they do.
  8. Use illustrations if they help make the written words more clear.

 


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