Title: The 5 W’s
Author: Becky Manis
Subject(s): Language Arts, Science
Topic(s): Communication, Space Science, Journalism, Reading, Interviews
By the end of this activity, students will be able to write a brief space science article that
includes the 5 W’s.
Summary of Activity: This activity teaches students to look for the key pieces of information
in a story so that they are prepared to write a story that covers the information a reader
wants or needs to know.
Time Allotment: 30‐45 minutes
1. Share the Formula for a Well‐Written News Article with the students
2. Pass out the student worksheet and an article per student or per pair of students.
3. Explain how good news articles include the 5 W’s.
4. Explain to the students that they must read through each article and locate the 5 W’s.
• Copies of space related newspaper, magazine, or Internet news article
• Student Worksheets
National Science and Mathematics Standards:
History and Nature of Science
CONTENT STANDARD G:
As a result of activities in grades 5‐8, all students should develop understanding of
• Science as a human endeavor
Students can be assessed based on their student worksheet.
Formula for a Well-Written News Article
1. First paragraph
In your first one or two sentences tell who, what, when, where, and why. Try to hook
the reader by beginning with a funny, clever, or surprising statement. Go for variety:
try beginning your article with a question or a provocative statement.
2. Second/Third/Fourth paragraphs
Give the reader the details. Include one or two quotes from people you interviewed.
Write in the third person (he, she, it, they). Be objective -- never state your opinion.
Use quotes to express others' opinions!
3. Last paragraph
Wrap it up somehow (don't leave the reader hanging. Please don't say...."In
conclusion" or "To finish..." (yawn!) Try ending with a quote or a catchy phrase.
• Use active words (verbs that show what's really happening.)
• Take notes when you interview. Write down quotes!
• Tell the really interesting info first!
The 5 W’s
A reporter’s job is to get the facts. People who read the newspaper, listen to
news reports or watch news programs want the basic information behind a
story. Basic information can be summed up by addressing the 5 W’s: Who?
What? Where? When? and Why?
Instructions: Choose one of the following articles to read, then determine the
Who? What? Where? When? and Why? (10 points for locating all elements)
Find and clip or copy up to 5 more articles from the newspaper or a news
magazine. Determine the 5 W’s for each article. (5 bonus points each)
Write your own news article detailing a current news event or an activity at
school. Swap your article with a partner and locate each other’s 5 W’s.