Technical Writing

Topics: Technical writing, Technical communication, Technical writer Pages: 10 (2316 words) Published: August 22, 2010
Technical Writing
Grade Level: 9-12 Group Size: 20-30

Time: 60-70 Minutes

Presenters: 1

This lesson will enable students to: • • • • Define technical writing. Identify characteristics of effective technical writing. Write step-by-step instructions. List differences between technical and creative writing.

This lesson aligns with the following National Standards for the English Language Arts: • Standard 4: Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively

Standard 5: Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and different audiences for a variety of purposes.

use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with

• • • • • • • • “What is Technical Writing” overhead or handout (Appendix A) 20-30 mouse traps “Characteristics of Effective Technical Writing” overhead or handout (Appendix B) 20-30 index-sized cards for instructions

20-30 bite-sized chocolate candy bars for bait

20-30 Mouse Trap final draft cards with illustration (Appendix C) “Mouse Trap Instructions” handout (Appendix D) Technical Writing Samples or overheads (

Revision Date: 12/20/2007 1 © 1999 Micron Technology Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Set up the "What is Technical Writing" and "Characteristics...” overheads or handouts for the introduction. If you are not using the posters, make overheads of the handouts (Appendix A & B). Students should have pencil and paper and sit at a desk so they have a solid surface to set the trap on for research. You may use 3x5 cards or print a sheet with 6 illustrated cards for the editing exercise. The purpose of the smaller work area is to force the students to limit the number of steps and the number of words. By supplying the illustration for the editing exercise, they don't have to spend time drawing, only labeling the parts.

Introduce yourself and explain briefly your job or the job of technical writers. Today we are going to discuss technical writing and its importance in the work place. Q: What is technical writing?

Q: Have you been doing any technical writing in your classes? Q: What kinds have you tried?

Show students the “Definition of Technical Writing” (Appendix A). Here is one definition of technical writing:

What is Technical Writing?
“Technical writing conveys specific information about a technical subject to a specific audience for a specific purpose… The words and graphics of technical writing are meant to be practical: that is, to communicate a body of factual information that will help an audience understand a subject or carry out a task.” Michael H. Markel Director of Technical Communication Boise State University

Q: Keeping this definition in mind, what are some examples of technical writing?

A: Encourage responses from the students and comment on their answers. Answers will vary software documentation, online help for games and software, advertising copy, data books and catalogs, instructional posters, speeches and presentations, presentation materials, press releases, newsletters, cookbooks and clothing patterns, scripts for training and promotional 2

but may include: user manuals, instructions and training materials, maintenance manuals,

videos, business letters, resumes and cover letters, contracts, proposals, grants, feasibility reports, training materials, questionnaires and forms, research and scientific papers.

Show the overheads or examples from the web page ( . As you are showing the examples explain the types of writers for each example. I.e. Email, suggestions – any employee; exploded diagram – engineer, technician; specifications – engineers, department technical writer. Let’s discuss the characteristics of...
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