Claim Evidence Reasoning
By far, the biggest shift in my teaching from year 1 to year 7 has been how much emphasis I now place on evaluating evidence and making evidence-based claims. I blame inquiry. Not inquiry in the generalized, overloaded, science teaching approach sense. Just the word. "Inquiry." Even now, when I hear the word "inquiry" I still think mainly of asking questions and designing experiments. We were very busy and very engaged and learned very little. There are a few structures I've been using to help shift the focus on the class to analysis and argument. Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (pdf and pdf) is a framework for writing scientific explanations. As part of their lab handout they get a prompt that looks like this: As the year goes on I remove most of the scaffolds until ultimately the students just get a prompt or question. I've been happy with it. I like frameworks a lot. The key to implementation is that the structure of the class really has to be designed around C-E-R.