Designing Science Inquiry: Claim + Evidence + Reasoning = Explanation In an interview with students, MIT's Kerry Emmanuel stated, "At the end of the day, it's just raw curiosity. I think almost everybody that gets seriously into science is driven by curiosity." Curiosity -- the desire to explain how the world works -- drives the questions we ask and the investigations we conduct. Let's say that we are planning a unit on matter. By having students observe solids and liquids, we have helped them define matter as something that has mass (or weight -- don’t worry about the difference with elementary kids!) and takes up space. Scientific Writing Scaffolds As a department we've been working on different writing scaffolds. We use Constructing Meaning as a school which I think is mostly good. We've tried all kinds of different writing frames with varying degrees of success. Most of these come from Constructing Meaning. I'm going to take you in chronological order. This was one of our first attempts.
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. Explanations: C.E.R. Prezi Claim, Evidence, Reasoning: Tools to Introduce CER in PD and Instruction I have been digging into Joseph Krajcik and Katherine McNeill’s book- Supporting Grade 5-8 Students in Constructing Explanations in Science- and I highly recommend it to any upper elementary and middle school teacher of science. The book provides a very clear and engaging look at how to use a Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) framework to improve student writing and discourse in science. The CER framework can support not only science explanations but also the Common Core State Standards’ focus on using evidence and argumentation in math and English/Language Arts. As I’ve been moving through the book, I’ve developed some tools that could be useful for professional development providers, professional learning communities, and ultimately students who are engaging with a CER framework. Resources:
Claim-Evidence-Reasoning Scientific Synopsis - Writing Center - The University of Oklahoma First a little background… This is by no means a comprehensive guide. I imagine that an internet search on “science writing” and “writing a synopsis” would turn up similar tips and tricks, including ones that I have perhaps neglected.