Designing Science Inquiry

Claim + Evidence + Reasoning = Explanation

Teaching scientific methods can be accomplished through the use of the Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning framework.

In an interview with students, Kerry Emmanuel, of MIT, noted that at the end of the day, it is just pure curiosity that drives them. “I believe that curiosity drives practically everyone serious about science,” Kerry Emmanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, observed. Inquisitiveness, or the desire to understand the world, motivates the questions and investigations that we do.

Consider the scenario in which we are putting together a unit on matter. We have aided pupils with observing liquids and solids in a variety of situations. Because of this, they have been able to define matter as everything that has either mass or weight (don’t worry, primary school kids, won’t get it incorrect) and takes up physical space. Following that, we will encourage pupils to consider the concept of air. Or is there something else? Students are now motivated by the need to identify whether or not air is a component of matter. Air can be considered a form of matter.

Students are then asked what information they will need to answer the question as a next step. We might also inquire as to how they intend to obtain the information, or how they intend to investigate. Students will be required to determine if air has mass or occupies space. Then they could recommend that they weigh a basketball many times every time they pump air into their tires. Students can come up with an explanation after they have completed the research and collected the data they need. Describe the appearance and sensation of an excellent explanation.

An explanation can be defined as follows:

The assertion that provides an answer to the question
Observations based on student data
To reason, one must apply scientific principles or rules to explain why the evidence supports or contradicts the argument under consideration.

Students may propose the following explanation: Air is a form of substance (claim). Evidence demonstrated that the weight of the ball increased as we pumped more air into the container and that this trend continued (evidence). This demonstrates that air is heavy, which is a property of matter and one of the characteristics of air (reasoning).

Adding data and logic regarding air taking up space can improve the effectiveness of this explanation.

Students Should Be Taught About CER

It is unlikely that your kids will be able to comprehend the CER structure for writing explanations. To ensure that your students understand the CER format, it will be vital to explain and model it for them. As kids gain more experience in writing explanations, they will require additional assistance throughout the year.

The Curiosity Mars Rover, operated by NASA, allows students to witness firsthand how explanations drive research. After seeing the video on the mission’s science objectives, invite your pupils to submit questions. a.

What exactly do these scientists have an interest in?
What kind of information will the rover collect?
What will be possible for scientists to do with this information?

As an example of how students can be introduced to the components of explanations through an Audi commercial, Jeff Rohr, an elementary school teacher in Beaver Dam (Wisconsin), suggests that students watch a commercial for the company and identify the claim, evidence, and then the reasoning—or rule—that connects the evidence with the girl’s assertion that her father is a space alien.

Allow the Inquiry to get underway.

For your children to succeed in CER throughout the school year, you should follow the following guidelines.

  • The pursuit of CER should be the ultimate goal of scientific endeavor.
  • Concrete (non-science) examples include mysteries, photographs, and other works of art. (See an example worksheet PDF0_ for more information.
  • Create a table that will serve as an anchor.
  • To evaluate examples, create a rubric with your students and distribute it to them.
  • Identify and discuss instances of scientists or science from the field. CER worksheets can be made utilizing data from the teacher (see an example worksheet PDF0_ for more information).
  • Incorporate connections to other subject areas, such as arguments in social studies.
  • Peer review is important.