Supporting Grade 5-8 Students in Constructing Explanations in Science: The Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning Framework for Talk and Writing
©2012 |Pearson |
Katherine L. McNeill, Boston College, Boston College
Joseph S. Krajcik, University of Michigan
©2012 |Pearson |
By providing a variety of strategies, scenarios, examples of student writing, classroom video clips from across all science content areas, rubrics, and guidelines for designing assessment items, Supporting Students with Writing Scientific Explanations: Claims, Evidence, Reasoning and Rebuttal Framework in Grades 5-8 provides teachers with the tools to successfully incorporate scientific explanation in their own classrooms.
Grounded in NSF-funded research, this book/DVD supports middle grades science teachers with an instructional framework that breaks down the complex practice of scientific explanation into four components–claim, evidence, reasoning, and rebuttal–and providesconcrete examples of what this scientific inquiry practice looks like when it is successfully implemented in real classrooms. Over the last nine years that McNeill and Krajcik have developed, field tested, and refined this instructional model, they found that incorporating this framework for scientific explanation into curriculum materials, teacher instructional strategies, and assessments enhances students conceptual understanding and improves their ability to think and communicate more scientifically by carefully analyzing evidence and backing up their claims. Simultaneously, learning tasks requiring explanation afford a powerful formative assessment by making student thinking about scientific concepts more transparent to teachers so that they can better adapt their instruction to all students' needs. The chapters guide teachers step by step through presenting the framework for students, creating learning tasks that connect scientific explanation writing to lessons, providing curricular scaffolds (that fade over time) to support students in their writing, critiquing explanations and providing students with feedback, developing scientific explanation assessment tasks, and using the information from assessment tasks to inform instruction.
“I would encourage others to use it as a resource for a professional learning community or department discussion group and the like… absolutely I would recommend it – why? it is simply good for our students’ developing understanding of science…”
- Pamela M. Pelletier, Senior Program Director, Science K-12, Boston Public Schools, Boston, Massachusetts
" It can easily be used to guide middle school teams to collaboratively work together to ask higher order thinking questions in any core content area. This type of questioning leads to great classroom discourse, therefore engaging students in using claims, evidence, and reasoning."
"I see this book being used as a district professional development tool for teachers, especially since it focuses on creating more sophisticated uses of scientific explanations in the classroom as students learn more about the process."
- Kendra Walters Durham, Science Teacher, Wester Middle School, Frisco, Texas
"I think this is a great book and will be a very useful guide for middle level teachers. I am definitely purchasing this book and I will encourage my colleagues, both in science and other content areas to also make the purchase. The explanation framework provides a powerful tool, in my opinion, for middle school teachers to inter-disciplinary work towards building 21st century competencies.
I this is book would be extremely for in-service and pre-service teachers. I could certainly be very effectively used for professional development or book study opportunities."
- Ann M. Novak, 7th/8th Grade Science Teacher, Greenhills School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sample chapter is available for download in PDF format.
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Chapter 1: Importance of Supporting Students in Scientific Explanation
1.1. The role of explanations in science
1.2. Scientific explanations in the classroom
1.3. Benefits of scientific explanations
1.4. Alignment with the national science standards
1.5. Student challenges with scientific explanations
1.6. Check Point
1.7. Study Group Questions
Chapter 2: Framework for Constructing Scientific Explanations
2.1. Students’ understandings of scientific explanations
2.2. Framework for constructing scientific explanations
2.3. Video Example – Introducing the instructional framework
2.4. Examples of scientific explanations
2.5. Increasing the complexity of the framework over time
2.6. Benefits of the framework for all learners
2.7. Check Point
2.8. Study Group Questions
Chapter 3: Designing Learning Tasks for Your Science Curriculum
3.1. Considerations for designing learning tasks
3.2. Step 1: Identify opportunities in the curriculum
3.3. Examples of learning tasks
3.4. Step 2: Design complexity of the learning task
3.5. Step 3: Create Classroom Support
3.6. Check Point
3.7. Study Group Questions
Chapter 4: Teaching Strategies to Integrate into Classroom Instruction
4.1. Teaching strategies
4.2. Supporting all learners
4.3. Check Point
4.4. Study Group Questions
Chapter 5: Developing Assessment Tasks and Rubrics
5.1. Overview of the development process
5.2. Step 1: Identify and unpack the content standard
5.3. Step 2: Select scientific explanation level of complexity
5.4. Step 3: Create learning performances
5.5. Step 4: Write the assessment task
5.6. Step 5: Review the assessment task
5.7. Step 6: Develop specific rubric
5.8. Check Point
5.9. Study Group Questions
Chapter 6: Using Rubrics and Student Data to Inform Instruction
6.1. Role of assessment in creating a supportive learning environment
6.2. Using rubrics to support student learning
6.3. Providing students with feedback
6.4. Check Point
6.5. Study Group Questions
Chapter 7: Supporting Learning Over Time
7.1. Developing a classroom culture
7.2. A learning progression for scientific explanation
7.3. Connecting to other content areas
7.4. Check Point
7.5. Study Group Questions
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Katherine L. McNeill is an Assistant Professor of science education at Boston College. A former middle school science teacher, she received her doctorate in science education from the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on helping students with diverse backgrounds become interested in science and learn both science content and scientific inquiry practices. Specifically, she has recently focused on how to support students in engaging in scientific explanation and argumentation in both talk and writing. Her research has been generously funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). She has published numerous book chapters and journal articles from this work, including articles in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Science Education, The Journal of the Learning Sciences, and International Journal of Science Education.
Joseph Krajcik, a Professor at the University of Michigan, develops classroom environments in which students find solutions to important intellectual questions that subsume essential learning goals. He is a fellow of AAAS and AERA, served as president of National Association for Research in Science Teaching in 1999, and received guest professorships from Beijing Normal University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2009, he was named a distinguished professor at Ewha Woman’s University in South Korea and served as a faculty member in the Institute for Global Science, Technology and Society Education. In 2010, he received the Distinguished Contributions to Science Education Through Research Award from NARST.
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