Supporting Grade 5-8 Students in Constructing Explanations in Science: The Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning Framework for Talk and Writing

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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 Grade 5-8 Students in Constructing Explanations in Science: The Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning Framework for Talk and Writing 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.

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What Educators Are Saying

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

"[This book] 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."

- Kendra Walters Durham, Science Teacher, Wester Middle School, Frisco, Texas

Take a Look Inside

  • Integrates video clips from a range of grade levels and contexts (e.g., urban and suburban) throughout the text to demonstrate the use of the scientific explanation framework in actual classrooms (Chapters 2, 4 and 7)
  • Provides examples of student work throughout the book to demonstrate student accomplishment and to illustrate the most common student difficulties and strategies for supporting those challenges. (Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 6)
  • Incorporates learning strategies that can support all students, including English Language Learners and students with special needs, and helps teachers with ideas on how to modify instruction to best meet the needs of their students.
  • Presents rubrics for evaluating students' written explanations and sample assessment tasks with model teacher critiques of student explanations based on developed rubric.

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About the author (2012)

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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