Monday, August 29, 2011

What about claims and evidence?

     I just sat through an excellent overview of Junior Great Books - a reading curriculum that uses the shared inquiry approach.   I absolutely loved it because it follows my philosophy towards teaching.  In other words, it teaches kids how to think!  Inquiry is all about asking questions and finding answers/solutions in many different ways.  Finally - a reading resource that works like my math/science resources.  One of the components is to find your evidence from the story to back up your thinking.  Wow - that's simply claims and evidence. 

      In the FOSS Notebook folio (page 27) the authors write a little about this idea: "A claim is an assertion about how the natural world works.  A student might claim that metals stick to magnets.  For the claim to be accurate, it must be supported by evidence - statements that are directly correlated with data.Evidence can refer to specific observations, relationships that are displayed in graphs, table of data, dates and measurements."

Okay..so that seems tricky...how can I make it work?  After you have done an experiment or investigation and you have recorded data in your notebook, you can use this example to help you make sense of your data. Pretend you have been exploring magnets and materials to see what objects will attract to the magnet.

I love sentence frames to begin teaching the process of writing scientific explanations.  I would begin by writing:

  I claim that _____________________  or I know that_______________. 
                        I claim that metal objects stick to magnets.
 Next I would provide this sentence frame for the evidence part:
I claim this because___________or I know this because______________.
       I know this because the only materials that were attracted by the magnet were things made out of metal - mostly iron.

A fairly simple method that sums up the learning process in a quick, accurate and efficient manner. You can do it as a T chart if you have more than one claim/evidence to record as well.

Hope that helps you out today!  Gotta Run!

1 comment:

  1. Just discovered your site, going to start a summer science classes with 4th graders, haven't taught science in a few years, and find you posts timely! Thanks!

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