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

By Katherine L. McNeill, Joseph S. Krajcik

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Jan 25, 2011

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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, and reasoning–and provides concrete 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.

Table of Contents

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

$26.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-13-704451-1