Do your students struggle with the CER model (claims, evidence, and reasoning) in science class? Are you looking for an easy way to introduce claims, evidence, and reasoning so that your students can relate? These tips and tricks will guide you on the path to teaching CER like a pro!
What is Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning?
The claims, evidence, and reasoning model is a method for teaching students to think and write scientifically. Students are encouraged to not just give a one-word response, but to make a claim, justify their answer with data, and connect the data with scientific reasoning.
Claims, evidence, and reasoning is a great strategy to use to respond to information from text or videos. I also LOVE to incorporate CER into my science labs as a conclusion. It is a great way for students to relate their hypothesis, lab data, and make the connection to the science concept we are studying.
Let’s Break it Down!
CLAIM – The claim is the argument the student is making. It is a one-sentence statement that answers the question.
For example: Burning fossil fuels is harmful to the environment.
EVIDENCE – The evidence is the data that the student uses to support their claim. This can be quantitative or qualitative.
For example: Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, methane, and particles into the air. (This data supports the claim that fossil fuels are harmful to the environment.)
REASONING – The reasoning explains “how” or “why” the evidence supports this claim. This is often the most difficult part for students. They struggle to tie together the claim and evidence scientifically.
One helpful tip that I use is to tell the students that the “R” stands for the “rule” – more specifically the “scientific rule.” This seems to help. 🙂
In the example above, the reasoning would explain why the greenhouse gases are harmful. A reasoning example might look something like this: These greenhouse gases are harmful to the environment. They can cause climate change by trapping heat, and they also contribute to respiratory disease from smog and air pollution.
Hook Your Students with Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning
When introducing the claims, evidence and reasoning model, I like to start with a few non-scientific examples. Video clips on YouTube are a great way to hook your students!
The Audi commercial “My Dad is an Alien” is MY FAVORITE! I ask the question “Who is the girl’s dad?” In the video, the girl claims that her dad is an alien and explains several reasons why she thinks this. This easily leads the students to the evidence (which the girl explains through the video clip).
Here are a few other commercials that I love to use to introduce the CER:
- Cheryl’s She Shed
- Dog Buries Cat (Doritos commercial)
Graphic organizers are a great way to help students keep their ideas organized. Here are two of the graphic organizers that I use with my students. You can find these in the Free 7-Page Guide to Using Claims, Evidence, and Reason in the Classroom.
Tips for Using Claims, Evidence and Reasoning in the Classroom
- Use a graphic organizer!
- Practice identifying evidence and reasoning with a partner or in a small group.
- If the students are struggling with the reasoning, work on the reasoning as a class until they become confident.
- When students are finished writing, ask them to highlight the claims, evidence, and reasoning using different colored pencils or highlighters. This will also help you grade much more easily!!!
- Give students sentence starters to help frame their “evidence” and “reasoning.” These can be found in the CER Set.
- My students have a half-sheet that they glue into their science notebook with the framework and sentence stems for C-E-R so that they can reference it all year.
- Posters and anchor charts are a great classroom resource! Take a look at these!
Free 7-Page Guide to Using Claims, Evidence, and Reason in the Classroom
As a science teacher, I know how daunting CER can be in the classroom! I created this guide to walk you through the process. It includes two graphic organizers, sentence stems, a sample CER organizer, and tips for students who struggle. Get your copy here!
Are you looking for resources to take your CER to the next level? Take a look at these ready to use, no prep resources for Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning in the classroom! They will save you valuable time and set your students up for SUCCESS!
Are you looking for resources for distance learning or flipping the classroom? Check out this blog post “Teach Anywhere: 5 Digital Learning Tools for the Online Classroom.”