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Overview

What's Your Evidence?: Engaging K-5 Children in Constructing Explanations in Science

Carla L. Zembal-Saul, Katherine L. McNeill, and Kimber Hershberger

Successfully integrate scientific explanation into the classroom with a wealth of strategies including scenarios, examples of student writing, classroom video clips from across all science content areas, rubrics, and guidelines for designing assessment items.

This exciting new resource presents K-5 teachers with an effective framework that breaks down the complex practice of scientific explanation into four components—claim, evidence, reasoning, and rebuttal. Their model provides teachers with a concrete roadmap for enhancing students conceptual understanding and improves their ability to think and communicate more scientifically by carefully analyzing evidence and backing up their claims. Teachers will learn how to adapt their science content instruction in order to better meet the needs of all students.

“I highly endorse this book and the practices it promotes for science explanations and discourse. As a learning tool for teachers, it will truly enhance the way they guide children to think, participate and talk like scientists.” —from the Foreword by Donnan Stoicovy, Principal/Lead Learner, Park Forest Elementary School, State College, PA

Carla Zembal-Saul is a Professor of science education in the College of Education at Penn State where she holds the Kahn Professorship in STEM Education and currently serves as head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. A former middle school science teacher, she has been involved in school-university partnership work for more than fifteen years. Examining classroom discourse is a fundamental aspect of Professor Zembal-Saul’s work and she employs video analysis as both a research tool and a pedagogical approach for working with teachers. She has published her research findings in numerous book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and she is active in professional organizations, including the National Association for Research in Science Teaching and the National Science Teachers Association. Carla Zembal-Saul earned her doctorate at the University of Michigan.

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 how to support students with diverse backgrounds in engaging in scientific explanation and argumentation in both talk and writing. Her research has been generously funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and from this work, she has authored a book on supporting middle school students, along with numerous book chapters and articles in a variety of journals. In 2011, Professor McNeill received the Early Career Research Award from NARST.

Kimber Hershberger is currently a third grade teacher in the State College Area School District (SCASD) in Pennsylvania. She also serves as co-instructor for the science methods course and a mentor teacher for the Penn State — SCASD Professional Development School Partnership. Her involvement in a local professional learning community that focuses on incorporating content storyline and the CER framework in science teaching has been a highlight of her work. She holds degrees from Juniata College (B.S., elementary education) and Penn State University (M.Ed., science education). In addition to presenting numerous times at the annual conference of the National Science Teachers Association, she has co-authored several articles for NSTA journals, including Science and Children and Science Scope.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890774615
  • Publisher: Murach, Mike & Associates, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2011
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 365
  • Sales rank: 772,830
  • Product dimensions: 9.76 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 1.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Carla Zembal-Saul is a Professor of science education in the College of Education at Penn State where she holds the Kahn Professorship in STEM Education and currently serves as head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. A former middle school science teacher, she has been involved in school-university partnership work for more than fifteen years, and most of her teaching, scholarship, and service take place in that context. Her research focuses on K-6 teacher learning as they engage in professional development aimed at supporting students in talking and writing evidence-based arguments in science. Examining classroom discourse is a fundamental aspect of Professor Zembal-Saul’s work and she employs video analysis as both a research tool and a pedagogical approach for working with teachers. She has published her research findings in numerous book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and she is active in professional organizations, including the National Association for Research in Science Teaching and the National Science Teachers Association. Carla Zembal-Saul earned her doctorate at the University of Michigan.

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 how to support students with diverse backgrounds in engaging in scientific explanation and argumentation in both talk and writing. Her research has been generously funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and from this work, she has published a book on supporting middle school students, numerous book chapters, and articles in a variety of journals including the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Science Education, The Journal of the Learning Sciences, and the International Journal of Science Education. In 2011, Professor McNeill received the Early Career Research Award from NARST. She has also conducted numerous workshops at the annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and for school districts including the Detroit Public Schools and the Boston Public Schools.

Kimber Hershberger is currently a third grade teacher in the State College Area School District (SCASD) in Pennsylvania. She also serves as co-instructor for the science methods course and a mentor teacher for the Penn State – SCASD Professional Development School Partnership. Her involvement in a local professional learning community that focuses on incorporating content storyline and the CER framework in science teaching has been a highlight of her work. She holds degrees from Juniata College (B.S., elementary education) and Penn State University (M.Ed., science education). Kimber Hershberger has co-authored several articles for NSTA journals, including Science and Children and Science Scope. In addition, she has presented numerous times at the annual conference of the National Science Teachers Association, including sessions at the Research Dissemination Conference, about her work on how to scaffold students’ use of claims and evidence through science talks and journals. She loves visiting interesting places like the Galapagos Islands, India, Italy, and Japan and sharing her travel adventures with her students.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Importance of Engaging K-5 Students in Scientific Explanation

Introduction to engaging K-5 students in scientific explanation

Why teach children to construct scientific explanations?

Scientific explanations in the classroom

Connecting science and literacy through scientific explanation

Benefits of engaging students in scientific explanations

Understanding science concepts

Participating in scientific practices

Using evidence to communicate convincingly

Learning about the nature of science

Benefits of scientific explanation for teachers

What to expect in elementary grades

Check Point

Study Group Questions

Chapter 2: Framework for Explanation-Driven Science

Framework for explanation-driven science

Claim

Evidence

Reasoning

Rebuttal

Video Example – Introducing the instructional framework

Examples of scientific explanations

Life science example

Earth science example

Physical science example

Increasing the complexity of the framework over time

Variation #1: Claim and evidence

Variation #2: Using multiple pieces evidence

Variation #3: Providing reasoning

Variation #4: Including a rebuttal

Check Point

Study Group Questions

Chapter 3: Planning for Explanation-Driven Science

Coherent Science content storyline

Essential features for constructing scientific explanations

Scientific data

Scientific principles

Learning performances and examples

First grade: Sound

Second grade: State of matter

Third and Fourth grade: Day/night and shadows

Fifth grade: Water cycle

Complexity of the learning task

Openness of the question

Characteristics of the data (type and amount)

Check Point

Study Group Questions

Chapter 4: Integrating Scientific Explanation into Classroom Instruction

Instruction sequence for constructing scientific explanations

Assessing prior knowledge

Framing the question

Making predictions

Collecting, recording and interpreting data

Constructing scientific explanations

Instructional strategies for supporting the explanation building process

Introducing the framework for explanation

Using real world examples to introduce the framework

KLEW(S) chart

Critique a teacher example

Debate a peer example

Talk moves for scaffolding the construction of scientific explanations

Check Point

Study Group Questions

Chapter 5: Designing Assessment Tasks and Rubrics

Overview of the development process

Step 1: Identify and unpack the content standard

Fourth grade writing case – Unpacking

Third grade podcast case – Unpacking

Step 2: Selecting scientific explanation level of complexity

Fourth grade writing case – Level of complexity

Third grade podcast case – Level of complexity

Step 3: Create learning performances

Fourth grade writing case – Learning performance

Third grade podcast case – Learning performance

Step 4: Write the assessment task

Fourth grade writing case – Assessment task

Third grade podcast case – Assessment task

Step 5: Develop specific rubric

Fourth grade writing case – Rubric

Third grade podcast case – Rubric

Using assessment data to inform instruction

Fourth grade writing case – Examples

Incomplete evidence and incomplete reasoning

Incomplete evidence and complete reasoning

Third grade podcast case – Example

Assessing informal science talk

Check Point

Study Group Questions

Chapter 6: Creating a Classroom Community of Young Scientists

Norms of participation in science learning

Active listening and patterns of talk

The role of the scientific explanation framework

A culture of constructive criticism

Check Point

Study Group Questions

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