Evidence and Reasoning

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The lesson introduces students to the steps and strategies to use evidence and reasoning to support a claim, often called “Claim, Evidence, Reasoning” (CER).  The strategies may be used in science, social studies, language arts, and all subject areas where students must support a claim.  The claim may be related to a scientific experiment, an opinion, a character, the plot of a story, etc.  The information is also helpful for students to distinguish support-based claims from false claims made in news articles, opinion pieces, or in other writing sources.

Evidence and Reasoning Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Evidence and Reasoning
  • Hands-on homework activities giving students practice on using Evidence and Reasoning
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

The lesson introduces students to the steps and strategies to use evidence and reasoning to support a claim, often called “Claim, Evidence, Reasoning” (CER).  Students typically associate the phrase “provide evidence” with science class, but this lesson reminds them that they need evidence and reasoning to support their claims regardless of the subject or topic.  The strategies may be used to support a claim related to a scientific experiment, an opinion, a character, the plot of a story, etc, and so the lesson can be used with nearly any subject.  Additionally, it is never too early for students to begin learning how to fact check information they find on the internet. The Claim, Evidence and Reasoning strategies they learn in this lesson can help students distinguish support-based claims from false claims made in news articles, opinion pieces, or in other writing sources.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Ask: How do you know if the information you read or hear is true or false?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. Ask:  What are some things a writer must do related to the information in a story, essay, or other type of writing?  Why?
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Lead the discussion to research to support the information, facts, etc.  Is their evidence to support a claim?  Introduce Evidence and Reasoning.
  4. Distribute Evidence and Reasoning content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  During the content reading, allow students to make claims about different things and then to support them with evidence and reasoning.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  5. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Pair students.  Encourage students to think about things they have heard about or information they have learned in the past to write a claim.  Students may access the Internet to do research for evidence and reasoning to support the claim.  (It is possible, depending on the claim, it could not be supported.)
  6. Once completed, the students will exchange with another pair to review and check if the claim, evidence, and reasoning is written correctly. Students share concluding summary statements.
  7. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  8. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.  Allow students to share their essays, and other students identify the claim, evidence, and reasoning.
  9. In closing, ask students: Tell about a time when you heard an unbelievable claim that turned out to be true.

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.9, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.9, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.9

Class Sessions (45 minutes): 2 class sessions

Additional Resources:  

Want more science resources? Check out our other Science Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Science