A “Science Reasoning Rubric” to Support Argumentative Writing

I put together a Science Reasoning Rubric that can be used for many writing prompts in a Chemistry class. It can be used whether a prompt is more suited toward a claim or an explanation. I like that the rubric can be used for lots of the writing tasks students will encounter in a Chemistry class. This means students get used to seeing it, and this consistency is helpful as students write explanations and claims throughout the year.

What is Reasoning?

I attended a professional development session on the NGSS earlier this week by Brett Moulding and Nicole Paulson based on the book they wrote with Rodger Bybee, A Vision and Plan for Science Teaching and Learning. The authors propose the “gathering-reasoning-communicating” (GRC) structure as a simplified way of thinking about the Science and Engineering Practices. Reasoning is the keystone of the GRC structure and the primary thing we want science students to be doing. “Gathering” provides the raw materials for reasoning and “communicating” helps us know that reasoning has taken place.

Implementing the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning Framework in the Chemistry Classroom

For me, the first step toward teaching my students how to critically think about how they structured an argument or explanation was to implement the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) framework. While the premise behind CER isn’t anything new to the way science teachers already think, it provides an entirely different approach toward how students connect their experiences and previously learned content into something that is much more reflective of being scientifically literate.