Early Discoveries – CER

Students who are just learning how to do CER’s (claim, evidence, reasoning) often struggle when they are required to develop their own claims and evidence statements.

In this activity, students read stories about historical science, such as Redi’s experiment on meat and maggots and Louis Pasteur’s experiments with the s-shaped flask. The stories are short, about a paragraph long, and include a CLAIM statement and one or two evidence statements. Students are tasked with highlighting the claim statement in green and the evidence statement in yellow. (You could also use colored pencils if students don’t have highlighters.)

Another benefit of this assignment is that it can be used as a way to introduce the characteristics of life. Chapters in the textbook usually start with historical experiments that disproved the idea of spontaneous generation.

Reasoning statements can also be difficult for beginning students. Reasoning is where students must tie the evidence to the claim or link it to established science. In this worksheet, the reasoning statement is started for them, and then they must complete it. For example, ” If water was the cause of the sickness, then … ”

I have a handy CER chart in my classroom that students can refer to, you can download it for free from activatelearning.com

There are two versions of this worksheet. In one version, students must find and highlight the evidence statements. An easier version has statements already underlined, students only then need to identify which is a claim and which is evidence. Reasoning statements in the bee version are multiple choice rather than open ended.

If you download the google doc version, you can add a copy to your own drive and edit it. The answer key available for TpT contains both the regular and bee versions of this handout.

Grade Level: 8-12
Time Required: 15-20 minutes