Planning a Project
Determine a Project that Would Benefit from
the Use of the Showing Evidence Tool
The Showing Evidence Tool supports projects where students need to analyze conflicting information, complex ideas, or controversial topics.
Showing Evidence can help students to:
- Analyze an experiment and come to a conclusion
- Look at the big picture—in history, science, literature, and so forth
- Research hypotheses
- Look at different perspectives
- Investigate social issues
- Analyze characters or plots
- Evaluate credibility
- Apply knowledge
- Create a cost-benefit analysis
- Organize ideas for projects or essays
- Debate a controversial issue
Any topic where students need to critically determine which evidence, facts, or supporting details are worthy of use in an argument or assertion—and how to evaluate the body of evidence as a whole—would benefit from using the Showing Evidence Tool. Students use Showing Evidence to critically think through their decision-making process so that they are able to defend and debate ideas logically and clearly.
Characteristics of a project that integrates Showing Evidence:
- Contains elements of a controversial issue, debatable topic, moral or ethical dilemma, social issue, or challenge to an existing opinion
- Questions of the project are engaging, thought-provoking, and open-ended
- Answers to the project are not readily attainable or evident
- Conflicting evidence exists, with multiple perspectives or methods of evaluation
- Subject matter is core to the curriculum and not a tangent
Plan for Opportunities to Reflect and Revise
To maximize learning, build time into your project for students to reflect on their thinking process, as well as time for students to go back to their arguments to reflect and build upon their initial ideas. Showing Evidence supports investigation that occurs in cycles of evidence gathering, working with the Showing Evidence Tool, and reflecting. After building an initial case, students experiment or research to gather more data and evidence, and then return to revise and adjust their arguments. Consider using journal reflections and peer review from within the tool to help students to focus and refine their work. Students also need time away from the computers to plan and carry out the next cycle of data gathering.
Plan for Student Teams
Although students could use Showing Evidence individually, the power of the tool becomes evident when it is used by teams of students. Students are able to share their opinions and actively think through not only what evidence to use, but why it is important. Students are more engaged in learning when they share their opinions about particular evidence or try to convince their teammate to change the quality ranking of a piece of evidence. Such discussions help students further clarify their ideas. Working as a team, students will need to make decisions, prioritize, negotiate, or seek consensus. Student teams can also be assigned to be peer reviewers where they can leave comments and ask questions directly within the workspace.