Let’s take a look at how a high school chemistry class might use the Showing Evidence Tool to study chemistry. After studying gas laws, students consider what could be causing a mysterious illness.
After reviewing the concept of scientific claims and looking a several magazine ads students discuss, “How do we decide which scientific claims to believe? What claims are made about the product being advertised? What makes some claims more effective than others?” Students are encouraged to provide evidence, question one another's reasoning, and ask each other follow-up questions. During the discussion, the teacher uses the same terms that will be used when working in the Showing Evidence Tool, such as evidence, claim, and reliability.
The discussion shifts slightly when a student questions whether a particular piece of evidence can be trusted. Is it reliable? Several students point out concerns with the source of the evidence. The teacher asks why some arguments carry more weight than others. The students give a variety of possibilities and the teacher writes them on the board. He will use these ideas later when he and his students construct a rubric that will be used to help them evaluate evidence when using the Showing Evidence Tool.
After the discussion, the teacher explains that they will work in teams as members of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that have been called in to evaluate the illnesses of a family in the area. They are to use their understanding of gas laws to help them determine what has caused this family to get ill.
Before students can use the Showing Evidence Tool, the teacher must set up the project online. In the Teacher Workspace, the teacher enters the project title, description, and prompt.
When the teacher clicks the arrow next to Set up initial Student Workspace, a blank Showing Evidence Tool appears at the bottom of the screen.
The teacher can choose to pre-populate the case workspace with claims or evidence, or leave it blank. The teacher decides to add evidence to help demonstrate how to describe and rate evidence. With the Showing Evidence case set up as desired, the teacher scrolls to the bottom of the screen, and clicks the Submit button. Once teams are assigned to the project, students can begin their exploration of the project evidence.