Month: December 2016

Powerful Graphic Organizers for STEM- Claim, Evidence, Reasoning


Next in the series of Powerful Graphic Organizers for STEM is Claim, Evidence, Reasoning.  This concept, although it seems pretty straight forward, is one of the most difficult for students.

In the CER model, students seem to struggle most with what kind of information to write in each category.  Having students write their responses in this format ensures that they are: choosing a side or solution to support, providing evidence and support for their side/solution, and (the hard part) providing a sort of conclusion by tying their claim and evidence to a scientific phenomena.

Providing this framework in the form of a graphic organizer seems to help visually break down each component thus making it easier for students to make a claim and properly support it.

Get the Power Graphic Organizers for STEM- Claim, Evidence Reasoning


Powerful Graphic Organizers for STEM- Engineering Design Process


Along with Venn Diagrams and Webs, the Engineering Design Process is an appropriate graphic organizer to add to the mix when working through STEM projects.

The Engineering Design Process, sister to the Scientific Method, is a series of steps that engineers use to create a viable solution to a problem or issue.  I have two different versions that I use and I bounce between them depending on the grade level and ability of the students I’m working with.

The first version is a six step, simplified version for use with either lower ability students, primary grade levels or (honestly) if my higher ability/ higher grade level kids need more room to write or sketch.

The second version is a little more fleshed out and contains eight steps.  I tend to use that one for higher ability students or projects that are more detail oriented.

Both follow the same process and contain the same basic steps, but I like having two different versions to best meet the needs of the students I’m working with.

Get the Power Graphic Organizers- Engineering Design Process


Powerful Graphic Organizers for STEM- Venns and Webs


To start our series, we’ll begin talking about the usual suspects in Graphic Organizers.  Yes, you guessed it- Venn Diagrams and Concept Maps.  These two graphic organizers seem to be the go-to, catch-all ones, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention them.  These oldies-but-goodies are so versatile for all subjects including STEM.

But why should you use these two graphic organizers in STEM?  Here’s why:

Venn Diagrams– Venn Diagrams help students to sort, categorize and see relationships between/among different sets of data.  Usually students use them in a Compare/Both/Contrast fashion, but for STEM, other “categories” like Engineering/Both/Science, My Design/Both/Your Design and others are appropriate too.  At any rate, Venns help students to visually compare and contrast different sets of data, concepts or event subsets.

Concept Maps (Webs)– Concept Maps help students visually manage concepts and sub-concepts. They allow students to creatively “take notes”, map out processes, brainstorm potential solutions to an engineering design challenge, or even capture different pieces of a problem in order to find a solution.

Even though these two graphic organizers are quite common in a Science or STEM classroom, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be powerful tools for extending student learning.

Get the Power Graphic Organizers- Venns and Concept Maps


4 Super Fun Science Experiments for Kids


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