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Critical Thinking in Earth
Science: Using the ModelEvidence Link (MEL)
Diagram
Missy Holzer, Chatham HS
Christine Girtain, Toms River HS South
Janelle Bailey, Temple University
How do scientists evaluate and
judge knowledge that they create
(e.g., hypotheses, theories)?
How do scientists change their
judgments?
Plausibility
Ranking Task
{
PRT
Evaluating scientific knowledge
Why is falsifiability an important scientific
principle?
 What does falsifiability have to do with
connections between evidence and
scientific explanations (models, theories,
hypothesis, etc.)?
 What is the role of contradictory evidence
in science?

Climate Change
Model-EvidenceLink (MEL)
Diagram
{
Let’s try it!
Using the Model-evidence Link
Diagram
Evidence Text
Generating Explanations
Climate Change
MEL
{
Debrief

Promote students as scientists
(Handelsman, et al. 2004; NGSS) by
developing their ability to think
scientifically

Evaluation is a large component of
A Framework for K-12 Science
Education (NRC, 2012) and NGSS
Why is this important?

Many student-centered
instructional techniques involve
critical evaluation

Teachers can help students by
considering how evidence supports
more than one alternative—this
promotes critical thinking!
Why is this important?
Designed to replace another
activity that might be less effective
 Takes 1-2 typical class periods
 Not expected to be complete
curriculum on the topic!

Using the MEL

Developing Critical Evaluation as a Scientific
Habit of Mind: Instructional Scaffolds for
Secondary Earth Science
Creation and testing of four MELs within
high school geoscience courses
 Feedback is welcome!
 Participation in Year 3 of the project…

Our Project

Instructional Materials include:






Plausibility Ranking Task (pre-MEL activity)
Climate Change
Fracking
Moon
Wetlands
Supporting Materials


The Science Teacher article
Research articles
http://sites.temple.edu/MELdiagrams

The structure and mode of MEL
diagrams were originally developed by
researchers at Rutgers University under
the NSF-supported PRACCIS (Promoting
Reasoning and Conceptual Change in
Science) project.
Acknowledgements




Doug Lombardi, Temple University
Jenelle Hopkins & Petya Crones, Clark County
School District (NV)
Elliot Bickel, Shondricka Burrell, & Tyron Young,
Temple University
The project is supported by the National Science
Foundation (NSF) under Grant No. DRL-131605
and is part of NSF’s Discovery Research K12 (DRK-12) program. Any opinions are those of
the authors, not the NSF.
Acknowledgements
Moon MEL
{
Let’s try again!
Janelle Bailey, Temple University
[email protected]
http://sites.temple.edu/MELdiagrams
Questions?

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