Reviewed by Ralph Peterson
This was a fun book to read—unusual for a book of methods and professional development ideas. The framework given in the book is a good way for students to begin understanding scientific discourse. Using the framework of claim, evidence, and reasoning, the authors have given teachers a way to help students better understand all three.
The authors do a great job of introducing the framework and then building on it using actual situations and papers written by students. It became clear to me what the authors intended me to understand as well as how to implement the framework. As the book continues, the reader is left with an understanding that this framework can be used with other disciplines as well. It will work well across many curricula. Persuasive writing, debate, and math classes can all use this framework with few modifications. Another plus to this text is the inclusion of a disk of actual examples with real teachers and real students. Not only are you able to see the interactions, but the videos are then analyzed in the text to help explain the process. It will be a process that takes time, but the benefits to the students have the possibility of being quite large.
As I finished my reading, it occurred to me that even though this book is aimed at middle school teachers, it would be a great resource for high school teachers as well. Many high school students struggle with talking and writing in science and this framework would be a great help to them. I really enjoyed the book and suggest that other teachers consider using the techniques discussed. I know that I will.
Review posted on 10/11/2012