Supporting Scientific Reasoning: Examining Science Trade Books, Science Trade Book Read Alouds, and Children's Explanatory Science Writing

Laura B. Smolkin
University of Virginia
Carol A. Donovan
University of Alabama

This presentation explores scientific reasoning in various forms found in elementary classrooms. We first present background information on the prevalence of reasoning and explanation in typical elementary science lessons. We next offer two systems for considering scientific reasoning. The first is a system for examining the text of science trade books for explanatory sections, as these sections appear to increase teachers' reasoning efforts with children. The second system reflects moves teachers make as they read trade books for science instruction; here we will be focusing mainly on the types of statements and comments that support scientific reasoning. Teachers will then be supported in examining and then reading books in a way that emphasizes scientific reasoning. The session concludes with a look at K-5 children's use of scientific reasoning as demonstrated in their explanation writing.

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