Instructional Strategy: Claim-Evidence-Reasoning [new]

Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) data stories prompt students to interpret a graph in terms of a written claim, and then explain how specific features of the graph led them to make their claim, or how it supports a provided claim. 

Goal: Prompt students to state a claim, and explain how features of a graph support the claim. 


Example 1: Tuva Data Story Adaptation to Environmental Change




Two box plots show the distribution of measurements of beak depth (how big the beak is) for finches before and after a year of drought in the Galapagos Islands. Students are given the following prompts:

  • What claim would you make in comparing the 1976 and 1978 populations?
  • How does the evidence support your claim?
  • What could the finch data mean for today’s wildlife populations?


Implementation ideas:  Assign Claim, Evidence, Reasoning data stories as straightforward practice for making (or evaluating) claims, linking them to specific features of a graph, and connecting the claim to wider meaning or implications. 

Related resources

McNeill, K., & Krajcik, J., 2012. Supporting Students in Constructing Explanations in Science: The Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning Framework for Talk and Writing. Pearson.


Example 2: Tuva Data Story Where do Earthquakes and Volcanoes Occur?

Students review two maps for earthquake and volcano locations and are given a claim to evaluate, based on evidence in the maps.




  • Looking closely at the earthquake map, I notice that where large earthquakes tend to occur___.
  • Looking closely at the volcano map, I notice that where volcanoes tend to occur is ___.
  • A student made the following claim: “Large earthquakes and volcanoes occur in the same locations.” What is your response to this claim? (Refer to evidence from the maps to justify your response to the claim.)


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