Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) in the Science Classroom

Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) in the Science Classroom

The claim-evidence-reasoning (CER) writing strategy is an important concept to teach your budding scientists because it helps students analyze scientific experiments, correctly make a claim, and generate a conclusion.

In partnership with Model Teaching, an industry leader in supporting educators, this teacher professional development course provides a comprehensive guide to designing effective CER lessons and includes templates, rubrics, worksheets, and examples to ensure successful implementation into your upcoming science lessons. Model Teaching's Mission is to improve student performance by directly supporting teachers with quality content and resources.

3 Months Access / 12 Course Hrs
  • Details
  • Syllabus
  • Requirements



This claim-evidence-reasoning (CER) course will teach you the CER writing strategy that can be applied to science concepts across the K-12 grade levels. You will learn how to select a strong science activity, plan, and predict student claims, support students in collecting evidence, and provide a structure for students to generate strong scientific conclusions. The course will also help you explore modifications to your CER lessons using a variety of tools so that you can effectively differentiate your CER science writing for all students. You will build a CER lesson plan ready to be implemented in your classroom and leave the course with several tools and templates ready for use.


  1. Introduction to Claim, Evidence, Reasoning & Scientific Argumentation
    1. Learn the meaning of CER, the three components of CER and how to use CER as a writing framework in the science classroom.
  2. The Claim
    1. Learn what makes a solid claim, how to introduce claim writing to your students, and how to create an activity that supports a strong claim. Then, using the CER activity template, reflect on how you could take an activity at your grade level to align to specific claims students can make.
  3. The Evidence
    1. Learn what is included in the evidence component of CER, how to identify and define relevant evidence, and how to verify the evidence in labs and activities will support the claim. Then, using the Evidence Reference Guide and the CER Evidence Template resource, reflect on the specific data that could be generated for your chosen activity.
  4. The Reasoning
    1. Learn what is included in the reasoning component of CER, how to introduce reasoning to students, and challenges your students may face when writing their reasoning. Then, using the Reasoning Challenges Reference Sheet and Reasoning Template, reflect on the anticipated challenges your students may have when designing reasoning statements.
  5. How to Write an Appropriate Question for CER Responses
    1. Learn how to write an effective CER question and how to modify and edit ineffective CER questions so they will lead to strong claim writing. Then, utilize the Question Checklist Tool and the Question Writing template to reflect on how to design well- aligned questions that will produce a strong claim.
  6. Modifications for CER
    1. Learn why CER assignments may need to be modified and ways to modify the CER process. Then, refer to the CER Modification Reference Guide and the CER Modification template and reflect on way you can edit your CER lesson to better fit the needs of students in your class.
  7. CER Implementation
    1. Learn how to introduce CER into your classroom, some teaching strategies you can use to implement CER, and how to grade and provide feedback on CER responses. Then, reflect on which instructional strategies you can use to best implement CER into a classroom of your grade level.
  8. Putting it All Together
    1. Using the sample provided, build your own CER lesson plan to be used in an upcoming scientific investigation.
  9. Applying What you Have Learned
    1. Get ideas on how to implement the concepts into your classroom, find a list of online resources that CER process, and read the research behind effective science activities.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 10 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Microsoft Word Online
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
  • Editing of a Microsoft Word document is required in this course. You may use a free version of Microsoft Word Online, or Google Docs if you do not have Microsoft Office installed on your computer. Model Teaching can provide support for this.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

Self-Guided Course Code: T14705