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Evidence-based Decision-making

Evidence-based Decision-making

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.

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Essential Understanding

The student uses critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions.

Science Background

Evidence-Based Decision-Making: ServeCenter (website) - Ideas to help educators apply evidence-based decision-making to their own efforts to improve student motivation and achievement.

Evidence-Based Decision-Making

Teaching Critical Thinking, Lessons from Cognitive Science: Tim van Gelder (PDF) - Unpublished journal article that discusses the role and importance of critical thinking in education.

Teaching Critical Thinking, Lessons from Cognitive Science
Tim van Gelder,

Signature Lesson

Introduction to Experimental Design: Learn NC (website) - Students learn and use experimental design vocabulary, and practice their critical thinking skills by reading an experiment description, analyzing the information provided, and answering questions about the experiment’s design.

Introduction to Experimental Design
Learn NC,

Supporting Lessons

The Case of the Missing Computer Chip: Indiana University (website) - Analyzing and evaluating clues and pieces of evidence, students attempt to resolve a simulated crime.

The Case of the Missing Computer Chip
Indiana University

Soak It Up: PBS (PDF) - Students use problem-solving strategies and reasoning to compare the price and qualities of three types of paper towel and then decide which one is the best value.

Soak it Up

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Experimenting with pH: Learn NC (website) - Students practice their critical thinking skills in an inquiry-based experiment that explores the effects of volume and concentration on pH.

Experimenting with pH
Learn NC,

Assessment Ideas

Have student groups design fair tests to compare two or three brands of the same commercial product. Then have each student write a paper that uses evidence collected during the test to identify the best product among those considered.

Literature Connections

Building Thinking Skills. Parks, Sandra (ISBN-13: 978-1601441492)

Crime Scene Detective. Schulz, Karen (ISBN-13: 978-1593630638)

Temperature: Heating Up and Cooling Down. Stille, Darlene (ISBN-13: 978-1404803459)

Related Science TEKS

(5.1A) Science Safety
The student is expected to demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment as described in the Texas Safety Standards during classroom and outdoor investigations.

(5.1B) Recycling/Disposal of Science Materials
The student is expected to make informed choices in the conservation, disposal, and recycling of materials.

(5.2A) Design/Conduct Experiment with One Variable
The student is expected describe, plan, and implement simple experimental investigations testing one variable.

(5.2B) Ask Questions, Formulate a Hypothesis
The student is expected to ask well-defined questions, formulate testable hypotheses, and select and use appropriate equipment and technology.

(5.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect information by detailed observations and accurate measuring.

(5.2D) Analyze Evidence and Explain
The student is expected analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct (observable) and indirect (inferred) evidence.

(5.2F) Communicate Conclusions
The student is expected communicate valid conclusions in both written and verbal forms.

(5.2G) Graphs, Tables, Charts
The student is expected construct appropriate simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts using technology, including computers, to organize, examine, and evaluate information.

Related Math TEKS

5.12B   The student is expected to use experimental results to make predictions.

5.14D   The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

5.15A   The student is expected to explain and record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

Additional Resources

Critical Thinking and Reflection: Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (website) - Resources to help teachers assess and develop students’ critical thinking and reflection skills.

Critical Thinking and Reflection
Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning,

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