Observations, Claims, and Evidence; A Structure for Whiteboard MeetingsPosted: September 10, 2015
I start the first board meeting of the year by asking students to make observations about the other boards individually for 1-2 minutes, then to have a conversation with their neighbor, then share their observations to the group. I stand outside the group, not saying anything, and record all the observations as students discuss. As soon as a student gives a reason for something (such as stating that the slope of their position vs. time graphs being related to the direction of motion), I stop them; “That sounds like a claim to me. A claim is a statement that links your observations to the physical reality that we observed.” We then shift the conversation to trying to support or disprove the claim using our data. For example, students might state that the two groups with negative slope were the two that were traveling to the left. We then come to a consensus as to whether the claim seems to be generally supported by the data. I’ve found this to be a pretty successful tool to help board meetings run smoothly and effectively.