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Frameworks for Design Thinking:
Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning;
Predict, Observe, and Explain.

This page assumes you've read the overview-summary`.

Instruction using CER has 4 phases/aspects:  an Introduction, plus Claim, Evidence, Reasoning.

The functionally similar model for POE has phases of Introduction plus Predict, Observe, Explain.


When we show students how each phase/aspect is an essential part of a coherent model for Design Process (which includes Science Process) we can help students learn more from their experiences of using CER (or POE) to do design-inquiry and/or science-inquiry.

I.O.U. - Originally most of this page was written about only POE, before I knew about CER.  Later, I'll revise the page to make CER a more central part of it.  Probably I'll write a separate section for CER, similar to the section recently written for the Introduction, but with more detail.

 Comparing POE and CER

In my main page about using different process-models for instruction, my section about "POE and CER" ended with this clarification:  "Although POE and CER are very similar, logically and for use in instruction, there are some differences" and the link takes you to here.  But I'm not yet sure what the differences are, thus in addition to the IOU above, here is another...

I.O.U. - As explained above, I'll develop this section more thoroughly later.  Here are some of the ideas that will be in it:

I claim that POE and CER are "functionally similar [for the purpose of developing classroom instruction]... but not identical."  Yes, I recognize that this statement is oversimplified, although as a first approximation it seems fairly accurate.  Why?  Because despite some differences in the models, both can be used as a framework for effective instruction.  Sometime soon, on the web I'll examine the current instruction activities (using CER and POE) more deeply, and I'm sure that will change my mind about some of what I now claim.

One oversimplification is when I say "you Predict to produce Predictions that are a Claim," because during instruction (and life) a Claim usually has a broader meaning, not limited to Predictions.  So I'll have to clarify this, perhaps by changing "Predictions that are a Claim" to a description that is more general and more accurate (like the sub-section I've already written) closer to real-world uses in the classroom and in life.


Verbs & Nouns in POE and CER

In POE, Predict Observe Explain are verbs.

In CER, Claim Evidence Reasoning can be nouns, but...

claim can be either a noun (as in asking “what is your claim?” or “what is the claim?”) or a verb (“what do you claim?”).

reasoning is a noun (“what is your reasoning?”) according to the web-definitions below, but we also can use it as a verb (“how were you reasoning while you were explaining?”) with a process of reasoning (verb) producing a result of reasoning (noun);  you reason (you are reasoning) to produce reasoning, in the same way that you explain (you are explaining) to produce an explanation, and you argue (you are arguing) to produce an argument.

Here are some web-resources:  Mirriam-Webster for reasoning (adjective or noun) and claim (noun or verb);  also for reasoning, Cambridge - YourDictionary - Dictionary-Reference - (I'll do more research & thinking about this later)



MORE about CER --


MORE about POE -- review of book - video by co-author - video 2 - 3 cups (I think the teacher "led" the students more than is ideal, and "explained" more, maybe due to wanting a short video for youtube; they could also do a POE-experiment by putting ice water into the cups and predicting "which feels coldest?")



An Example of POE-Instruction (for Simulations of Projectile Motion)

This activity illustrates Teaching Strategies that use Predict-Observe-Explain to help students improve their scientific reasoning:


I.O.U. - This section will be written soon, maybe in May.  Here are some of the ideas that — after revisions to clarify, condense, and supplement — will be in it:

Students can use this physics-simulation to improve their Ideas (about the motion of objects flying through the air, and the concept of Conflicting Factors) and Skills (of scientific reasoning, and how to optimize outcomes that are affected by conflicting factors).

Teachers can facilitate this learning by combining this activity (using the simulations) with models for scientific reasoning, with "Predict, Observe, Explain" and the strategic principles of Design Process.


The basis for this set of activities is a physics simulation for Projectile Motion designed by PhET with videos (such as 1 2 ) that was and added by me to the database of Playful Learning.

How?  Students can just play with the simulation, doing experiments by “trying things” to see what will happen.  And they can try to hit a target.  It also can be educationally useful to make a game where the goal is finding the launch-angle that produces maximum range (i.e. maximum horizontal distance) for the projectile.  The range depends on combining a large time of traveling (increased by a higher angle) and a large horizontal speed of traveling (which is increased by a lower angle).  When the angle is changed, these two factors are affected in different ways — e.g., with a higher angle the time of travel increases, but horizontal speed decreases — so they are Conflicting Factors.

After students have discovered the best angle to achieve maximum range, they can change one or more factors — by adding air resistance with factors that affect this force (drag coefficient, object size) and (along with object mass) its effects on range, plus initial speed (what does it and doesn't it affect?) and the altitudes of launch and landing — and do additional predicting & experimenting to find the angle that produces maximum range.  For each change, students can re-predict:  Will the angle change?  Will it be higher or lower?  Why?

This is an activity where students can build two-way educational bridges what they already know from life (for transfers-of-learning from life into school) and also build expectations for being able to use ideas-and-skills from school in everyday life (for transfers from school into life), especially for those who paly sports, or even just watch sports.


Conflicting Factors in Physics:  These occur because horizontal range (sideways distance traveled) depends on "sideways speed" and "time of travel" and changing the angle always increases one but decreases the other;  maximum range is the angle that optimizes the combination of these two factors, as explained here (on page 23/242).   /   Also, other parts of my book about "Physics: Power Tools for Problem Solving" will be relevant.  These are discussed generally here (with Quantitative & Qualitative Understanding, Physics Thinking) and more specifically in this section.

Conflicting Factors in Life:  A concept of “multiple factors” is useful in physics, and in many other areas of life.  I.O.U - Soon, I'll connect this with "understanding and respect" for avoiding the oversimplification of thinking that maximizing a particular factor will lead to a best overall result.   For example, if a teacher wants to be politically relevant (for citizens considering the government policies of a country) and controversial, students can think about why an optimal tax rate is somewhere between 0% and 100%, why it's not at either extreme.

Students can do all of these mini-activities in groups.  For example, to help students think about "conflicting factors" you can ask them (as individuals, and in small groups or whole-class discussions) to find a logical reason to “argue for” making the angle higher, and also for making it lower.  Then they can ask “which of these arguments is more persuasive?” or to explain why this question is not adequate, why it's an oversimplification of a situation that is more complex than is implied by the question.



What's missing in Predict-Observe-Explain?

We can think about this question in at least two ways, by describing the logic of science more thoroughly (this was done earlier) and (here) by comparing the logic of science with an overall process of science.

PHEOC (Problem, Hypothesis, Experiment, Observation, Conclusion) is a simple 5-step model for the process of science.   Summary of PHEOC - by KM Middle School and Myth Busters (TV show)

POE (Predict, Experiment, Explain), a simple model for the logic of science, contains some parts of PHEOC but not all.  Basically, PHEOC's Hypothesis is used for POE's Predict, and its Observe is Observe, and its Conclusion is mainly to Explain:

 P - Problem
 [ introduction ]  
 H - Hypothesis  
 P - Predict (≈)  
 E - Experiment  
 O - Observe
 O - Observe (=)  
 C - Conclusion  
 E - Explain (≈)  

The major science-activities (with thinking-and-action) that are missing in POE are:  defining a Problem (asking a Question) and designing an Experiment, which are done by the teacher;  also, performing the Experiment, which often is done by the teacher or is available on video, although this can be done as a student lab.

I.O.U. - Later, I'll finish this section (that currently is very incomplete) using the rough-sketch ideas below.


I.O.U. Below are some scraps (comments for myself, rough-draft ideas, links,... to possibly use) that you can ignore:


For my PhD Project, I


A model I find fascinating, partly because a long time ago (in the late 1990s) it was an important part of an impressive community of educators, and also due to its framework, is Learning By Design.  Their model-framework has two interconnected cycles – to Design/Redesign (when there is a Need to Do), and to Investigate & Explore (when there is a Need to Know).  These two cycles also are an important feature of Design Process, in its Design Cycles and Science Cycle.


POE is the essence of science, hypothetico-deductive logic (link to Diagram 3c?) - without complicating it by including other parts of a Science Project.

PHEOC (Problem, Hypothesis, Experiment, Observe, Conclusion) is the classic stereotype of THE Scientific Method, a rigid step-by-step method, criticized by educators who, by contrast, embrace the simplified version (not intending to be a full model for science) in POE, which is a sub-set of PHEOC.


re: the P in PHEOC -- do scientists solve Problems, or answer Questions? or both? objectives of design

the H of PHEOC is often interpreted as P (Prediction) due to confusions about the many meanings of Hypothesis -- Design Cycles and Science Cycle. Hypothesis is not the same as Prediction, although the term is often used with this meaning.

EO of PHEOC (in POE, the E is designed for students, before they begin POE, and the E often is done as demo by teacher or in video, although it can be done by student in lab)

design of E could be added to POE --> PEOE ?


maybe add these to main section at #poe ?

P and E -- do entire Science Cycle, trying out (w own model/predn foremost priority) based on mainly THE expmt (this expmt) but also from past -- Guided Generation

p4d? -- [make similar for 3b? yes, but as an optional extra phase -- how does Conceptual Change theory/practice recommend dealing with cognitive dissonance? describe and discuss it? ignore it? discuss without labeling?


in hw-im, PHET for great "activities" (= cm-ei.htm #three??) + ask for reflection "what did you do? why?" then what? (goal, as w POE, = DP Sci Cycle)


for dp-om2.htm more generally -- describe DP as a family of models (#dpfam) -- as w diff maps for diff purposes (@ giere's analogy, quote 1997, or 2005 if available -- use screenshots?)