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MUSE | Natural Selection | Unit Overview and Materials | Section One: The Nature of Scientific Arguments | 1B: Sequencing Events



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1B: Sequencing Events (The Cartoon Activity)

The two to three class periods described here will involve developing language with students which they can then use to talk about and critique scientific arguments. Students will begin by attempting to sequence and create a story around a series of cartoon frames. This experience will serve as the basis for a discussion about how decisions were made in this instance and how arguments are constructed in science more generally. In particular, this activity focuses student attention on the role of data, observations, and prior knowledge and beliefs in the development of inferences.

Successful completion of this material involves:

  • Working in a group to develop a sequence and story for the cartoon cards
  • Sharing the story with other groups
  • Participating in a class discussion about the reasoning that went into story development
  • Completing a written assignment about one inference that was made by the group in developing the story
  • Completing a homework assignment that requires analysis of a paragraph of scientific writing


Students will produce story boards with the cartoon cards that can be shared with other students. They will also complete two written assignments about the role of data and prior knowledge and beliefs in making inferences. Additionally, there is a quiz that may be used to assess mastery of these concepts.