The Model-Evidence Link (MEL) diagram activities are scaffolds that facilitate students’ weighing and coordinating of the connection between evidence and models. MELs help students learn about fundamental Earth and space science content that underlies socioscientific, complex, and abstract issues. Our project team has been developing and testing four MELs about socio-scientific issues (climate change, wetlands and land use, fracking and earthquakes) and abstract ideas (formation of Earth’s Moon) for use in high school classrooms. These MEL activities facilitate students’ critical evaluations of alternatives, which is a skill necessary to engage in many scientific and engineering practices. Being critically evaluative allows students to go beyond the controversy and reason scientifically through coordination of evidence and models.
Lombardi, D. (2016). Beyond the controversy: Instructional scaffolds to promote critical evaluation and understanding of Earth science. The Earth Scientist, 32(2), 5-10.