Today Mr. McDonough and I introduced a basic structure to question-driven research. We’re trying to find out how the Great Chicago Fire began, refuting the “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” theory. Students struggled to differentiate between ideas/brainstorming how the fire began and basing a claim with evidence (from a text provided by Mr. McDonough). As a result, Mr. McDonough developed an easy pneumatic for remembering how to structure this thinking:
- Question: What are we trying to find out? (what’s driving research)
- Thesis: What is our statement? (the answer)
- Claims: How can you support the answer you’ve given?
- Evidence: What specific pieces of evidence support (from the text) the claims to answer the question?
Here is a graphic organizer to help guide that thinking, as well. It comes from the wonderful people @ Illinois Magnet School in Springfield. We will modify it and make our own later, but for now, it’s helpful to see where this is heading.