Claim Evidence Reasoning (CER): Autumn Equinox Can Fall on Different Days


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Students learn about why the Autumn Equinox can fall on different days through a C.E.R. (Claim Evidence Reasoning) graphic organizer. This is great for getting your students to explain phenomena in a meaningful way and it allows you as the instructor to adequately assess their understanding of concepts. The students figure out what the “Claim” is in the article, they then use data that supports the claim in the “Evidence” section, draw visual evidence and then explain why the evidence supports the claim in the “Reasoning” section. 

You also get a generic template used for any current events that apply to your content. Any time I see an interesting article that applies to what we are learning this is my Go-To template!

You get the following:

-CER Graphic Organizer

-Article to print hard copies and web address for reading off of the computer


-CER Teacher Tips

The following concepts are included:


Celestial Equator



Position of the Earth and the sun

The Planet’s Terminator

Earth’s Tilt

NGSS Standards:

ESS1.B:  Earth and the Solar System

• The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects, including planets, their moons, and asteroids that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them.(MS-ESS1-2), (MS-ESS1-3)

• This model of the solar system can explain eclipses of the sun and the moon. Earth’s spin axis is fixed in direction over the short-term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The seasons are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.


SEP1: Asking Questions and Defining Problem

Students at any grade level should be able to ask questions of each other about the texts they read, the features of the phenomena they observe, and the conclusions they draw from their models or scientific investigations. 

CCC1: Patterns

Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification, and they prompt questions about relationships and the factors that influence them. 

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