Teacher Resources

In this module, students will write an explanation based on the claims, evidence and reasoning they identified in Writing Explanation Part 1: Claims, Evidence, Reasoningopens in new window. Students will apply formal writing conventions, logical organization, domain-specific vocabulary, transition words and introductory/concluding statements to their writing. This self-paced module is aligned to Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects Frameworks.

This module contains several interactive features. Watch the Learn How to Use this Module tutorial to familiarize yourself with these features.

Please review the Accessibility page for all of your students.

Module Information

  • Grade band: 9-10
  • Readability level: Lexile Level 1050-1200
  • Focus Standard: WHST.9-10.2 (Writing Argument)
  • Topic: Earth and Space Sciences
  • Completion Time: 10-20 minutes
  • Vocabulary: Visit the Glossary page or click on words highlighted within the module for a narrated definition.

Teacher Note

This module is part 3 of a three-part series of modules addressing writing an explanation and how an explanation is the foundation of an argument. Modules in this series include:
Writing Explanation Part 1: Claims, Evidence, Reasoningopens in new window
Writing Explanation Part 2: Well-Written Explanation
Writing Explanation Part 3: Building an Argumentopens in new window

Students should complete each of these modules in order, as the content and activities build from one module to the next.

Student Resources for this Module

In this module, students are provided with links to external websites. The sites have been chosen for their content and grade-level appropriateness. Efforts are made to minimize linking to websites that contain advertisements or comments, but some of these websites may contain these features. Teachers should preview all websites before introducing the activities to students and adhere to their school system's policy for Internet use. In addition, multimedia on these externally linked sites may not be accessible to all users, such as those individuals requiring a screen reader or using a tablet.

The following website(s) is linked to from this module:

>Newsela article, “Climate change confirmed? Last year called the warmest on record”opens in new window

This module contains a link to Newsela, a free online resource for newspaper and magazine articles. You may need to create a free account prior to using the module with your students. We recommend checking all links prior to assigning the module to a student.

Transition words Opens a new window

Using This Site

This lesson is built for use on classroom computers and tablets. If you have access to a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, you may complete the lesson in your classroom. Otherwise, you will need to schedule time to use your school's computer lab. For technical specifications, see below.

Some activities on this site may include videos and narration, so you may want to have headphones available for students working at individual stations. For best results in viewing the videos and interactives, you should have a high-speed, stable Internet connection.

This lesson may contain PDFs for students to complete. They can print the PDFs and fill them out by hand, or download the files and fill them out on the computer. Most or all portions can be filled out online. Please check with your Instructional Technology Specialist for instructions on downloading the PDF. (Note that to complete the PDFs on the computer, you will need a viewer, such as Adobe Reader, that supports forms.)


This site is an Internet-based activity, and it was built to run on the following computer operating systems and browsers:

  • Windows 7 or Newer: IE 8, 9, 10, 11; Current version of Chrome; Current version of Firefox
  • Mac OS 10.7 or Newer: Current version of Safari
  • iPad2/iOS6 or Newer: Current version of Safari
  • Android 4.0 or Newer: Current version of Android browser
  • Chromebook: Current version of Chrome

Users running Internet Explorer 8 will not be able to use the highlighter tool. Instead, teachers should consider partnering students for a brief discussion.

Visit the Accessibility page for detailed information on the site's accessibility features.