Evolution – CER Prompts


Unlock all resources by becoming a member.

Evolution CER


The claim, evidence, and reasoning (CER) model is a method for teaching students to think and write scientifically. By going beyond simple one-word responses, this model encourages students to engage in a more comprehensive and analytical approach. Using this evolution CER resource, your students will learn to make a claim, justify their answer with data, and connect the data with scientific reasoning. This process helps students understand the importance of evidence-based arguments and cultivates their scientific literacy.


The importance of the CER model is especially evident when aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Virtually every unit of study incorporates standards that lend themselves well to the CER model. Integrating the CER model into the curriculum provides students with a systematic framework to approach scientific investigations and inquiries.


A perfect addition to any Evolution Unit, this resource offers a comprehensive tool to introduce and practice the CER model with your students. It equips educators with all the necessary materials and guidelines to facilitate the implementation of the CER model effectively.


To cater to the diverse needs of students, this resource includes four differentiated versions of each question prompt. The differentiated versions provide varying levels of scaffolding, allowing educators to meet students at their individual skill levels. The versions range from a basic question with no scaffolding to questions with the claim, evidence, or reasoning partially completed, challenging students to fill in the missing components.


Additionally, an error analysis activity is included, which prompts students to critically evaluate a CER response written by someone else. This activity helps students develop their analytical skills by identifying and discussing potential errors or areas for improvement.


Rubrics and handy reminders for students regarding what to do for each part of the CER are included in both the print and digital versions.


Topics Covered in this Resource:

  • cladograms
  • fossil evidence of evolution and index fossils
  • data interpretation (reading graphs)
  • natural selection and speciation
  • comparative anatomy


Who is this evolution CER resource for?

This resource can be used by classroom teachers, tutors, and parents of students in grades 6-9. It provides a variety of practice covering the mentioned topics.


How Can I Use this Resource?

  • Formative or Summative assessment
  • Pretest
  • Warm Up/Bellringer activity
  • Emergency Sub Plans
  • An independent work station in a set of stations
  • Differentiation – Assign this quiz as reteaching for students who have yet to show mastery.
  • Homework
  • Creation of Independent Work Packet for students who are not able to be present for direct instruction.
  • Extension activity for early finishers or for students who show a special interest in the topic
  • Use as a square on a Choice Board
  • Use the questions individually as a warm up or closure activity


What’s Included in this evolution CER?

  • An introduction to the CER model of scientific writing
  • A digital version of all included items
  • CER conversation starters (printable!)
  • Blank CER graphic organizer templates
  • 7 CER question prompts for students
  • 2 CER rubrics


Purchase includes a printable PDF file in color. On page 2 of this resource you will find a link to a student friendly Google Slide version of this file. You will be able to copy this file and use it with Google Classroom or any other paperless initiative.


Please take a look at the preview file to see more of this resource.


Please note that an answer key is not provided. The goal of this resource is to provide studentsthe opportunity to explore various perspectives and develop their unique responses.


NGSS Standards covered by this Evolution CER Resource:

Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past. Emphasis is on finding patterns of changes in the level of complexity of anatomical structures in organisms and the chronological order of fossil appearance in the rock layers. Assessment does not include the names of individual species or geological eras in the fossil record.
Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships. Emphasis is on explanations of the evolutionary relationships among organisms in terms of similarity or differences of the gross appearance of anatomical structures.
Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment. Emphasis is on using simple probability statements and proportional reasoning to construct explanations.
Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time. Emphasis is on using mathematical models, probability statements, and proportional reasoning to support explanations of trends in changes to populations over time. Assessment does not include Hardy Weinberg calculations.

More questions?

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions or email me at laneyleeteaches@gmail.com.



Get more value by becoming a member! 

Join our membership to gain access to my entire catalog of resources for FREE!

My store features 3 full-year middle school science curriculums comprised of over 22 units of study.

Each and every unit comes includes the following:

  • unit guide complete with key vocabulary, suggested pacing, essential questions, and more!
  • Google Slides presentations to cover major topics, with guided notes for students!
  • Reading Comprehension activities with follow up questions. These resources are useful for homework, classwork, sub plans, and more!
  • Assessment: Pretest, study guide, CERs, and final assessment.
  • Projects and labs
  • Webquestscolor by numberstations, and other practice activities.


Click below to learn more about how to sign up!

Join monthly. 

Join yearly. 

Related resources