Lateral Reading-Model-Evidence Link Diagrams (LR-MEL) Project



The Lateral Reading-Model-Evidence Link Diagrams (LR-MEL) project promotes students’ civic and scientific evaluations of sources and alternative claims when confronted with controversial and/or complex socioscientific issues in the Earth and environmental sciences. We do this by integrating English Language Arts (ELA) and social studies classrooms—focused on source evaluation—with science classrooms—focused on evaluating connections between lines of evidence and alternative explanatory claims. We are developing, implementing, and testing complementary Lateral Reading (LR) and Model-Evidence Link (MEL) scaffolds that include instructional materials and methods in both social studies and science classrooms. Issues students explore range from climate change and extreme weather to freshwater availability and food security along with many others.

We are investigating how deeper evaluations might promote changes in students’ epistemic judgments, including source trustworthiness, and claim plausibility, toward a more civically-minded and scientific stance. We are also developing and implementing three-day summer institutes and follow-on professional development to help middle and high school ELA, social studies, and science teacher teams use LR (in ELA and social studies) and MEL (in science) scaffolds to facilitate students’ critical-analytic thinking, evidence-based reasoning, and core disciplinary knowledge.

The Lateral Reading-Model-Evidence Link Diagrams project is a collaborative project involving researchers at University of Maryland, Temple University, University of Southern California, University of North Georgia, Planetary Science Institute, and IGES. It is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. DRL-2201012, DRL-2201015, DRL-2201016, DRL-2201017, DRL-2201018 and DRL-2346657.

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