In this presentation, I will discuss my dissertation work, which focuses on text-based inquiry for purposes of constructing an explanatory model of a biological phenomenon. In this study, ninth-grade students were randomly assigned to one of two conditions of support: graphic organizer present or absent. While reading multiple texts and constructing models, students engaged in think-aloud protocols that were analyzed to shed light on their sense-making processes.The results suggest that the graphic organizer scaffold encouraged deeper, more productive forms of sense-making, implying that it is not the scaffold itself, but rather the productive forms of sense-making that it encourages that leads to better model construction and learning. This study advances our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the effects of scaffolds, like the graphic organizer, on successful text-based explanatory modeling. The findings suggest that the utility of this and other types of scaffolds can be evaluated based on the extent to which they support students in identifying and deeply processing model relevant information from multiple texts.