Will students engage in evidence-based argumentation?

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Episode 103: Jump up University of Maryland

In science we want to teach students not only concepts and principles, but also reasoning and argumentation strategies. Interactive classrooms promote scientific argumentation by inviting students to explain and justify ideas to each other, but students may find this intellecutally or socially difficult. Will students engage in evidence-based argumentation?

July 3, 2018

Pedagogy Content
Developing student ideas
Physics Content
STEM-wide audiences

Lesson Contents (3 MB)Student Handout
Transcript, discussion questions, and problem

(1 MB)Specific Lesson Guide
Facilitator's guide for this lesson

(1 MB)General Facilitator's Guide
Background and best practices

(158 MB)Video
Captioned video


Sample Discussion Prompts

  1. What struck you about this episode? Talk to the person next to you about what got your attention.

  2. Are these students engaging in scientific argumentation? What makes you say so?

  3. The students in this episode make a number of claims. Go through the transcript and mark an X by claims that you find. Then discuss whether justification is offered for those claims.

  4. Some see scientific argumentation as the hallmark of “doing science,” as opposed to “doing school” (fulfilling expectations of what teachers and students do while in school). Do you think these students are “doing science” or “doing school”? Why?

  5. Two physics students who watched this same video are discussing Caleb’s behavior. Read their exchange, then share what you think.

    Sara: Caleb’s “excitation” idea is totally wrong. He should have kept his mouth shut. You shouldn’t try to explain things if you don’t really know what you’re talking about. What if the other students get convinced of a wrong answer?

    Steve: Shouldn’t he get to bounce his idea off the other students? He’s going above and
    beyond what the worksheet asked for, and he’s trying to figure out how it really works.
    That’s what makes class a little bit interesting. The other students can handle it.

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