Reading Chapter 11, I am struck by the thought that most adults have not learned the things we are asking students to learn in AST.

1. The purpose of an argument should not be to determine who is right or wrong

2. The purpose of an argument should be to clarifying what we know collectively, why we think that way, and use that to make a sound decision.


3. Argument is a scientific practice with norms — talk moves —

=> making a claim
=> sharing evidence
=> rebuttal
=> counterclaims

4. A claim is an inference that is made based on evidence

5. Claims need justification. A key element of justification is evidence, or data.


6. Sometimes evidence is not credible. It is important to examine how data was collected.

7. Sometimes claims are supported by logic rather than evidence. Logic can be a justification for a claim.


8. A claim and supporting evidence are not a complete argument. We need reasoning to explain how the evidence supports the claim. Reasoning describes how the evidence is connected to the claim.


In Ambitious Science Teaching, we invite students to engage in argumentation.

Initially, we scaffold argumentation with sentence starters or prompts.

A scientific argument is a conversation between those who made the claim and the scientific community.


Students (and adults) need practice engaging in argument.

Some scaffolds include:
=> Providing a set of claims to support or refute
=> Providing sentence starters for argument talk moves
=> Allowing students to publicly share arguments for others to respond to


Students will need support to internalize the language and structure of argument. Help them by providing practice and structuring activities with roles. Practice should include everyday, relevant examples of claims and evidence.


Other supports to help students develop proficiency include:
=> Real-world examples of scientific argument as class discussion
=> Teacher think-aloud to demonstrate how you create an argument


How do you engage your students in argumentation?

What strategies have worked for you?



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