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Abstract Title: Scientific Argumentation in a High School Algebra-based Mechanics Classroom
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Abstract: Argumentation is one of the practices science educators increasingly implement to support students' active participation in class. In this study, we explore the ways secondary level students engage in scientific argumentation and the impact of argumentation on student learning. We observed a three-week unit on Newton's laws in an algebra-based mechanics course at a suburban public high school in Ohio. The teacher employed the 'Modeling Instruction' (MI) approach to facilitate inquiry-based argumentation. Thirty students in the class were assigned into groups of 4 or 5 to work on modeling activities. Following one of the groups as the focus group, we videotaped the students' activities in class, interviewed them after lessons and collected their artifacts, including workbooks and whiteboard pictures. We also interviewed the teacher on her interpretations of the instruction and the student performance in class. After iterations of qualitative data analysis, we captured students' argumentation instances and found that modeling instruction could inherently bring about argumentative events, promote deep forms of inquiry, and by extension increase student scientific argumentation skills. However, our data also showed that the teacher faltered on making explicit the argumentative practices, as she did not consider the canonical science content as a suitable topic for in-class argumentation. We identified instances of the teacher missing the opportunity to capitalize on student alternative ideas for meaningful discourse but instead quickly correcting their errors. We argue that a content-specific framework is needed for instructors to better engage students in physics argumentation activities.
Session Time: Poster Session 2
Poster Number: II-8

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Guofu Ma
Department of Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43221
Phone: 7189095625
and Co-Presenter(s)
Zac Patterson (he him his), Department of Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University
Lin Ding (he him his), Department of Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University