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Argumentation and Modeling: Integrating the Products and Practices of Science to Improve Science Education

Argumentation and Modeling: Integrating the Products and Practices of Science to Improve Science Education
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Author(s): Douglas B. Clark (Vanderbilt University, USA) and Pratim Sengupta (Vanderbilt University, USA)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 21
Source title: STEM Education: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7363-2.ch003

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Abstract

There is now growing consensus that K12 science education needs to focus on core epistemic and representational practices of scientific inquiry (Duschl, Schweingruber, & Shouse, 2007; Lehrer & Schauble, 2006). In this chapter, the authors focus on two such practices: argumentation and computational modeling. Novice science learners engaging in these activities often struggle without appropriate and extensive scaffolding (e.g., Klahr, Dunbar, & Fay, 1990; Schauble, Klopfer, & Raghavan, 1991; Sandoval & Millwood, 2005; Lizotte, Harris, McNeill, Marx, & Krajcik, 2003). This chapter proposes that (a) integrating argumentation and modeling can productively engage students in inquiry-based activities that support learning of complex scientific concepts as well as the core argumentation and modeling practices at the heart of scientific inquiry, and (b) each of these activities can productively scaffold the other. This in turn can lead to higher academic achievement in schools, increased self-efficacy in science, and an overall increased interest in science that is absent in most traditional classrooms. This chapter provides a theoretical framework for engaging students in argumentation and a particular genre of computer modeling (i.e., agent-based modeling), illustrates the framework with examples of the authors' own research and development, and introduces readers to freely available technologies and resources to adopt in classrooms to engage students in the practices discussed in the chapter.

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