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Dimension 1: Practices

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Below is the progression of the Science and Engineering Practice of Engaging in Argument from Evidence, followed by Performance Expectations that make use of this Science and Engineering Practice.

7. Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Argumentation is the process by which explanations and solutions are reached.

NSTA
NSTA
Primary School (K-2)

Engaging in argument from evidence in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to comparing ideas and representations about the natural and designed world(s).

  • Distinguish between explanations that account for all gathered evidence and those that do not.

  • Analyze why some evidence is relevant to a scientific question and some is not.

  • Distinguish between opinions and evidence in one’s own explanations.

  • Listen actively to arguments to indicate agreement or disagreement based on evidence, and/or to retell the main points of the argument.

  • Construct an argument with evidence to support a claim.

  • Make a claim about the effectiveness of an object, tool, or solution that is supported by relevant evidence.

  • Identify arguments that are supported by evidence.

Elemenatry School (3-5)

Engaging in argument from evidence in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to critiquing the scientific explanations or solutions proposed by peers by citing relevant evidence about the natural and designed world(s).

  • Compare and refine arguments based on an evaluation of the evidence presented.

  • Construct and/or support an argument with evidence, data, and/or a model.

  • Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in an explanation.

  • Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem by citing relevant evidence about how it meets the criteria and constraints of the problem.

  • Respectfully provide and receive critiques from peers about a proposed procedure, explanation or model by citing relevant evidence and posing specific questions.

  • Use data to evaluate claims about cause and effect.

Middle School (6-8)

Engaging in argument from evidence in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to constructing a convincing argument that supports or refutes claims for either explanations or solutions about the natural and designed world(s).

  • Respectfully provide and receive critiques about one’s explanations, procedures, models and questions by citing relevant evidence and posing and responding to questions that elicit pertinent elaboration and detail.

  • Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument supported by empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon or a solution to a problem.

  • Make an oral or written argument that supports or refutes the advertised performance of a device, process, or system, based on empirical evidence concerning whether or not the technology meets relevant criteria and constraints.

  • Evaluate competing design solutions based on jointly developed and agreed-upon design criteria.

  • Compare and critique two arguments on the same topic and analyze whether they emphasize similar or different evidence and/or interpretations of facts.

High School (9-12)

Engaging in argument from evidence in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about the natural and designed world(s). Arguments may also come from current scientific or historical episodes in science.

  • Compare and evaluate competing arguments or design solutions in light of currently accepted explanations, new evidence, limitations (e.g., trade-offs), constraints, and ethical issues.

  • Evaluate the claims, evidence, and/or reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments.

  • Respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on scientific arguments by probing reasoning and evidence and challenging ideas and conclusions, responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, and determining what additional information is required to resolve contradictions.

  • Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence.

  • Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge, and student-generated evidence.

  • Evaluate competing design solutions to a real-world problem based on scientific ideas and principles, empirical evidence, and logical arguments regarding relevant factors (e.g. economic, societal, environmental, ethical considerations).

  • Distinguish between explanations that account for all gathered evidence and those that do not.

  • Analyze why some evidence is relevant to a scientific question and some is not.

  • Distinguish between opinions and evidence in one’s own explanations.

  • Listen actively to arguments to indicate agreement or disagreement based on evidence, and/or to retell the main points of the argument.

  • Construct an argument with evidence to support a claim.

  • Make a claim about the effectiveness of an object, tool, or solution that is supported by relevant evidence.

  • Identify arguments that are supported by evidence.

Engaging in argument from evidence in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to comparing ideas and representations about the natural and designed world(s).

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

The National Research Council Framework of 2012 stresses the importance for science and engineering students to understand the process of argumentation when advancing and defending ideas or explanations. It is necessary that students are able to argue for their explanations, defend their interpretations of data, and advocate for any designs they propose. By doing so, students are better prepared to solve real-world problems with confidence.

Argumentation is an important process for reaching agreements surrounding explanations and design solutions. Scientific reasoning, evidence, and argument are vital for finding the most plausible explanation for a natural occurrence, or the best solution to a designed problem. Student engagement in organized scientific argumentation is imperative if they are to comprehend the environment in which scientists make discoveries, as well as how engineers apply their skills for public benefit. In sum, argumentation entails presenting evidence-based arguments that lead to consensus among scientists regarding an explanation or engineers regarding a given project solution.

Argumentation is a crucial part of scientific exploration and advancement. Scientists and engineers use it to weigh the merits of competing ideas, to test designs, and to build data models. Students are expected to participate in this ongoing process by using argumentative techniques to analyze, compare, and evaluate explanations, designs, measurements, models, and claims. It is essential for them to discourse substantively on the topics at hand in order for scientific progress to be made.

GOALS

By grade 12, students should be able to

•     Construct a scientific argument showing how data support a claim.

•     Identify possible weaknesses in scientific arguments, appropriate to the students’ level of knowledge, and discuss them using reasoning and evidence.

•     Identify flaws in their own arguments and modify and improve them in response to criticism.

•     Recognize that the major features of scientific arguments are claims, data, and reasons and distinguish these elements in examples.

•     Explain the nature of the controversy in the development of a given scientific idea, describe the debate that surrounded its inception, and indicate why one particular theory succeeded.

•     Explain how claims to knowledge are judged by the scientific community today and articulate the merits and limitations of peer review and the need for independent replication of critical investigations.

•     Read media reports of science or technology in a critical manner so as to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/13165.

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Last updated:

August 1, 2023 at 7:00:25 PM

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