Arguing to Understand: Using the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning Approach in Science Education

Presented by Molly Atkinson, PhD & Norbert Pienta, PhD
Tuesday, June 7, 2022 1:30 am to 4:30 pm

Argumentation—the process by which explanations and solutions are reached—is key to scientific thinking and learning. The practice of argumentation can be used in the classroom to help students articulate their scientific reasoning and explore ideas and perspectives of other students. Engaging in argumentation also helps students better understand that science is more than a mere list of facts to memorize and is constantly evolving as new evidence is collected. A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the resulting Next Generation Science Standards list “Engaging in Argument from Evidence” as one of the eight science and engineering practices that all students should be taking part in consistently. This workshop is designed to help educators think about how to create argumentation activities that facilitate students in using evidence and reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about natural phenomena, as well as how argumentation opportunities can be implemented in effective ways in the classroom.

Target Audience: High School, All Sciences

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Molly Atkinson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the University of North Texas. She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Georgia, focusing on chemistry education research and working with Dr. Norbert Pienta and Dr. Julie Luft on the implementation of claim-evidence-reasoning activities in a preparatory chemistry course preceding undergraduate general chemistry. She also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Miami University, working with Dr. Stacey Lowery Bretz on assessment design and concept inventory development. Currently, her work focuses on how students interpret chemistry representations, and she teaches undergraduate general chemistry and graduate chemistry education courses.
Norbert Pienta, Ph.D. is a chemistry educator and researcher who retired after 40+ years, having served at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville), the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), the University of Iowa, and the University of Georgia. His academic career included research in physical organic chemistry and in chemistry education. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chemical Education from 2009–2019. His interests include methods to improve student success, content self-assessment and assessment, and the use of technology in learning and educational research.