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Argumentation Goes Viral

Preservice Teacher Engagement in 5E Learning About Argumentation in the Context of the Coronavirus

Journal of College Science Teaching—Fall 2023 (Volume 52, Issue 7)

By David C. Owens, Noah P. Sheridan, and Amanda L. Townley

Although argumentation is a critical historical component of scientific literacy, the recent coronavirus pandemic and associated issues have highlighted the importance of argumentation in science practice. Argumentation that aligns with functional scientific literacy requires gathering evidence and reasoning to support or refute claims related to socioscientific issues (SSI)—those informed by science but also affected by society. In this article, we present a 5E module that models argumentation instruction while scaffolding preservice elementary teachers’ argumentation practice in the context of SSI. To do so, we introduced the claim-evidence-reasoning argumentation framework. In this approach, students responded to potential solutions to SSI related to the coronavirus (claim), supported their responses with data (evidence), and justified how the evidence they provided supported their responses (reasoning). Specifically, preservice elementary teachers completed diverse argumentation tasks—starting with more traditional scientific argumentation and building toward recognizing and addressing nonscientific, cross-curricular issues—to develop effective argumentation practice concerning contemporary SSI.

5E Research Sensemaking Teaching Strategies

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