Argument-Driven Inquiry in Chemistry
by Victor Sampson, Peter Carafano, Patrick Enderle, Steve Fannin, Jonathon Grooms, Sherry A. Southerland, Carol Stallworth, Keisha Williams

Price at time of review: $43.95
530 pp.
NSTA Press
Arlington, VA
ISBN: 9781938946226

Grade Level: 9-12

Reviewed by Deb McNabney
Science Educator - retired

Have you heard the term ADI? Argument–Driven Inquiry in Chemistry follows an innovative approach to teaching science called Argument–Driven Inquiry (ADI). ADI is a research–based approach that allows student teams to design and carry out their own investigations, generate data, and use data to answer research questions. Although this sounds like inquiry pedagogy (and it is), it carries guided inquiry a step further, as argumentation and peer review are additional critical components.

The addition of these ADI components sharpens students' verbal communication, scientific reasoning, and writing skills. ADI immerses students in the authentic practices of science. Argument–Driven Inquiry in Chemistry provides information and investigations that are essential for the successful practice of ADI. The book contains four sections: Section 1: Explains the eight stages of ADI. Each stage contributes to an authentic and informative student experience. Section 2: Includes introduction and application labs for the core ideas of Structure and Properties of Matter. Section 3: Includes introduction and application labs for the core ideas of Chemical Reactions. Section 4: Includes appendices for standards alignment, implementation options, investigation proposal options, a peer–review guide, and an instructor rubric.

ADI transforms traditional labs into short instructional units rather than one day activities. A typical lab in this book requires 180–200 classroom minutes, and the authors recommend conducting at least eight ADI labs in a school year. The additional time required, however, is essential to produce gains in student scientific practice and literacy skills. The lab investigations included in the book have been piloted and revised twice. Many veteran teachers will recognize some of the activities as standards in their curriculum, but they have been modified to fit into the ADI model. I would recommend this book for secondary as well as undergraduate chemistry teachers with inquiry teaching experience. I was impressed by its thoroughness and teacher–friendly design. I think a word of caution is warranted, however. Teachers with no experience in inquiry pedagogy may become bogged down and frustrated. For the uninitiated, Argument–Driven Inquiry in Chemistry would be a great resource for professional development. One additional cautionary note—most of the labs require specialized equipment and technology including computer labs, laptops, and sensors.

Review posted on 1/5/2015

Customer Reviews
Gold standard for scientific inquiry.
  Reviewed by: Laura (Katy,, TX) on July 26, 2017
  Argument Driven Inquiry in Chemistry goes above and beyond the typical inquiry lesson in ways that dramatically elevate student interest and engagement and that teach the process of scientific discovery better than any other strategy that I have utilized. When students view the results of an experiment as a claim that they must defend, ownership of the experiment undergoes a complete metamorphosis. The authors create ways for chemistry students at all levels to experience the entire process of scientific research in easy-to-execute investigations that pose the challenge of determining an answer to a guiding question, presenting an experimentally determined answer as an argument supported by evidence, justifying the evidence as relevant and supported by background knowledge, presenting the argument, evidence, and justification in a poster presentation, and submitting a written report for peer review and revision before final presentation as a completed product. It is, from question to presentation, the authentic collegiate research experience happening at the high school level in the high school laboratory. The term “game-changer” is a gross understatement. This is the most dramatic paradigm upheaval and the most exciting innovation in my entire career as a chemistry facilitator, and I could not recommend it more highly as a reference for well-developed investigations, a method for shifting existing lab investigations, and a springboard for writing original inquiry experiences in this format.

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