The Art of Argumentationby: Donna Ross, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey

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Argumentation in science involves offering and responding to claims, providing and asking for evidence or justifications, and analyzing those claims to formulate a decision (Gross 1990). The authors’ experience with students, including those who are English learners, suggests that many young science students benefit from language frames to scaffold the use of academic language and vocabulary to formulate arguments and counterclaims. Language frames are partially constructed cloze statements that highlight the academic language and syntax required to communicate in argumentation. This article describes how teachers can model the use of language frames in the science classroom.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:40 AM

Argumentation in science is the art of justifying claims using evidence and using those claims to make decisions. Designed for 4th grade students this article provides a ‘how-to’ get started platform as well as ways to model this with students. This is such an integral part of the NGSS and is truly necessary to develop good scientific skills for the classroom as well as for life. This is a great article for any educator to start employing this technique in their classroom.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:04 PM

I am a middle level science teacher and this article is one I can use with some of my students in the classroom. Sentence frames help students put their ideas on paper. I will be using some of the frames in a folder that students can refer to when they are having issues with their writing.

Susan German  (Hallsville, MO)
Susan German (Hallsville, MO)

  • on Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:00 PM

This is a good introduction to teaching students how to discuss science evidence using critical thinking through the use of "templates" or "language frames" or "sentence starters". Whichever term you use, finding good ones and figuring out when to use them is a challenge when you are just starting out. This article does a good job of explaining exactly what a teacher who would like to begin using discourse and discussions in the classroom can use. I have been looking for an article which could explain this clearly for some time and I am very excited by what I read here. The "Language Frames" [author terms} used here can also be used for developing lab reports as well as for class discussions over science discussions (or any discussions requiring critical thinking and argumentation skills) at Any Level k-12. Wonderful article!

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

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