Methods and Strategies: Using Argument-Based Inquiry Strategies for STEM Infused Science Teachingby: Mason Kuhn and Mark McDermott

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This column provides ideas and techniques to enhance your science teaching. This article focuses on an argument-based inquiry (ABI) approach to a fourth-grade unit on waves. A fourth-grade teacher included multiple opportunities for students to read, write, and use language to represent their understanding of physical science Next Generation Science Standards performance expectations.

  • Elementary
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  • on Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:19 AM

This article mentioned “An Argument-based Inquiry”(ABI) approach, and ASSIST approach-- a teacher used the ABI approach for the STEM Infused Science Teaching. The ASSIST approach is inclusive of ABI and STEM integration, and allow students to encounter and express science knowledge through representations and media. Students use math, technology, and engineering practices to help them understand a targeted science concept. Also, students are able to use multimodal writing as a form of write-to-learn to learn the science content and communicate their understanding. This article also refer to initial engagement activity (IEA), which is regarded as the beginning of students’ activities to develop students’ big idea and big questions for the unit. It require students to be a stakeholders in the process of asking questions in science and defining problems in engineering, which contribute to explanatory ideas, such as asking questions to investigate. Asking questions to investigate enable students act like scientists interacting with nature (Mason, et al., 2017). This article provides an example of a lesson plan on wave. At the beginning of the class, there is a short IEA which engages students in the practice of developing questions and ideas. Then students are encouraged to make observations, spend two minutes to write down them and questions, and then share them with their classmates. The teacher applies the Think Pair-Share technique into the process of developing questions, sharing them in a small group, and reporting the group’s top questions for the whole class. After that the questions will be collected and sifted for investigation. With the teacher’s help, students will design and conduct the investigation, followed by evaluating collected data and negotiating understanding with classmates and teacher (Mason, et al., 2017). The ASSIST approach is based on student-centered and students have a strong autonomy to execute their ideas. It is a meaningful way for students’ science study and students will feel they acting like scientists with thorough observations and consecutive thinking (Mason, et al., 2017).


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