Argumentation Skills

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SWBAT create and develop a position based on evidence and reasoning.

Big Idea

Reasoning and argument are essential skills in science. Students will use evidence (data) to create a claim that supports their argument for this problem-based learning experience.

Bell Ringer-General Argument Writing

5 minutes

General Argument Writing: Making A Claim

Before viewing the video:

Options to view the video:

1. Show the video to the whole class on your projector.


2. Students use a laptop, desktop computer, a Chromebook, or tablet to view the video. Have students use headphones and a QR Code that will take them directly to the website.

Then, I ask students to use their Science Journal (Notebook) to record three (3) things they learned from the video. I also have them create (draw) an "upside down" triangle in their notebook. In the video, they discuss the important elements of the upside down triangle which will help students to create their evidence, claims, and argument. Using a Science Journal is best practice because it provides a place for students to write and draw their thoughts, questions, notes, and illustrations.

General Argument Writing

After viewing the video: 

I ask students to provide facts that they recorded in their journal. Some answers may include: 

  • a claim supports an argument.
  • start with evidence, then develop your claim, and then your argument.
  • a good claim is made with solid and logical evidence.

Argumentation Skills

30 minutes

This lesson focuses on SP#7 Engaging in Argument From Evidence which states the study of science and engineering should produce a sense of the process of argument necessary for advancing and defending a new idea or an explanation of a phenomenon and the norms for conducting such argument.

I ask students to use a Graphic Organizer to help develop their thoughts.

Students should use a graphic organizer because:

  • it will help them understand and remember the content.
  • it facilitates understanding of the content, especially for ELL and Special Education students.
  • it will help students become strategic learners and improve their reading and writing skills.


The video (from the Bell Ringer) is one way to model the technique. As you discuss each example in the video, provide explanation for how to develop a claim and argument. By having students write evidence using their data, they will come to a claim and argument to support the essential question.

I ask students to work with their partner to fill-in and complete the graphic organizer. I circulate the classroom clarifying content, answering questions, and engaging students to stay focused on the skill.

Let's Review The Evidence

5 minutes

Let's review the possible evidence you could use for this argument.

I "wrap it up" so that students can check for understanding of the skill. I bring the class back together in a whole group discussion to share ideas about the evidence and where it came from. I use the template Lets Review The Evidence and fill-it-in during the discussion. I use a document camera to write and show the answers to the class. This helps students to visualize the information. I include a variety of students in the conversation by using popsicle sticks to draw them into the discussion. It is important that students identify the evidence and as important that they identify where the evidence came from. This helps students to make connections and answer the essential question "What are the benefits of parks in a community?"

Some possible places of evidence include: notes from the Park Director, notes from the pond(in the field), notes from the map of the pond, and/or results from the water tests.