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Teachers' Use of Argumentation in the Development of Integrated STEM Curricula

Abstract

"This case study has provided cursory insight into the use of argumentation within the development of integrated STEM curricula. All of the curricula contain elements of argumentation, though the number and completeness of opportunities available for students to practice the process of argumentation varied. The curricular plans all use questions and discussion prompts that produce claims, but the follow-through with evidence from student activities and justification with science reasoning is inconsistent. The findings of this research also provide an initial understanding of how argumentation supports engineering in these four units. Examples of argumentation were found in four indicators in the K-12 engineering education framework, all of which are critical elements of engineering: POD, SEM, EThink, and Comm-Engr. Argumentation may have been present in other elements of engineering, but the curricula do not capture them.

A limitation to this study is that it does not represent how the curricula were carried out by each of the teachers in their classrooms. It only captures what the curricular team chose to include in the written documentation. Additionally, engineering indicators such as teamwork may have used argumentation when each curriculum was enacted. Due to the nature of the data, it is difficult to examine students' team dynamics and interactions. Further studies examining how teachers enact curriculum and how students participate would provide a deeper understanding of how argumentation is used by the teachers and the students."

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