William: So now we have to dig a little bit deeper. So if the zebra mussels are coming in to the Hudson River ecosystem, and they're decreasing the copepods every time they come in, 'cause that's what you said you noticed here, would that be a positive effect on the Hudson River ecosystem or a negative effect? Some new species comes in and decreases the one that's there.
Speaker 2: Negative.
William: Negative, all right, so do you know which side to put that on, which side, which claim?
Speaker 2: [inaudible 00:00:26].
William: All right, put that in.
Speaker 3: In the class today we saw William talking with students and guiding them through their task. Students were supposed to be using an argument tool, a writing scaffold to help them with engaging in argument from evidence.
William: The argument tool is a type of graphic organizer where kids can start to process their thinking in preparing for the argument by listing the claims that they can have for both sides of the argument, weighing those choices, and seeing which one they believe has stronger evidence in the forms of data.
Speaker 3: I think one of the biggest challenges around argument in science is arguing from evidence. In science, we don't make claims based on our beliefs, we make claims based on the evidence, and we have to reason why evidence is good evidence or strong evidence. We have to be critical consumers of information, especially in today's world.
William: Where do you think the zebra mussels are?
Speaker 3: William was helping the group figure out how to make sense of the data and then how to use that data to support a particular claim.
William: Now take a look at our argument tool. How does this play a role within our argument tool? Can we use that for any evidence on either side?
Speaker 2: Well, I feel like it's a negative, 'cause like it doesn't stay like approximately the same amount, it just likes ups and downs, so like you change it throughout the [inaudible 00:01:48] time, so it keeps decreasing and increasing.
William: I started to see students really take ownership of finding specific scientific evidence in the forms of data, citing graphs, citing the book, citing the reading, and I think that is a product of using the tool listing the arguments for both sides. In the past, students would just hear one bit of evidence and just go with that, no matter how strong or weak the evidence was, but having them sit down and look at both sides makes them create a stronger argument.
Let's hear some strong evidence for, let's go with Claim A.
Speaker 4: When the zebra mussels first came, they kind of purified the water so that it became more clear.
Speaker 3: They were looking at this real world data and really thinking critically about whether they would support one claim versus another claim and using an argument tool in order to make sense of this phenomena that they're observing, and I think that's what's unique about an NGSS classroom.