Arguing for Science Literacy

Students who are scientifically literate know how to argue. However, current education policies undermine rather than advance this vital academic goal.

I do not mean disagreements that are resolved based on personal considerations or positional authority. For scientists, argument is all about whether claims — regarding the accuracy and generalizability of their models to explain the natural world — are supported by reason and evidence. There are two crucial features of these arguments. First, before knowledge is accepted as proven by the larger community of scholars, valid arguments must be supported by relevant and sufficient evidence and include verifiable rebuttals to counterclaims. Second, scientific arguments are not immutable. Without these two foundational ideas we could neither act nor make progress.

Obscure and relevant only in research labs and academia? Quite the contrary! Argumentation is prominent in both the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). It is considered a core “practice” and, therefore, one that is a vital component for every child’s learning.

Read the full article Arguing for Science Literacy

Published on the Huffington Post, 6/2/14

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