Argumentation and reasoning in life and in school: Implications for the design of school science learning environments

Leah A Bricker*, Philip Bell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


Many science education scholars, predominantly using Toulmin's argumentation framework as a design template, have created learning environments to engage youth with what it means to argue scientifically. We argue, using Tilly's framework that categorizes people's reasons, that there is also promise in utilizing the everyday argumentative competencies of youth as a design template in argument-focused school science curricula. In this chapter, we synthesize our work on argumentation. As part of his dissertation research, Bell created an argument-mapping environment called SenseMaker and then studied middle school science students' use of SenseMaker as part of conceptual change instruction over six classroom design experiments. As part of her dissertation research, Bricker used data from a long-term team ethnography of youth science and technology learning across settings and timescales to examine youth's everyday argumentative practices. After explicating our research, we then describe design-based research that is needed to investigate young people's appropriation of scientific argumentation using their everyday argumentative competencies as a springboard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Scientific Argumentation
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Practice and Research
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789400724709
ISBN (Print)9400724691, 9789400724693
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Computer-supported argumentation
  • Design-based research
  • Reasoning
  • argumentation and learning
  • ethnography of argumentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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