Graduation Date

5-2017

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Madalienne Peters, Ed.D.

Second Reader

Robin Gayle, Ph.D., MDIV, MFT

Abstract

In light of the essential science and engineering practices identified by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), this study focuses on the specific science and engineering practice, "engage in argument from evidence," and how classroom practices can serve to strengthen this skill (National Research Council, 2012, p. 71). The NGSS focus on inquiry necessitates students’ use of argument, particularly in writing, to communicate their knowledge and scientific findings and to develop an understanding of scientific practice. The purpose of this teacher action research study is to evaluate the influence of inquiry-based argumentative writing exercises, based on the Argument Driven Inquiry (ADI) model, in a middle school science classroom (Sampson, Grooms, and Walker, 2011). The ADI model, while extensive and complex, shows promise in building both argumentative writing skills and science content knowledge. The results of this study demonstrated that modified iterations of this model should include data sets that are personally meaningful to students, writing tasks scaffolded to areas of student need, and clear communication of feedback, from both peers and teachers, focused on all three areas of scientific arguments: claim, evidence, and reasoning. Information gained from this study will benefit science educators by yielding information about how scientific argumentative writing can be most effectively implemented into the middle school classroom to yield the maximum benefit for literacy in the science curriculum.