Using models to support argumentation in the science classroom

Ying-Chih Chen, Mathew J. Benus, Morgan B. Yarker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Scientists use models to represent their imagination and conceptualization of a particular phenomenon. They then use models to develop an argument to debate, defend, and debunk ideas in their peer community. Modeling is an essential practice of authentic science. To foster the pedagogical practice of incorporating models in argumentative contexts, we introduce an approach called "Science Negotiation Pedagogy." We show how models can support argumentation practices in science classrooms in six phases of action: (1) create a driving question; (2) construct a tentative model in groups; (3) construct a tentative argument in groups; (4) negotiate models and arguments in a wholeclass discussion, then revise models and arguments through negotiation; (5) consult the experts; and (6) reflect through writing. A unit on the human respiratory system is used as an example to demonstrate how Science Negotiation Pedagogy can be implemented in biology classrooms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-559
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Biology Teacher
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Modeling; argumentation; dialogic teaching; pedagogy; human body system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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