IASA

Argument as a Structure and a Process for Learning Science

  • supports students in constructing scientific argumentation

  • trains students to better select, evaluate and communicate their ideas as part of a good scientific argument

  • gives students an opportunity to practice logical scientific reasoning when presenting their answers

  • helps students link scientific knowledge and practices to what happens around them in real life, thereby changing their perception that studying science is mere memory work

Science as an Inquiry is central to the current framework of the Singapore Science Curriculum [https://www.moe.gov.sg/docs/default-source/document/education/syllabuses/sciences/files/science-lower-secondary-2013.pdf]. It focuses on students adopting an investigative approach to science – to make observations, search for evidence, debate and discuss possible solutions, and construct new scientific understandings.


The IASA learning packages and web application are developed:

  • with input from current science teachers

  • with prototypes on three science disciplines, biology (Ecology), physics (Heat) and chemistry (Chemical Changes)

  • to help teachers teach students to use argumentations as part of the investigative nature of scientific understanding

  • to support a richer experience of science learning through argumentation

How does it work?

IASA, which stands for Integrative Approach to Scientific Argumentation, features learning tasks that guides students in writing out their scientific reasoning and argumentations, using the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) format.



The learning tasks use real-life scenarios that help students connect the scientific observations and investigations to their everyday lives.


The IASA web app additionally provides an engaging platform for students to review and give feedback on their classmates’ work in small groups. Using the app, students are guided to

  • think critically about the scientific claim

  • examine how and why each piece of evidence justifies or denies the claim

  • provide advice to their friends on improving their claim(s), the evidence, and/or the reasoning(s)


How did students respond?
  • Students who were engaged across the three implementation cycles demonstrated gradual improvement in the quality of written scientific arguments.

  • Students were more deliberate in adopting the criteria and conventions for good scientific argumentation.

Facilitating factors for adoption of an argument-based pedagogy:
  • Strong beliefs about the importance of argumentation in teaching science

  • Carving out time and space to internalize the rationale of this pedagogy

  • Trying it out, supported by continuous reflective discussions

  • If you’re interested to try using the online IASA web app with your students or for more information on the IASA toolkits, contact the Principal Investigators, Dr Seah Lay Hoon or Dr Azilawati Jamaludin.

    • IASA was funded by the eduLab Programme, National Research Foundation, Singapore (project no. NRF2015-EDU001-IHL07).

    • This knowledge resource was written by Lorraine Ow and Bernadine W. Sengalrayan, with minor inputs from Tan Giam Hwee.

    Phase of education

    Secondary school

    Academic subject

    Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Science

    Research Participants

    m-prose-icon148 students (approx.)

    m-prose-icon6 teachers

    m-prose-icon 2 secondary schools

    IASA

    Argument as a Structure and a Process for Learning Science

    Question-Icon
    How IASA can help your students:
    • supports students in constructing scientific argumentation
    • trains students to better select, evaluate and communicate their ideas as part of a good scientific argument
    • gives students an opportunity to practice logical scientific reasoning when presenting their answers
    • helps students link scientific knowledge and practices to what happens around them in real life, thereby changing their perception that studying science is mere memory work
    Question-Icon
    Why IASA?

    Science as an Inquiry is central to the current framework of the Singapore Science Curriculum [https://www.moe.gov.sg/docs/default-source/document/education/syllabuses/sciences/files/science-lower-secondary-2013.pdf]. It focuses on students adopting an investigative approach to science – to make observations, search for evidence, debate and discuss possible solutions, and construct new scientific understandings.

    The IASA learning packages and web application are developed:
    • with input from current science teachers
    • with prototypes on three science disciplines, biology (Ecology), physics (Heat) and chemistry (Chemical Changes)
    • to help teachers teach students to use argumentations as part of the investigative nature of scientific understanding
    • to support a richer experience of science learning through argumentation
    Question-Icon
    Explanation of how it works
    How does it work?

    IASA, which stands for Integrative Approach to Scientific Argumentation, features learning tasks that guides students in writing out their scientific reasoning and argumentations, using the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) format.



    The learning tasks use real-life scenarios that help students connect the scientific observations and investigations to their everyday lives.


    The IASA web app additionally provides an engaging platform for students to review and give feedback on their classmates’ work in small groups. Using the app, students are guided to

    • think critically about the scientific claim
    • examine how and why each piece of evidence justifies or denies the claim
    • provide advice to their friends on improving their claim(s), the evidence, and/or the reasoning(s)
    Question-Icon
    Key findings
    How did students respond?


    • Students who were engaged across the three implementation cycles demonstrated gradual improvement in the quality of written scientific arguments.
    • Students were more deliberate in adopting the criteria and conventions for good scientific argumentation.

    Question-Icon
    Practice-geared Implications
    Facilitating factors for adoption of an argument-based pedagogy:

    • Strong beliefs about the importance of argumentation in teaching science
    • Carving out time and space to internalize the rationale of this pedagogy
    • Trying it out, supported by continuous reflective discussions

    If you’re interested to try using the online IASA web app with your students or for more information on the IASA toolkits, contact the Principal Investigators, Dr Seah Lay Hoon or Dr Azilawati Jamaludin.

    Question-Icon
    Further readings

    Question-Icon
    Acknowledgments


    • IASA was funded by the eduLab Programme, National Research Foundation, Singapore (project no. NRF2015-EDU001-IHL07).

    • This knowledge resource was written by Lorraine Ow and Bernadine W. Sengalrayan, with minor inputs from Tan Giam Hwee.


    Question-Icon
    Research team

    To learn more about this research, please contact the Principal Investigators, Dr Seah Lay Hoon at layhoon.seah@nie.edu.sg or Dr Azilawati Jamaludin at azilawati.j@nie.edu.sg.



      Principal Investigator
    • Dr Seah Lay Hoon, Office of Education Research (OER), NIE
    • Dr Azilawati Jamaludin, OER, Learning Sciences and Assessment AG, NIE
      Co-Principal Investigators
    • Prof David Hung
      Collaborators
    • Dr Dawn Ng
    • Mr Kom Mun Siong
      Research Associates
    • Mr Frederick Talaue, NIE
    • Mr Gde Buana Sandila, NIE
      Software Developer
    • Mr Lee Chun Yuan
    Phase of education

    Secondary school

    Academic subject

    Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Science

    Research Participants

    m-prose-icon148 students (approx.)

    m-prose-icon6 teachers

    m-prose-icon 2 secondary schools