InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Exploring Geoscience Methods > Unit 2: Climate Change, After the Storm > Activity 2.3: Constructing the Argument
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The materials are free and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Activity 2.3: Constructing the Argument

Jeff Thomas, Central Connecticut State University (thomasjed@ccsu.edu) on module writing team with Scott Linneman and Jim Ebert.

These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards as detailed below. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more.

Overview

Students work in groups to compile evidence and complete a graphic organizer. Individual students write position papers making arguments from evidence that address the question, "To what extent should we build or rebuild coastal communities?"

Science and Engineering Practices

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically). HS-P8.5:

Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge and student-generated evidence. HS-P7.5:

Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Evaluate competing design solutions to a real-world problem based on scientific ideas and principles, empirical evidence, and/or logical arguments regarding relevant factors (e.g. economic, societal, environmental, ethical considerations). HS-P7.6:

Engaging in Argument from Evidence: Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence. HS-P7.4:

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Design, evaluate, and/or refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources of evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations. HS-P6.5:

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion. HS-P6.4:

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Global Climate Change: Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities. MS-ESS3.D1:

Natural Hazards: Natural hazards and other geologic events have shaped the course of human history; [they] have significantly altered the sizes of human populations and have driven human migrations. HS-ESS3.B1:

Performance Expectations

Engineering Design: Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts. HS-ETS1-3:

This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:

  • team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
  • multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
  • real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
  • multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
  • review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Sep 18, 2014

Summary

In Activity 2.3, students make an argument from evidence to address the problem: "To what extent should we build or rebuild coastal communities?" Students work as a team to complete a graphic organizer. This task helps them organize an evidence-based position paper. Each student writes his or her own position paper.

Learning Goals

By the end of this activity, pre-service teachers will be able to:

  • Make an argument from evidence to address the risks that climate change poses to coastal communities.

Context for Use

The position paper is a formative assessment for this learning module (Units 1, 2, and 3). However, this paper can be considered the summative assessment for Unit 2.

As with Activity 2.1 and 2.2, there is no need to introduce science content prior to implementing this activity. Class size should be limited to 24 students; they will worki in small groups for the first part of this activity (e.g. the graphic organizer). Computers should be available for students to write their papers, if done in class. Although this page provides an overview of the activity, two student handouts are available and can be modified easily.

Description and Teaching Materials

Materials

Provide students with the After the Storm handout (student directions) (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 60kB Oct16 14) or the electronic version of the student page. Provide students with Table 3: Constructing the Argument from the Table 1, 2, and 3 student handout (student work) (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 23kB Aug27 14). In addition, students will need the position paper rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 16kB Sep15 14) if the instructor plans to grade this paper (recommended).

Activity Outline

The final part of this activity is for students to write an evidence-based position paper that responds to the Unit 2 problem (see introduction from Activity 2.2): To what extent should we build and/or rebuild coastal communities?

It is suggested that students complete the graphic organizer in Table 3: Constructing the Argument as a group. Directions to complete Table 3 are on the student handout After the Storm. Students must include the following criteria in their position paper:

  • Statement of the problem
  • Description of the study site
  • Claim that responds to the problem
  • Three working hypotheses for the claim
  • Rationale for the three working hypotheses
  • A counterclaim
  • A conclusion statement

Students should have about 30 minutes to work as a team to complete it.

Then, students should write their 500- to 1000-word position paper independently. It is recommended that this paper (not the organizer) be graded using the rubric below.

Position Paper Rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 16kB Sep15 14)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Students should complete the graphic organizer as a group. They can do this at their tables, or projectors can display Table 3 on a white board. Alternatively, if time is an issue, have students complete the graphic organizer at home, but the instructor should review it before students write their papers. Papers should be completed outside of class.

Assessment

The position paper is a formative assessment for this module. However, it is recommend to grade this paper using the rubric provided.

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »