Icon for: Andy Cavagnetto


Washington State University, Clarkston & Pomeroy School Districts, ESD123


ED Award #: 555375

2015 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8

The EUCAPS project is designed to support K-8 teachers’ transition toward the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS narrow the scope of the curriculum and provides instructional targets specific to various grade levels. Perhaps more importantly, there is an increased emphasis on language as an embedded component of science instruction and along with it, greater importance placed on student abilities to think and reason (as in the construction and critique of evidence-based arguments). These new standards represent a considerable shift in the conceptualization of teaching and learning. The EUCAPS project is designed to work with teachers on immersing students in what we think of as Argument-Based Inquiry.
Argument Based Inquiry is inquiry that is intended to build students’ grasp of scientific practices while simultaneously developing an understanding of disciplinary big ideas. Within this approach, construction and critique of knowledge are centrally located throughout science instruction by engaging students in posing questions, gathering data, and generating claims supported by evidence. From this perspective argument is a tool to learn science content and practices.
Toward this end, teachers engage in rich discussions of how students learn and build meaning in science, how knowledge is constituted in science, and their role in the science classroom. Further they experience first-hand instructional approaches such as the Science Writing Heuristic (one example of an Argument-Based Inquiry approach) and Concept Mapping that they work to adapt to their own instructional contexts.

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Discussion from the 2015 Teaching & Learning Video Showcase (6 posts)
  • Icon for: Carolina Milesi

    Carolina Milesi

    Senior Research Scientist
    May 11, 2015 | 11:00 a.m.

    I wonder what types of evidence you are collecting in order to assess the effectiveness of Argument-Based Inquiry in science and also in non-science subjects.

  • Icon for: Carolina Milesi

    Carolina Milesi

    Senior Research Scientist
    May 11, 2015 | 12:09 p.m.

    How many schools are you currently working with? Are you planning to expand this program to other schools or other levels within K-12?

  • Icon for: Tamara Moore

    Tamara Moore

    Associate Professor
    May 12, 2015 | 12:59 a.m.

    I would love to know how you have set up the argument structure in the study. What work are you basing it on? Do you have students working in notebooks to record claims, evidence, and explanation (or other argument parts)?

  • May 12, 2015 | 03:33 p.m.

    Can you share the materials you use with teachers for your focus on “how knowledge is constructed in science?” Any videos of the discussions?

  • Icon for: Dacid Lustick

    Dacid Lustick

    Associate Professor
    May 12, 2015 | 04:41 p.m.

    Resources, theory, and evidence—-three excellent questions for the EUCAPS folks. I can’t help but love these types of innovations in the science classroom and I know that most kids would find this kind of learning experience a welcome break from the traditional. However, I would like to know how the experience is adapted for younger children. The video only showed what appears to be middle school students.
    Overall, this sounds like a great and worthwhile project!

  • Icon for: Andy Cavagnetto

    Andy Cavagnetto

    Lead Presenter
    EUCAPS Project Director
    May 13, 2015 | 12:42 p.m.

    The students in the video are 6th grade students, but it actually looks similar at the earlier grade levels -only that the content they are exploring is more simplistic. K-2 levels are a little different as they are not fluent readers and writers, so that does look a little different. With that said, the difference are mostly in how ideas are represented -the use of claims and evidence is still central.

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