What are we doing to help kids achieve?
I first learned about argument driven inquiry through Ben Meacham's post (thanks Ben). The post got my attention. I was interested in both the stoichiometry; lab and the way that it was presented to the students through Argument Driven Inquiry. This lead me to the Argument Driven Inquiry (ADI) website. The website provided many resources. These resources proved to be a support for getting started in the process of ADI. I bought the ADI book and tried a lab that is describe here. Since then, I have tried the process of ADI in a few different contexts with positive results. Here are some ideas and methods that have been a result of these attempts.
As mentioned before, the pedagogy of ADI is a process that mimicks what scientists do. First, the class develops a guiding question with the help of a teacher. Students work in groups to develop a potential plan and investigation. They must defend their ideas and can change their ideas. They are allowed and encouraged to talk to other groups. Students write a rough draft after they have completed their investigation and other students peer edit through a blind peer review. Finally, they individually take ownership of their ideas in a final report.
A group of my students worked through a second ADI lesson. The essential question was "How does electronegativity of atoms effect bond character and polarity?". Students developed an investigation with evidence. They used the evidence to support their claim through the "justification" section. I, as the instructor, told them what they could do, but I never told them if it was right or wrong. They could freely go to any other group. Students also had to listen to other groups provide their evidence and justification during a short group discussion. Students wrote rough drafts and did peer reviews. Each student turned in a final one page report. Here is what I noticed as a teacher.
Instructor as a Guide - Most of my work was as a guide and a facilitator. refused to provide the "right" or "wrong" answer. I told students that they could talk to anyone else in the room.
Leveling the Playing Field - All students started with the same question. High performing and struggling students found themselves in the same boat. Students did not know the answer initially and had to depend on each other. This, I believe, provided a comfort level for students who are sometimes shy about asking questions to actually ask more questions because they see that everyone is asking questions.
It is O.K. to be wrong - The process of ADI encourages a sense of exploration of wrong answers. Multiple rough drafts and discussions with a variety of groups forces students to examine a variety of explanations. Students are forced to take in different ideas and justify their answer based on data.
ADI Supports the Scientific Process - Students develop questions. They do experiments. They debate ideas. They also do blind peer reviews. During one class a students said, "How come we can't just trade papers in our lab groups?" I explained that the best people still sometimes have a bias. I was also able to contact a friend who is an editor of a scientific journal. She confirmed that they are careful to do blind peer reviews before a paper is published in an attempt to eliminate bias.
Informal Data- Students soon realized that I was not going to give them the "right" answer. They started to debate among themselves. The conversations were truly inspiring. I heard "scientific" conversations from students who were normally quiet. The amount of participation was inspiring.
Grading - There were not group reports. Everyone turned in their own. I dreaded the amount of reports. However, after group discussions and peer reviews, the vast majority of the reports were really good and easy to grade.
Take some time to check out ADI. It is a method that is user friendly for students and teachers. The few times I have attempted the process I have started to see a nice change in the culture in my classroom. If you try ADI, please consider posting your comments here. You might also consider submitting a guest blog post. I would love to hear how it goes and how your students do.