In partnership with the Society of Biology, Royal Society of Chemistry, and Institute of Physics

Approach 1: Argumentation

Argumentation involves developing, discussing and evaluating scientific arguments in the context of practical work.

Preparing to use these resources

Before using these teaching resources, have a look at the Introduction to argumentation. This includes a quick start guide; a brief overview of what argumentation is and what it means in practice, in the context of a practical lesson.

You may also be interested in the Summary of the research, produced to inform this development of these resources.

Exemplar resources
  • Heart rate, breathing rate and physical fitness (KS4) - Students collect data and then decide whether or not the data is sufficient to draw particular conclusions. They justify their decisions through argumentation.
  • Woodlice habitats (KS5) - Students collect evidence to investigate and evaluate various claims about woodlouse behaviour.
  • Putting chemicals in groups (KS4) - Students see that it is possible to group chemicals with similar properties, and that there are some chemicals which do not fit easily into a group. 
  • Magnesium and carbon dioxide (KS4) - Students use evidence to predict what will happen when burning magnesium is placed into a jar of carbon dioxide. Will it be extinguished, or will it continue to burn? They back up their prediction with an argument and, having made their observations, evaluate the prediction and develop an explanation.
  • Melting ice (KS3) - Students often think that some materials are intrinsically warm (wood, plastic, wool) while others are intrinsically cold (metals, glass, water). This lesson challenges these ideas by presenting observations which many will find counter-intuitive.