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Building up arguments in the science classroom: the role of data, evidence and variables in the establishment of justifications

Our aim is analyze actions in science classes that contribute to the construction of arguments, especially working with data, variables and evidence to construct explanations. Our main theoretical framework is Toulmin's argument pattern (TAP-1958/2006). Our data are transcriptions of two recorded science classes which occurred in a fourth year of Elementary School. Initial analysis has highlighted arguments constructed collectively in these classes. From this data, we identify how each TAP element was constructed, considering the teacher's actions. It is noteworthy that the construction of the argument occurs in a non-intuitive order: teacher doesn't start expecting a claim construction, but the claim is a result of the analysis of various situations. Evidence is provided through the investigation of empirical data.

Toulmin's argument pattern; Argumentation; Science education

Programa de Pós-Graduação em Educação para a Ciência, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Faculdade de Ciências, campus de Bauru. Av. Engenheiro Luiz Edmundo Carrijo Coube, 14-01, Campus Universitário - Vargem Limpa CEP 17033-360 Bauru - SP/ Brasil , Tel./Fax: (55 14) 3103 6177 - Bauru - SP - Brazil