One thing that comes to mind is the use of 'Claim, Evidence, & Reasoning' discussion. Using this as a model could help things stay on task. There are some helpful tips via STEMscopes. Some discussion strategies that I gained from a conference breakout session with STEMscopes included tips for argumentation:
- student can only speak 3 times
- students must segue between the last response and their own
- students must cite evidence to back up their claim, such as refering to text
- recognize that it is not a debate, but a discussion!
A good idea for tracking which students have talked is to have a double sided card (or more, depending on how many times you want to allow them to talk) with one side being the color green and one side being the color red. Students start with the green side showing, but flip it to the red side once they have talked.
I hope you have been able to facilitate some great science discussions this semester! Looking forward to the next -
***I'm a preservice teacher who has not implemented this yet in a classroom. I attended the ISTS Iowa Acadamy of Science fall conference in Des Moines this year, and received this information from a breakout session there with STEMscopes.***