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Type Journal ArticlePub Date 8/1/2018Stock # sc18_056_01_39Volume 056Issue 01
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Agree/Disagree T-Charts in the classroom
Summary: This article outlines instructional tools and techniques that “enabled students to build explanations through argumentation and modeling over the course of an instructional unit.” T... See More
Summary: This article outlines instructional tools and techniques that “enabled students to build explanations through argumentation and modeling over the course of an instructional unit.” This article specifically examines the use of the Agree/Disagree T-chart in Science. The teacher in the study would introduce a puzzling and historic phenomenon. The first example of using a Agree/Disagree T-chart is used to look at the question, “Why did a particular town next to a mountain flood after a dam was built on the opposite side of the mountain?” The teacher first encouraged her second graders to discuss and share their thoughts about flooding. Students were expected to draw on their own personal experienced and background knowledge. The teacher then pairs students with a partner who could support each other and build on each other’s strengths and challenges. The students are then asked to draw and write their thinking about why the town flooded. The teacher then looks over and categorizes the groups of common ideas. The teacher then makes an Agree/Disagree chart for each of the three main ideas, she then presents each idea to the class. The students are then offered the opportunity to make any changes to the claims or make new claims. The students are asked if they agree with their model’s placement on the T-chart, then some students ask to move their chart to another claim or make copies and place it on more then one chart. This process allows for a discussion to clarify ideas, identify connections between their models and others in the class and to rationalize their thinking. Next, the students are given a sticky note and asked to draw or write down experiences they have had related to water movement or flooding. Then the students share what they have drawn or written, and the class discusses which chart their sticky note belongs with, such as if it agrees or disagrees with any of the claims on the T-charts. The class then continues on through the unit (investigations, readings, watching videos, etc.) these activities then provided the student with additional evidence. “Ms. V continues to support students’ reasoning with evidence about specific activities and through synthesizing across activities. The teacher would ask the students regularly to connect what they were observing to their claims about the dam and how the town flooded. The students are then asked to create conditional evidence-based arguments for “what would happen if” and begin considering how to use complex synthesis of evidence to determine how well their claims were supported.
Reflection: This is a fantastic strategy which goes so far beyond formulating a hypothesis or generating a question in science. Students are presented with a puzzling or historic phenomenon which allows the students to create a claim. The teacher then sorts the student’s models and groups them with similar claims. The teacher facilitates discussions and supports and engages the student in order to eventually ask the students to make a final decision about if they agree or disagree with each of the claims. Students are asked to provide a reason with multiple forms of evidence. This teaching strategy allows students to engage in scientific practices of argumentation and modeling in meaningful and evidenced-based ways. This is a great way to help students formulate an opinion and then the students must discover and learn about the topic while working towards the final goal of choosing a side and providing evidence to back up their claim. It is so important to guide students while allowing them room to discover for themselves and ask questions. I will definitely be using this strategy in my future classroom.
NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.