Thursday, December 3, 2015

Using Google Slides for Scientific Argumentation

As part of my learning today, I read two blog posts that have inspired me to think of using Google Slides for Scientific Argumentation.

The first blog post is from - Making digital books with Google Slides. This seems like such a simple way to integrate tech into daily instruction. Students can easily combine text and images to tell a story. 

Students also tell stories in science. They make not necessarily think that they are storytellers, but when they report their findings, make claims with evidence, and defend their ideas through scientific argumentation, that is exactly what they are doing - it just happens to be using observations and data rather than imagination. So why not use Google Slides to tell their scientific investigation story?

Here is what a template that students might use to tell their story.

What makes scientific argumentation so powerful is the dialog between students because they have the opportunity to question and critique each other's work. Continuing to use Google Slides, I see this playing out in several ways. 

Way #1 - Student groups can give a presentation to the class. This is a more traditional instructional strategy, that certainly has its benefits, but has a high risk of only a small percentage of students being involved in the conversation. 

Way #2 - @alicekeeler has often shared the positive attributes of using Google Slides for class discussions. Using this technique, there would be ONE slide show for the entire class. Each student group would get a set of slides to share their work. I might differentiate the groups by using different colored backgrounds so viewers would know when one groups' work starts and ends. Once all work is compiled, students can make observations and ask questions on other groups' work using the commenting feature. 

Way #3 - Once students are comfortable with the scientific argumentation process of reviewing each others' work and providing constructive comments and questions, they may be ready to jigsaw the discussions. Students from each lab group will become a representative in another group. Each representative will be responsible for communicating claims, evidence, and reasoning; therefore, each representative will certainly need to be able to defend their groups' position. Here is a blog post of how this might be employed into your classroom

Whichever WAY you choose to use Google Slides for Scientific Argumentation, I'm convinced students will realize that their work is a story for an audience of their peers and not just some meaningless data sitting stagnant in their science notebooks - or worse, a packet to be completed, turned in & graded, and returned only to be buried in the bottom of their backpacks and never thought of again.

Offering by BEST to you!

  • Have you used Google slides as a way for scientific argumentation? What suggestions can you offer?
  • How have you used collaborative slides in your instruction in other ways? What worked, what didn't work?
  • How else have you employed scientific argumentation in your science class? How would you recommend starting off to someone who wants to make that leap with their students?

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