Argumentation is essential to human thinking and discourse. People construct and evaluate arguments everyday in school, work, and informal settings to resolve issues as simple as what brand of soda to buy to as complex as whether stem cell research should be legalized. The ability to evaluate and construct arguments is particularly important in today’s society where individuals are constantly confronted with new information. Argumentation is about making claims and providing justification for those claims. Justification means that people can question why they should believe an assertion or claim. A claim should not just be an individual’s opinion, but should be justifiable if another individual challenges it.
The Showing Evidence Tool provides a scaffold to support students as they create a claim and then support or refute it with appropriate evidence. When an argument is complicated, the components of the tool help students think through justifying a claim. A debate about stem cell research, for example, might lead to multiple claims that could be supported by evidence. The Showing Evidence Tool prompts students to consider the quality of the evidence (Do they trust the source?), and the strength of the evidence to support their claim (Is the evidence central to their argument?). Students use the tool to explicitly link evidence to their claim and provide their reasoning as to why the evidence supports their claim (What general principle or idea allows them to make that connection?).
Begin by trying the tool. The Try the Tool section has a demonstration workspace for you to practice evaluating and rating evidence, and then analyzing whether the evidence supports or opposes a claim. Try the Tool also has a tutorial that takes you through the features of the tool.
Once you are familiar with the tool, take a look at the Project Examples and Instructional Strategies sections for classroom ideas and suggestions from other teachers.
When you are ready to start a project, you can register in Teacher Workspace. The project set-up page in the Teacher Workspace is where you describe the project, create any pre-existing claims or evidence (if desired), and set up student teams. The thinking tools now come with a time-saving feature to help you set up a project. This project wizard automates some of the steps in creating a new project and allows you to duplicate a project from any existing project example.
The Showing Evidence Tool was created by a team of teachers, researchers, and developers at Intel® Innovation in Education and Inquirium*. The unit plans and project examples were developed by Intel® Teach to the Future teachers and tested by their students.