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Teachers’ Use of Argumentation in the Development of Integrated STEM Curricula (Fundamental)

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Best Papers in K-12 / Pre-college Division

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1460.1 - 26.1460.21



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Paper Authors


Corey A Mathis Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Corey Mathis is a Ph.D student in Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received her B.S. in biology and her M.E.D. in secondary education from Northern Arizona University and is a former high school science and technology teacher. Her research interest includes improving students learning of science and engineering through integrated STEM curricula.

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Emilie A. Siverling Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Emilie A. Siverling is a Ph.D. Student in Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she is a former high school chemistry and physics teacher. Her research interests are in K-12 STEM integration, primarily using engineering design to support secondary science curricula and instruction.

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Aran W Glancy University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

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Aran W. Glancy is a Ph.D. candidate in STEM Education with a focus on mathematics education at the University of Minnesota. Aran is currently working on supporting elementary and middle school teachers in integrating science and mathematics through engineering design. Additionally, he is investigating modeling within K-12 mathematics classrooms, and is also interested in enhancing mathematics education through the integration of science, engineering, and computer programming.

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Tamara J Moore Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Tamara J. Moore, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education and Director of STEM Integration in the INSPIRE Institute at Purdue University. Dr. Moore’s research is centered on the integration of STEM concepts in K-12 and postsecondary classrooms in order to help students make connections among the STEM disciplines and achieve deep understanding. Her work focuses on defining STEM integration and investigating its power for student learning.

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Teachers’ Use of Argumentation in the Development of STEM Integration Curricula (Fundamental)The recently released Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) contain two aspects that arerelatively unique when compared with other versions of national and state science standards: 1)the equal emphasis of science and engineering practices, as well as cross-cutting concepts, withdisciplinary core ideas; and 2) the introduction of engineering as both a set of practices and adisciplinary core idea. One of the fundamental practices identified in NGSS is argumentation,which has been researched in K-12 science education for the previous two decades but has yet tobe studied within the context of K-12 engineering education. This paper explores how teachers ina professional development program captured their use of argumentation in the development ofSTEM integrated units. The following research questions guided this study: How do teachersincorporate argumentation into teacher-developed STEM integrated curricula? How doesargumentation used in the curricula support the learning of engineering concepts?Elementary and middle school science teachers participated in a summer professionaldevelopment institute. The goal of this institute was to support teachers in the development andimplementation of STEM integration units using engineering design-based instruction. While theinstitute did not include explicit instruction about argumentation, the researchers anticipated thatit would be included in the curricula due to the prevalence of argumentation pedagogies inscience. To gain a better understanding of when and how teachers included argumentation intheir curricula, a multiple case study approach was conducted using four STEM integration units.The four curricula were analyzed using two frameworks. Toulmin’s Argumentation Pattern wasused to identify instances of argumentation within the curricular units; these instances were thenmapped to the Framework for Quality K-12 Engineering Education to identify howargumentation was used to support various aspect of engineering.Preliminary findings show that though curricular teams were not directed to use argumentation inthe development of the units, all of them did contain elements of argumentation. Argumentationwas used in four general ways: as a content assessment tool, to improve critical thinking, toprovide motivation and engagement, and to develop communication skills. Additionally,argumentation was found to support engineering concepts such as the process of design,engineering thinking, communication in engineering contexts, and the application of science,mathematics and engineering content. While these uses of argumentation were found in thecurricula, the degree to which they appeared in each case varied. These findings support the ideathat although teachers may use argumentation, additional professional development may supplythe support needed to improve the incorporation of argumentation in their curricula. Keywords: STEM integration, argumentation, case study, professional development

Mathis, C. A., & Siverling, E. A., & Glancy, A. W., & Moore, T. J. (2015, June), Teachers’ Use of Argumentation in the Development of Integrated STEM Curricula (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24797

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