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Scientific Argumentation and Writing Webinar for Teachers Offered by Smithsonian

Techniques, Tools and Student Resources Available to Participants


High school science teachers who want to try an argument-driven approach can find the instructional techniques and materials they need in a free, two-session webinar, “Scientific Argumentation: Helping Students Identify, Evaluate and Support Claims,”  Feb. 17 and 23, 7 to 8 p.m. EST, via Google Hangout. Presenter Victor Sampson, author of Scientific Argumentation in Biology (NSTA Press) and associate professor of STEM education at the University of Texas, Austin, will present an instructional strategy that helps students judge the quality or reliability of evidence, evaluate scientific claims and construct scientific arguments. Michelle Knovic Smith, associate director for digital media in the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, will present new Smithsonian digital resources created to work with the strategy and a text-annotation tool designed to address the close reading requirements of the standards.

The Smithsonian piloted the webinar in December 2014 with a group of prominent educators, including three state Teachers of the Year and teachers from the New York City Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project. Regarding the instructional procedure, a middle school science teacher in Kansas said, “I think the program is great. The six steps and that approach—I think it’s fantastic, and I think it’s the way we need to go with students in science to make them critical thinkers.” A California high school biology teacher commented, “The technique and student activity meet the Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards really well.”

The two-session webinar format allows participants to freely ask questions, which will be answered during and following the sessions.

The webinar is free and open to the public due to the support of The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. For more information, contact Registration is available at

About Smithsonian Institution

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. The Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. There are 6,400 Smithsonian employees and 5,500 volunteers. There were 28 million visits to the Smithsonian in 2014. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at 138 million, including more than 126 million specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History.

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