Liam Guilfoyle and Sibel Erduran
International Journal of Science Education
There is a substantial body of literature in science education focusing on students’ understanding of the theory of evolution by natural selection. However, despite decades of research on the evolution
versus creationism debate there is still widespread concern that particular misconceptions about evolution persist. The study aimed to recalibrate the evolution versus creationism debate by
engaging students in an argumentation task where students can interpret evidence and reasons for why either position is justified or not, and on what basis. A card sort activity was used to investigate the students’ use of evidence and reasons. A sample of 77 students with an average age of 13 participated in the study in England in the context of a funded research project. The findings pointed to challenges and opportunities in teaching and learning of evolution through an argumentation task where alternative
perspectives are drawn from both science and religious education. Furthermore, they illustrated how argumentation tasks can potentially provide a context for students to explore cross-subject topics. Research about the immersion of students in tasks that support their argumentation can generate understanding of students’ reasoning, and ultimately such research may lead to the design of lesson resources to support students’ engagement in science.
Full article is available, open access: Recalibrating the evolution versus creationism debate for student learning: towards students’ evaluation of evidence in an argumentation task (tandfonline.com)