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  Feature Name: Decision justification chart
Author: Janet Kolodner

Category: Inquiry Tools: Guided inquiry

Subject: NA

Kind: Element/Applet

 Elementary School
 Middle School
 High School
 Higher Education
 Teachers & Principals


Software URL: SMILE

Created by: Owensby, Kolodner, Nagel, & Ericson

Reference URL

This Feature is connected to (2) Principles
  • Provide students with templates to help reasoning
  • Model scientific thinking
    Feature in Visual Map
    The chart appears in the right-hand frame (see picture). It contains three columns labeled Design Decision, Justification, and Scientific Principle.
    The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
    Middle-school learners often have difficulties supporting their claims and decisions with evidence. The decision justification chart provides a structure that reminds them to support their design decisions, either with experimental data, scientific principles, rules of thumb, or a peers findings.
    Context of Use:
    As groups are planning their project solutions (designs in the case of LBD) and getting ready to present their solution ideas to the class, they have to make decisions about based on results of previous investigations (their own and others) and science principles/concepts theyve been learning. During their presentations, other groups in their class (and other groups in other classes) will ask them questions about their design decisions, with particular focus being placed on why a decision was made (Kolodner & Nagel, 1999). This chart is used to help groups ensure that their ideas are well thought out and to help them connect their ideas and design decisions to targeted science. Individual students within a group may also use this feature.
    Kolodner, J.L. and Nagel, K. (1999). The Design Discussion Area: A Collaboration Learning Tool in Support of Learning from Problem-Solving and Design Activities. Proceedings of CSCL 99. Palo Alto, CA, 300-307.

    Image:(Click to enlarge)