I Am Sure There May Be a Planet There: Student articulation of uncertainty in argumentation tasks
We investigated how students articulate uncertainty when they are engaged in structured scientiﬁc argumentation tasks where they generate, examine, and interpret data to determine the existence of exoplanets. In this study, 302 high school students completed 4 structured scientiﬁc arguments that followed a series of computer-model-based curriculum module activities simulating the radial velocity and/or the transit method. Structured scientiﬁc argumentation tasks involved claim, explanation, uncertainty rating, and uncertainty rationale. We explored (1) how students are articulating uncertainty within the various elements of the task and (2) the relationship between the way the task is presented and the way students are articulating uncertainty. We found that (1) while the majority of students did not express uncertainty in either explanation or uncertainty rationale, students who did express uncertainty in their explanations did so scientiﬁcally without being prompted explicitly, (2) students’ uncertainty ratings and rationales revealed a mix of their personal conﬁdence and uncertainty related to science, and (3) if a task presented noisy data, students were less likely to express uncertainty in their explanations.