Sunday, March 27, 2016

Epistemic Games in ADI

Collins and Ferguson detail a list of epistemic games in their article Epistemic Forms and Epistemic Games: Structures and Strategies to Guide Inquiry most of which are easily incorporated into ADI activities. The easiest application of epistemic games into ADI are into production of a tentative argument and the argumentation session. Epistemic games according to Collins and Ferguson are "for analyzing phenomena" (25). Games such as list-making, compare-contrast, cost-benefit analysis, primitive element analysis, and tables are all good strategies for breaking down or compiling scientific data from laboratory experiments, an integral part of ADI.

The article addresses that primitive-element is an inherent strategy in modern Chemistry, and thus I think it along with table making are two games which can be easily implemented into an ADI activity concerning chemical composition based on flame tests. The overarching question given to students would be what are ways to determine what elements are present in solutions? I believe this is a good ADI activity because the fact that different chemicals create different colors makes it a visual intriguing experiment that should get the students excited about the lab. The students could complete flame tests on an array of chemical solutions and write down all of their observations in a table format.  Students could then dissect each solution into its anion and cation component to try and figure out which component affects the resulting color. To increase the level of difficulty of the experiment, students could also be given unknowns and have to determine which ions make up that solution. After completing the experiment, different groups could meet to discuss their results in a mini tentative argument session. Consequently, students could be asked to create finalized tables organized based on the ion which effects color change in their investigation report.

This ADI activity would be most beneficial if placed in a unit on physical and chemical properties, so that at the end of the unit students could again create a list or a compare/contrast diagram of different factors and categorize them as a physical or chemical property. To complete this experiment students will already have to have an understanding of cations and anions and how they can combine to make solutions with different properties. The nice part of this activity is that students do not need to be given a lot of material or research to complete it.

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