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Please pardon our progress while we refine the look and functionality of our new ALEX site! You can still access the old ALEX site at If you would like to share feedback or have a question for the ALEX Team, you can use the contact form here, or email us directly at

Teacher Talk

  • photo of Hannah Bradley
    Hannah Bradley
    Did you know?

    ALEX, the Alabama Learning Exchange site has been active for 22 years! As you can imagine, ensuring all of the data was accurately migrated to the new server is a major undertaking. We are constantly striving to improve the site and make it user-friendly for all Alabama educators. Our team is working diligently to ensure educators can locate our most popular resources, including all of the Alabama Course of Study Standards (ALCOS). While we refine this process, you may locate the previous Alabama Learning Exchange site at or click "Read more..." to follow these steps.

    To locate the content standards:
    • Visit our companion site,
    • Click on the subject area.
    • Click on the course or grade level.
    • Click on the arrows to navigate through the levels of standards.
    • There are additional functionalities on this platform as well. You can learn more about them by visiting the Standards Explorer or by clicking the Information icon in the top right corner (blue i).

    You can view this instructional video to learn more about

    To locate standards-aligned learning resources:
    • Go to
    • Hover over Learning Resources, and select the type of learning resource you would like to find.
      • Classroom Resources are instructional tools aligned with the ALCOS supporting student achievement.
      • Learning Activities are the building blocks of a lesson plan that provide either a before, a during, or an after strategy to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill.
      • Lesson Plans provide a step-by-step guide utilizing instructional best practices and are built upon learning activities.
      • Unit Plans are a sequence of lesson plans, taught over a period of time, and aligned to the Course of Study Standards.
    • After selecting the type of learning resource, you can filter by keyword, grade level, and/or subject area.

    We invite all ALEX users to offer specific feedback and suggestions using this form: We look forward to continuing to support Alabama educators as they provide high-quality, effective, standards-based instruction in their classrooms and schools! If there is a specific resource you are trying to locate, please let us know. We can provide directions to navigate to the resource.

    Get in touch with the ALEX Team by using the contact form here, or email us directly at

  • photo of Hannah Bradley
    Hannah Bradley

    What is scientific argumentation?

    Argumentation is central to a professional scientist’s practice, as scientists must make a claim to explain observed scientific phenomena, collect evidence and data to support their claim, and provide logical reasoning to justify their proposed idea. Other scientists will then attempt to identify the flaws and limitations of the claim. This process leads to the creation of new scientific ideas and theories (National Research Council, 2012).

    Why is scientific argumentation important in the classroom?

    The 2015 Alabama Course of Study for Science requires that students begin the practice of scientific argumentation in third grade and advance in this skill during later grade levels. It is important for students to begin engaging in this practice at a young age in order to become a “critical consumer of science” as an adult (National Research Council, 2012, pg. 72). Younger elementary school students can practice this skill by creating an argument based on their interpretation of scientific phenomena and provide evidence from investigations completed in the classroom. As students progress to higher grade levels, they should be encouraged to examine their claims and others’ claims, to determine the potential weaknesses and limitations. Engaging in this practice encourages students to think critically about scientific concepts, which leads to a deeper and more meaningful understanding (National Research Council, 2012). 

    How can I introduce this practice in my science classroom?

    According to the National Research Council (2012), introducing scientific argumentation from a historical perspective can give students the opportunity to identify the claim, evidence, and reasoning of professional scientists. I’ve used this technique with sixth-grade students to reinforce the practice of scientific argumentation. After studying Alfred Wegener’s theory of continental drift, I asked students to identify Wegener’s scientific claim and the three main pieces of evidence that supported his idea. Next, I asked students to identify Wegener’s scientific reasoning that would explain how and why the continents moved. After studying Wegener’s theory and its lack of support during its introduction in the early 1900s, the students were able to infer that Wegener’s theory was not accepted by the scientific community because he was not able to provide logical reasoning. In other words, although Wegener could make a scientific claim and provide evidence, he was not able to explain how or why the continents moved over time. In my experience with providing instruction on scientific argumentation, students often struggle with developing reasoning to support their claims and evidence. The activity related to Alfred Wegener helped emphasize the importance of scientific reasoning when developing a logical argument.

    Where can I find resources to use in my classroom?

    Incorporating this practice into your classroom may seem overwhelming at first; fortunately, there are many resources available to help you introduce this practice to your students. You can start off by visiting the Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX) to find lessons that relate to your grade level’s standards that apply to scientific argumentation. If you are interested in learning more information about incorporating this practice in your classroom, visit Katherine McNeill’s website, the author of two books that support teachers in integrating the claim, evidence, reasoning framework into their science classrooms. 

    National Research Council. A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. 2012. Committee on a Conceptual Framework for New K-12 Science Education Standards. Board on Science Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Accessed June 2017