Fostering Pre-University Students' Argumentation Skills through Life Cycle Analysis of Plastic
Iddekinge, S. van
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The aim of this qualitative study was to contribute to education for sustainable development by developing and evaluate a life-cycle analysis project on the topic of plastics for secondary school students. This study evaluates the effects of doing such a project regarding the argumentation skills of the students. The central research question addressed is: what are the effects of students performing a life-cycle analysis on their argumentation skills regarding sustainability? The research method for this study was content analysis on written argumentative essays (N=10) using a coding scheme derived from Toulmin’s model of argumentation. The results show that students’ argumentation skills increased. The students presented more facts on an environmental and scientific level. The level of argumentation also improved, although to a lesser extent. The type of life-cycle analysis project discussed in this paper is a suitable method for promoting students’ argumentation skills as well as promoting students’ understanding regarding sustainability. Future research should focus on increasing the scale of these kind of projects to further evaluate the effects. Furthermore, the tools to assess argumentation skills should be refined.