Socio-scientific issue (SSI) debate engages students in negotiating diverse ideas and formulating positions using life experiences, ethical values, and scientific evidence in order to reach a consensus and make decisions. This study examines how scientific evidence, social relationship, value and authority affect elementary science gifted students argumentative practice in two ways: social negotiation and epistemic understanding of arguments. Twenty elementary science gifted students participated in four steps of Jigsaw group discussion processes while they make decision about renewable energy; 1) single gender group (boys or girls) discussion before information given, 2) single gender group discussion after information given, 3) mixed gender group discussion (boys and girls) as a format of expert group discussion, and 4) single gender group(original group) discussion. Group discussions were videotaped and transcribed as a main data source. Students’ decision making process were analyzed by an analytic framework adapted from Toulmin’s (1958) model of argument structure, Walton’s (1996) reasoning scheme, and informal reasoning (Sadler et al., 2004). The results show that on average, the number of girl groups' utterance is 50% less than boy groups' and the same pattern is appeared in the mixed group discussions. In terms of social negotiation pattern, boy's group discussion include more 'challenging' and 'preventing' type of utterances than girl's group discussion. In the mixed group setting, girls used more 'challenging' and 'preventing' type of utterance than girls-only group. In addition, girl groups' decision making processes are more affected by social relationship, values, and authority than scientific evidence while boy’s group decisions are more affected by scientific evidence and value than social relationship and authority. This study implies that in decision making process in socio-scientific issues, social relationship and authority are critical issue along with gender. This study also illustrates that incorporating jigsaw group discussion using both single and mixed gender group could improve students’ decision making ability by considering gender difference in social interaction patterns.
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