Citizens need the capability to conduct their own inquiry projects so that they can make sense of claims about new energy policies, health remedies, or financial opportunities. To develop the lifelong capability to grapple with these dilemmas, we report on ways to design precollege units that engage students in realistic, personally relevant investigations. Our investigations and syntheses of related work have resulted in the knowledge integration framework. This constructivist framework shows that, to succeed, learners build on what they know and use reasoning strategies to make sense of new information. To help designers we have identified a pattern that can guide instructional designers. The pattern involves supporting students to articulate their existing ideas, add new, normative ideas, distinguish them from their existing ideas, and reflect on their experiences as they increase the coherence of their ideas. To guide students, we are currently investigating automated guidance based on analysis of natural language essays students write while investigating complex problems such as global climate change.
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