|The aim of this study was to explore ways in which a dialogical argumentation instruction
model (DAIM) could be used to assist and enhance grade 6 learners' understanding of the
causes of the phases of the moon.
The study was underpinned by Toulmin's 1958 Argumentation Pattern (TAP) and Ogunniyi's
2007 a & b Contiguity Argumentation Theory (CAT)
It was a case study that was carried out in a primary school in Cape Town, South Africa and a
sample of thirty - five grade six learners participated. Data were collected using multiple data
collection instruments including the pre- and post-achievement tests for grade 6 on the
causes of the phases of the moon, an audio-taped interview schedule, focus group interview
schedule, field observation schedule and classroom observation notes, all based on grade 6
learners' conceptions of the causes of the phases of the moon. Data were analysed
quantitatively and qualitatively. The findings of the study were as follows:
Firstly, before DAIM, grade 6 learners held conceptions that; rain, clouds, seasons, day and
night, and shadows from the planets, the stars and the sun were the causes of the phases of the
moon.. Some of these conceptions arose from the learners' own science viewpoints and
others from their indigenous perspectives. These conceptions were all not consistent with
laws and principles of science because they were not the causes of the phases of the moon.
However, after DAIM, grade 6 learners held the view that the light from the sun and the
revolution of the moon round the earth were the causes of the phases of the moon. This
indicates that there was a shift from the learners' pre DAIM to post DAIM thinking.