Learning Science Through Inquiry
Inquiry-based teaching, central to the National Science Education Standards and the Benchmarks for Science Literacy, should not be an isolated occurrence, but a comprehensive and ongoing approach. However, many teachers hesitate to teach science through inquiry because they did not learn this way themselves, when they were students or during their preparation to become teachers. This workshop shows inquiry teaching and learning in action, with real teachers and students in real classrooms.
1. What Is Inquiry and Why Do It? Presents an overview of why inquiry is such a powerful approach to teaching and learning science — how it enables you to assess and meet the needs of a wide range of learners, how it taps children’s natural curiosity, and how it deepens their understanding of science.
2. Setting the Stage: Creating a Learning Community At the heart of inquiry teaching and learning is a positive environment that encourages and supports students on their learning paths.
3. The Process Begins: Launching the Inquiry Exploration Shows how you can encourage students to share and discuss what they already know, and to explore the materials and phenomena in an open-ended manner.
4. Focus the Inquiry: Designing the Exploration Looks at the design process – how you can guide students to plan and begin their investigations.
5. The Inquiry Continues: Collecting Data and Drawing Upon Resources Explores ways that inquirers collect and record first-hand data, just as scientists do, and observe, raise questions, make predictions, test hypotheses, and develop understanding.
6. Bring It All Together: Processing for Meaning During Inquiry Making meaning from investigations and experience requires that you guide student dialogue, encouraging your students to make connections, draw conclusions, and ask new questions.
7. Assessing Inquiry Looks at a variety of assessment strategies that range from the very informal formative assessments to formal summative assessments, and explores the purposes each can serve.
8. Connecting Other Subjects to Inquiry Explores how to use subjects like mathematics and language to further scientific inquiry and understanding of science concepts, and conversely, how science can aid learning in other subjects.
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