Danielle Greene's Mini-Course

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  Strategies for Promoting Scientific Inquiry Skills in the K-12 Curriculum
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Overview & Purpose

The purpose of this mini-course is to encourage educators to promote the use of scientific inquiry in the classroom by looking at examples of experiments/lessons in the K-12 curriculum. This will allow the learner to develop new ways to use scientific inquiry in their own classroom. The example experiments that I will be presenting will directly align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and the specific standard that each example focuses on will be provided if possible. In the first unit of this mini-course, I will provide a brief introduction to the NGSS. In the final three units, I will breakdown the scientific inquiry skills for elementary students (Unit 2), middle grade students (Unit 3) and older students (Unit 4).

Needs Assessment

The Instructional Problem
Science teachers need to ensure that they are teaching their students to develop an understanding of the content, rather than basic memorization of facts, laws, and equations. Students will enter the classroom having some previous knowledge of the content that will be covered, and in order to address student misconceptions, they will need to be encouraged to reassess their previous understandings in order to further develop their knowledge. Knowledge frequently involves facts and definitions, but understanding involves concepts and reaches conclusions. Memorization alone is not sufficient, because understanding also needs to be acquired. This instructional problem in science education will be my focus in this design project.


The Nature of What is to be Learned
Educators, instructional designers, and others who are reading this design project will learn different ways to add scientific inquiry skills into their classroom, whether it be a class dedicated entirely to science or an elementary classroom that covers content from all subjects. Learners will be provided with scientific inquiry experiments/lessons that will align with one or more topics that are covered in the science curriculum. Learners will not only become more knowledgeable about how to promote scientific inquiry skills and promote student engagement, but they should also be able to use what they've learned from this mini-course and apply it in their own classroom/curriculum.


The Realities of the Instructional Context
The instruction that will be provided in this mini-course will be delivered entirely online. Therefore, those who are viewing this course have free-will to choose the location in which they will view the mini-course, but they will need to have a computer (desktop or laptop), iPad, Chromebook, or any other device that is connected to the Internet and has access to YouTube. It is also suggested that you use headphones when watching the videos, and turn on the captions if they are available. The resources provided in this course will be come from textbooks, articles, and instructional videos.


Addressing the Instructional Problem and the Proposed Solution
Throughout this project, participants will see the benefits that promoting scientific inquiry skills can have on student understanding in comparison to a "memorization for test-preparation" approach to science education. Through example experiments and lessons, participants will become familiar with different ways that they can teach scientific inquiry skills to their students, and promote student engagement and collaboration in their classroom. In this mini-course you will learn that developing scientific inquiry skills is more beneficial for learners than a "teaching for memorization" approach to science education.


My Design Project Goals
The goal of this project is to help teachers, instructional designers, and other learners gain confidence in promoting scientific inquiry skills that can be developed in the classroom by looking at example lessons and experiments. At the end of this project, the learner will be able to confidently incorporate these skills into their science curriculum.

Performance Objectives

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Identify the core components of the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • Identify the scientific inquiry skills that K-12 students should acquire in their perspective grade levels.
  • Determine the reasons for developing scientific inquiry skills in the classroom.
  • Identify how the teachers in each example promoted the use of scientific inquiry skills with their students.
  • Identify how the teachers in each example promoted a deeper level of understanding of science with their students.
  • Identify how the teachers in each example promoted student engagement, focus, and collaboration.
  • Reflect on and self-assess his or her own strategies for incorporating scientific inquiry skills in their classroom.
  • Reflect on new strategies for promoting scientific inquiry skills in their curriculum/classroom.

Unit 1: An Introduction to Next Generation Science Standards

(Clicking on the title above will take you directly to Unit 1.)

There are no prerequisites for this unit of the mini-course. By the end of Unit #1, the learner will be able to:

  1. Define the core components of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
  2. Understand how NGSS can be beneficial to students in the K-12 curriculum.
  3. Name the eight practices of science and engineering from A Science Framework for K-12 Science Education.
  4. Determine ways to use NGSS in their classroom/curriculum.

Unit 2: Scientific Inquiry Skills for Elementary Students

(Clicking on the title above will take you directly to Unit 2.)

By the end of Unit #2, the learner will be able to:

  1. Identify basic scientific inquiry skills in elementary-level lessons. Prerequisite
  2. Identify different ways of promoting the use of scientific inquiry skills in grade K-4 classrooms.
  3. Self-assess how the skills presented in the videos could be beneficial in their own elementary classroom/curriculum.

Unit 3: Scientific Inquiry Skills for Middle Grade Students

(Clicking on the title above will take you directly to Unit 3.)

By the end of Unit #3, the learner will be able to:

  1. Identify basic scientific inquiry skills in middle grade level lessons. Prerequisite
  2. Identify different ways of promoting the use of scientific inquiry skills in grade 5-8 classrooms.
  3. Self-assess how the skills presented in the videos could be beneficial in their own middle grade classroom/curriculum.

Unit 4: Scientific Inquiry Skills for Older Students

(Clicking on the title above will take you directly to Unit 4.)

By the end of Unit #4, the learner will be able to:

  1. Identify basic scientific inquiry skills in high school level lessons. Prerequisite
  2. Identify different ways of promoting the use of scientific inquiry skills in grade 9-12 classrooms.
  3. Self-assess how the skills presented in the videos could be beneficial in their own high school classroom/curriculum.