Unit 2: Identifying the Components of Inquiry in laboratory activities
Learners will be able to identify the main components of inquiry learning in lab activities and how the level of inquiry can be varied based on the need of students and activity
Unit 2 Introduction
- The National Science Education Standards state that "all science teachers are urged to use inquiry in their teaching" (NRC 1996). Incorporating varying levels of inquiry into your lab activities can be beneficial to both teacher and student. We will explore and cultivate the concept of varying the level of inquiry in lab activities, what it means for students' learning experience, and also teacher planning practices.
Prior Knowledge at this point...
So far you have read and reflected upon what inquiry learning is and now we are narrowing the focus to inquiry in lab activities.
- Think back to what you know about what makes a lab successful. Identify at least 3 things that contribute to the success of a lab activity
- Now on the opposite end of the spectrum, what can bring a lab's success down? What kinds of things hinders a student's performance and learning outcome? Think about teacher's role, student's role, and the role the actual activity plays.
- Think about the kinds of activities and labs you do in your science classroom. What are some characteristics they all have in common?
The article "Structuring the Level of Inquiry in your Science Classroom" shifts the emphasis from the general use of inquiry in science to lab activities and also the concept of varying the intensity of inquiry in activities. Also, the article opens up to the broad spectrum of incorporating various levels of inquiry based labs throughout the school year and which may be more beneficial in the long run.
Questions to Consider Before, During and especially After
- 1) What are the main components that Fay and Bretz consider to make up a lab activity? How do they use these to categorize levels of inquiry involved?
- 2) How do you feel your class's level of inquiry is currently structured? Which trajectory, I, II, III, or IV, do you think is the best model and why?
- Fay and Bretz(2008) make the comment that "the reality is that beginning science teachers who have not experiences inquiry as learners may find it difficult to implement such a curriculum in their own classrooms" (pg 38). Think back to your experience as a student in secondary education and college...what kind, if any, of inquiry did you experience? How do you think this has affected your teaching practices currently and in teaching in general? What kind of student benefits the most from varying levels of inquiry based labs?
- What kind of experience have you had with inquiry in your current teaching placement? How do you feel before, during, and after you teach and guide students in a low level inquiry lab? high level of inquiry lab?
- If there is not much inquiry based labs going on, why do you think that is?
- Bretz, Stacey L., & Fay, Michael E. 2008. Structuring the level of inquiry in your classroom. The Science Teacher; Summer 2008.
- National Research Council (NRC). 1996. National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.