Classroom Inquiry

Evidence of Effects of Classroom Inquiry

Though science inquiry is called for explicitly in the National Science Education Standards, it is often characterized inaccurately as "discovery learning" by the media. This situation could lead to a negative reaction among parents when they hear that you include inquiry activities in your course. The references below summarize the evidence we have for the effectiveness of having students engage in inquiry in science classrooms.

describes standardized test scores for project-based science students.

provides this working definition of classroom inquiry: Students finding answers to real problems by asking and refining questions, designing and conducting investigations, gathering and analyzing information and data, making interpretations, drawing conclusions, and reporting findings (Lunetta, 1998; Minstrell & Zee, 2000; Roth, 1995).

In this article, the authors cite evidence that deep understanding results from inquiry from studies by Brown & Campione, 1994, Cognition and Technology Group, 1992, Metz, 1995.

Note to curious: If you dig up these references, why not upload them and link them here?

A review article that summarizes the effects of Inquiry-Rich Curricula in the 50s and 60s reforms is:

Welch, Wayne, (1979) Twenty Years of Science Curriculum Development: A Look Back Review of Research in Education Vol 7: 1979 pp. 282-306. This article can be downloaded if you are a Umich student from [[ here]]

There are also several references about science inquiry at the end of the NSES, on p. 205. If you dig up any of these, why not include them on this page? - fogleman fogleman Feb 19, 2007

Online Reading about Inquiry

Professional Development Targeted at Facilitating Classroom Inquiry

Learning Science Through Inquiry

A video workshop for K-8 teachers; 8 one-hour video programs, workshop guide, and Web site; graduate credit available

Inquiry-Related Teaching Ideas

Community-Based Education (CBE)

One strategy for engaging students in inquiry is by having them investigate problems in their community. This article in the Science Teacher describes a CBE project and offers concrete guidelines for attempting similar projects.

This newspaper article describes a design project that ninth grade Research and Design students in my school did. Design projects allow students to apply what they are learning to goal that has multiple solutions and provide an opportunity to work in a team. Sharing projects with the local press can nurture understanding of what is going on in your class within the community. - fogleman fogleman

Inquiry Rich Model Lessons

We did a simple investigation in class that has students investigation how to optimize the contents of sandwich cookies. I had a request for the lesson plan, so I've posted the lesson materials here: