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Inquiry Based Hands-on Instruction for Science

Have you tried inquiry as an instructional model?

Dewey proposed that inquiry is the “active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends.” 



Consider the following scenarios: 

  • A teacher asks students to interpret a set of animal tracks, and generate several alternative hypotheses to explain the pattern of the prints.
  • Students are asked to look at data of weather patterns in a particular area over a 10 year period.  The students are asked to form hypotheses and further questions based on the data.  
  • A teacher takes students on a field trip to collect leaves from different trees. Students are asked to create a classification system using the leaves.
  • A teacher gives students an unknown substance, and asks them to use scientific tests to determine the composition of the material.
  • A teacher provides students with a variety of magnets and other materials and asks them to set up their own experiments. 
In each of the above situations, the teacher has created a situation in the classroom in which students are asked to formulate their own ideas, state their opinion on an important issue, or to find things out for themselves. It is a radical departure from the Direct Instruction Teaching model in which the teacher engages students to learn science information or skills by directly telling the students about them. In each of the above scenarios, the student is encouraged to ask questions, analyze specimens or data, draw conclusions, make inferences, or generate hypotheses. In short the student is viewed as an inquirer—a seeker of information, and a problem solver. This is the heart of the inquiry model of teaching.


Start with something intriguing, puzzling or interesting.


 Ask Questions and get students to explore and experiment.

 Guide students but allow them to articulate their ideas.  


Planning questions in advance will help you guide the students towards the concepts you want them to learn.

Encourage students to formulate additional questions for further investigation, record their ideas and data, and form conclusions based on evidence.


Inquiry as a model aligns perfectly with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Science and Engineering Practices
  
Asking Questions (for science) and Defining Problems (for engineering)
Developing and Using Models
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
Constructing Explanations (for science) and Designing Solutions (for engineering)
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Crosscutting Concepts
Patterns
Cause and effect 
Scale, proportion and quantity
Systems and system models
Energy and matter 
Structure and function
Stability and change
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Will vary by Content



You may like this product Owl Pellet 5 E Inquiry

Lesson or Inquiry 5 E Balloon Rocket Lesson


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I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

 
Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

Tina S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

Tina S

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

 
Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

Richard S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

Richard S

The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

 
Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

Sharon M

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

Sharon M

As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

 
Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

Expedition Fourth

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

Expedition Fourth

Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

 
Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

Heidi J

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

Heidi J

My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
5
3
Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams