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An observer in a science classroom that follows a transmission style of curriculum will view the teacher imparting content and seeking the development of skills, but will undoubtedly witness students that are disengaged, inattentive, and devoid of enthusiasm for a science lesson that prohibits their hands on exploration (Aldridge & Goldman, 2007). Aldridge and Goldman (2007) articulate how a transaction style of curriculum that includes inquiry-based learning allows children to explore and investigate issues and ideas that intrinsically motivate them.
Stender, Schwichow, Zimmerman, and Hartig (2018) emphasize that inquiry learning has two components warranting the label of inquiry science learning and these are learners responding to research questions and application of scientific methods. According to van Uum, Verhoeff, and Peeters (2017), inquiry based science education utilizes students’ inquisitive nature and supports creation of research questions focused on an issue that piques their interest. Often, teachers and other stakeholders in education make the point that when students listen to a lesson, they learn, but when they participate in the lesson, they remember. Inquiry based science learning moves one step further by taking what a student remembers and develops questions to gather more evidence to form explanations and make judgments to justify these explanations (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015). Through hands on inquiry, logical reasoning increases and students demonstrate application of actions (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015). Zhang (2016) specified certain values associated with scientific inquiry processes that include “providing students’ personal experiences relevant to their daily life, developing their explanation and writing skills, and promoting student creations and explorations of their own products and solutions (p. 900). DeRosa and Abruscato (2015) suggest that knowledge and comprehension can be expanded if scientific inquiry processes remain a core part of science education.
Collaboration during the inquiry-based science learning process has some obvious benefits concerning leadership skills, accountability, and listening skills. DeRosa and Abruscato (2015) believe that leadership can be allocated to all members of a group and allude to possibilities of negative behavior. For example, leadership is to be shared not horded so all students have the opportunity to model that role. These authors continue by explaining that individual accountability in collaboration remains integral to inquiry based science learning, but responsibility for ensuring that other members of the group are working productively falls to group members in order to promote successful collaboration (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015). In other words, all parties involved in collaboration must be active and involved participants. Listening skills can be enhanced through collaboration (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015), but respect for others ideas must be emphasized so students can express their ideas intentionally without judgment.
Resources for promoting inquiry-based science include technology. (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015). Authentic research experiences using technology provide questioning practice, facilitating the collection of data, and promoting evaluation of data (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015). Simulations help students to investigate inaccessible experiences, however, registration requirements and fees are components of some simulation sites (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015.) Trade books incorporate language arts, but in a way that motivates students to explore scientific encounters that are grounded in facts (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015). The parameters of using trade books include readily apparent theories and facts, a lack of bias, and content that is science related (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015). Finally, theme based, literature based, and project based integrations of science have different dimensions to promote inquiry-based science that captures the interest of the students (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015). Project-based integration can be especially relevant to inquiry-based learning because the investigation concerns real-world problems (DeRosa & Abruscato, 2015).
Aldridge J. & Goldman, R. (2007). Current issues and trends in education, (2nd). New York, New York: Pearson Education, Inc.
DeRosa, D. A., & Abruscato, J. (2015). Teaching children science: A discovery approach, (8th). New York, New York: Pearson Education, Inc.
Stender, A., Schwichow, M., Zimmerman, C., & Härtig, H. (2018). Making inquiry-based science learning visible: The influence of CVS and cognitive skills on content knowledge learning in guided inquiry. International Journal of Science Education, 40(15), 1812- 1831. doi:10.1080/09500693.2018.1504346
van Uum, Martina S. J, Verhoeff, R. P., & Peeters, M. (2017). Inquiry-based science education: Scaffolding pupils’ self- directed learning in open inquiry. International Journal of Science Education, 39(18), 2461-2481. doi:10.1080/09500693.2017.1388940
Zhang, L. (2016). Is inquiry-based science teaching worth the effort?: Some thoughts worth considering.
Science & Education, 25(7), 897-915. doi:10.1007/s11191-016-9856-0