Implementation of Inquiry in Science and Mathematics Classrooms



Course Title and Number:              Implementation of Inquiry in Science and Mathematics Classrooms – AEDU 633


Graduate Hours:                               3

Location of Course:                          JET Middle School – Edgefield County

Date and time for course:                Wednesday – Friday, July 17 – 19, 2002,

Monday – Friday, July 22 – 26, 2002, and

Monday – Tuesday, July 29 – 30, 2002 (9:00 AM to 3:30 PM)

Instructors:                                        Alice Gilchrist, Science Specialist, USSM Hub

Pamela D. Wash, Science Specialist CSRA Hub


Course description:

This course will emphasize the nature of inquiry as it relates to content topics in science.  The SC Science Standards will be an integral part of this course.  The teachers will participate in an off-site visit to the National Science Center in Augusta, GA, where they will investigate and discuss various science exhibits and participate in activities that directly relate to inquiry with respect to potential classroom applications.  Each teacher will redesign a science lesson to focus on the inquiry method.  Teachers will also develop and teach an inquiry lesson in their respective classrooms in the fall.  In addition, each teacher will participate in several inquiries during the Institute.

Goals and Objectives:

Teachers will:

v Identify and describe the major components of inquiry

v Prepare and present a demonstration inquiry lesson

v Redesign a science lesson to include higher degrees of inquiry

v Use various formative assessment strategies in the classroom

v Use various summative assessment strategies in the classroom

In-class activities:

A variety of activities will be used in the classroom including active participation in class, demonstrations, cooperative group learning, whole and small group discussions, journal entries, individual presentations, and daily processing of content and assessment strategies.

Out of class assignments:


Respond to articles that support hands-on inquiry science

Develop lessons that demonstrate an understanding of inquiry based science

Develop assessments that reflect SC Science Standards

Write reflections on the implementation of science activities

Attendance:   Participants are expected to attend every class and actively participate.

Class one:  Overview of class and expectations.  Introduction to three kinds of hands-on science and reflection of activity.  Jigsaw from reading in Foundations book.  Breakout groups and discussion of reading.  “Bare Book” journals will be provided with the first entry assignment.

Class two:  Process skills circus.  Discussion and reflection on process skills activities.  Exploring the role of questioning: Ice Balloons activity.  Learning criteria for investigable and uninvestigable questions and “turning” questions. 

Class three: An inquiry experience using concepts related to variables.  Setting the stage using exploration and designing and inquiry investigation.  Discussion to analyze the experience and post activity assessment.

Class four:  Examining various forms of inquiry.  Discussions concerning subtle shifts in science and participating in a continuum.

Class five: Redesigning an activity.  Establishing criteria for evaluating activities and adapting activities. Preliminary parachute activity.  Re-evaluating the criteria and adaptations in-group discussion.  Discussion of article: “How to Make Lab Activities More Open-Ended.”

Class six:  Trip to National Resource Center (Fort Discovery) in Augusta, GA.  Bring lunch $.

Class seven:  Examination of formative and summative assessment strategies and issues.  Developing rubrics/assessments.

Class eight:  Examining  Administration and Inquiry; finalize inquiry lessons for presentations.

Class nine:   Implementation/Presentations will begin.

Class ten:  Conclusion of inquiry lesson presentations, reflection on lessons learned, and development of scope and sequence for “real classroom” implementation for the school year 2002-2003.

(A database of participants will be maintained for on-going communication and follow-up.)

Text materials:                                 Short, K., Schroeder, J., Laird, J., Kauffman, G., Ferguson, M., Crawford, K. ( 1996).  Learning together through inquiry:  from Columbus to integrated curriculum. Maine: Stenhouse Publishers.

Pearce, Charles R.  (1999).  Nurturing inquiry:  real science for the elementary classroom.  New Hampshire:  Heinemann.

Foundations, Volume 2, A Monograph on Inquiry of NSF SC Science Standards

Inquiry related articles which will include the following professional journals: American Journal of Physics, Phi Delta Kappan, Journal of Staff Development

Additional Readings:                       Articles from professional journals, reference texts, and other resource materials as indicated by the professors which will include:

                                                            “Teaching Science as Inquiry” by Rakow

                                                            “Things Your Teacher Never Told You About Science” by Cole

                                                            “At the Exploratorium: Teaching Art and Science” by Chamberlin

                                                            “How Teaching for Understanding Changes the Rules in the Classroom” by Wiske

                                                            “The Right Test for Hands-On Learning?” by Hein

                                                            “Shifting from Activitymania to Inquiry” by Moscovicie and Nelson

Assessment and Feedback:

Understand the content and pedagogy presented and participation in class and off-site visit. 

Assessment: Reflective journal entries (A.M. and P.M. journal activities) and responses to articles. Maximum Points Awarded:          35 points

Individual preparation and presentation of a demonstration inquiry lesson.

Assessment: Evidence of inquiry, relationship to standards, creativity, enthusiasm, presentation style, and materials used provided.

Maximum Points Awarded:    50 points

Reflective response on classroom implementation, value, and lessons learned from the off-site visit.

Assessment:  Reflective response paper.

Maximum Points Awarded:    15 points

Grading Procedures:            100% - 94% = A

                                                 93%  - 90% = B+

                                                 89%  - 85% = B

                                                 84%  - 82% = C+

                                                 81%  - 78% = C

                                                 77%  - 74% = D+

                                                 73%  - 70% = D

                                                 Below  70% = F