Teaching Science Through Inquiry-Based Instruction
Ms. Ward had her students sit on the carpet one afternoon in the winter. She began by telling her students how much she loves winter and being in the mountains when it is snowing. Ms. Ward then told her students she has always been curious where the snow went when it melted. Ms. Ward looked at her students and asked, where does it go? Students began to answer and think of what happens to snow when it melts. During the discussion, Ms. Ward had the opportunity to review the water cycle and how it works. The text suggests on pg. 104, Contant, Bass, Tweed & Carin (2017) eliciting students’ prior knowledge element of effective science instruction.
As Ms. Ward continued her discussion about snow she pulled out a bucket full of “snow” she had made with a snow cone machine. As her students gazed towards the snow with excitement she asked her students, what should we do with this snow to see what happens when the snow melts. She then asked, “who has some ideas of how we can explore and find out what happens to snow”. Her students began raising their hands. One student suggested putting a scoop of snow on the patch of grass by our classroom. Another student suggested putting a scoop in a cup and placing it where the sun hits the most. Another student suggested putting another scoop in a cup inside the classroom. The students then suggested marking with a line where the snow went up to on the cup. Ms. Ward looked at her students and said you guys all have great ideas. Ms. Ward then suggested that after the snow melted and turned into a liquid we should mark where the liquid level is to see what happens to the water. Ms. Ward then split her students up into groups and gave them cups, a sharpie, and some snow, and told them to take their science journals and pencils with them. “Generally, during the explore phase, students use a variety of observational and experimental investigational procedures to gather data” (Contant, Bass, Tweed &, 2017). As they were deep in exploration she told her students to pull out their science journals and record their discoveries.
Once her students began their investigation Ms. Ward began walking around asking her students can you explain what you are doing and why? What have you found out so far? This allowed Ms. Ward to guide students without giving any hints. Students then were asked to sit in their seats to discuss their findings. The students had an opportunity to reflect on their observations. Ms. Ward took this as an opportunity to “provide an explanation for the students” (Contant, Bass, Tweed &, 2017) if needed.
After a few minutes, Ms. Ward asked her student to sit with their group in their designated area. She then asked her students what did you guys learned about what happens to snow when it melts? At this point, her students opened their science journals and began sharing their discoveries. As indicated in our text on pg. 105, Contant, Bass, Tweed & Carin (2017) learners are presented with new learning tasks and called on to use their developing knowledge to negotiate the new task. Students were able to actively make connections and elaborate on their discoveries.
After a few minutes of discussion, Ms. Ward asked students if they had any predictions of what might happen to the snow in a couple of days. She then asked them to write down their predictions in their journal. This will allow students to evaluate and assess their findings by recalling their discoveries.
Contant, T., Bass, J., Tweed, A., & Carin, A. (2017). Teaching Science Through Inquiry-Based Instruction(13th ed.). Pearson.