Guide Succeeding with Inquiry in Science and Math Classrooms

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  1. Jeff C. Marshall - Google Scholar Citations
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  3. Response: Learning By Doing - Part Two

Projects may be open- or closed-ended. Using project-based learning, students work to achieve a goal: create a set of book reviews; build a set of polyhedra figures. Inquiry-based learning can be broad, such as asking students to investigate what fictional books have in common or what role polyhedra play in the world.

In K schools, however, it is more typically closed ended, having students discover known concepts, for example, conducting experiments to see the conditions under which seedlings will grow. Problem-based learning can include the others.

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Ex: Small particles of plastic are gathering in the ocean currents, creating large garbage patches; design a novel solution to clean up the plastic. Students might engage in inquiry-based experiments to determine how to remove microplastic from saltwater. A project-based component might be to develop a presentation on the garbage patches and the severity of the situation.

Jeff C. Marshall - Google Scholar Citations

Both of these activities involve procedural learning: skills that are attained through following and practicing a procedure. The final problem-based solution requires what I refer to as "novelity" - the ability to respond appropriately and successfully in novel situations, a key indicator of truly understanding content.

Derek Cabrera holds a PhD from Cornell University, is an author of six books and an internationally recognized expert in cognition, systems, and learning, and taught at Cornell University. Norton; Visit him at cabreraresearch. The differences among project-based , problem-based , and inquiry learning are found in their origin point, and the subsequent context s in which one method is chosen over another.


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For example, project-based learning focuses on activating learning through experience, finalizing a product that demonstrates what was learned. Problem-based learning originated in medical schools as a means of developing effective collaboration and isolating the root of a real-world problem to come up with a solution. Inquiry-based learning developed in contrast to student memorization of facts in traditional schools: Teachers act as facilitators by posing a question for exploration rather than as a means to get information to be recalled.

Despite their different historical origins they are all early attempts to solve the same root problem in human learning, a problem that is often lost in educational processes: the need for students to think. We often make the mistake that knowledge and information are synonymous, for example, with grading and high-stakes tests that often assess a student's ability to memorize information , rather than their deep understanding or knowledge. The reason thinking is so critically important is that thinking is what causes information to become knowledge. Each of these early learning theories project-based, problem-based, and inquiry learning are attempts to highlight the importance of constructing or deconstructing ideas through thinking and building knowledge, which is why they are all philosophically constructivist and therefore highly related.

The second dilemma these early learning theories attempted to solve was students' difficulty with ungrounded abstractions concepts or symbols. To remedy this difficulty, our bodies are replete with sensory perception sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, and experience in general that allows us to ground our thinking. So, again, all of these theories are early attempts to create ways of grounding knowledge. My research lab has made progress in developing contemporary theories, based upon these early ones, of better ways to both build and ground knowledge, as well as many other learning techniques such as prior knowledge, metaphor and storytelling, case- and service-based, experiential, NLR, tactile manipulatives, labs, artifacts, field trips, gamification, initiative games, expeditionary learning, and even gap years.

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We have found that they all share a single similar purpose that can go by a lot of names e. We now know that these two concepts--building and grounding--are the essential ingredients of human knowing. Christopher Panna is a social studies teacher and technology integrator at the Walworth Barbour American International School in Israel. Follow him on Twitter signorpanna :. These three approaches have much in common aside from their potential to provide authentic and powerful experiences for students.

How to structure an Inquiry Based Lesson

Rather than using an instructional standard as the goal, students are charged with completing a task or answering a question. The teacher's role becomes that of facilitator and students take greater responsibility for their progress. Inquiry based learning is built around investigating one or more key questions. These can be content-specific or general and enduring. For example, my Ancient History students could tackle a question like: How did the natural environment shape the course of Mesopotamian civilization? Or we could ask something that applies to both the lives of the Mesopotamians and ourselves: What are the pros and cons of living in a highly organized society?

In a problem-based unit, students have to produce a solution to a challenge. Much of the growth occurs as students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to reach a solution.


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  7. In my Economics class, students chose a country and developed a financial plan for its government. To do this they needed to understand the country's economic indicators GDP growth, unemployment rate, etc. The summative assessment involved a presentation in which they explained and defended their policy recommendations. Project-based learning is similar in that students respond to a challenge, but here they must create something concrete rather than produce a hypothetical solution.

    Projects like this have the potential for great rewards as students take ownership of their creation and share it with a wider community. What begins as an assignment for school could transform them into community organizers or Youtube stars.

    Response: Learning By Doing - Part Two

    Heather Wolpert-Gawron is an award-winning middle school teacher. I get asked this question often by nervous teachers with wonderful intentions. And here's how I respond: Don't worry about it. Are you basing your units on the following:. Student choice? Authentic Audiences? Bringing outside expertise into the classroom? Subject Matter Integration? Then most likely, you can make the argument that you are doing any of 'em. Do your units tell a story where students role play engineer, architect, board member, etc Do your units combine oral presentation, writing, creating, technology, and literacy?

    Project-based, Problem-based, Inquiry-based. These all encompass the above elements. Technology Facilitation Certificate Certificate. Graduate Programs. Master of Arts in Teaching Graduate Degree. Master of Education in Reading Graduate Degree. A Message From the Dean. Barbara Marinak, Ph. Student Opportunities and Resources Teacher candidates at the Mount benefit greatly from the opportunity to complete internships in public schools that are consistently ranked the best in the nation. Pi Lambda Theta Pi Lambda Theta is an international education honor association that recognizes scholarship and leadership in the field of education.

    The Center for Catholic School Excellence. Learn more. Recent News Students U. Students St. Upcoming Events March Clemson University. Verified email at g. Articles Cited by. Journal of Science Teacher Education 24 2 , , International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education 7 3 , , School Science and Mathematics 3 , , International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education 8 2 , , Journal of Science Teacher Education 20 6 , , School Science and Mathematics 6 , , Journal of Science Teacher Education 25 7 , , International journal of science and mathematics education 15 5 , , Articles 1—20 Show more.