Resource Image The Early Years: Investigable Questions

by: Peggy Ashbrook
$0.00 - Member Price  
$0.99 - Nonmember Price


Type of Resource: Journal Article
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 4 reviews
Publication Title: Science and Children
Publication Date: 12/1/2010
Grade Level: Elementary School


Teachers may not need to teach children to ask questions, just develop that safe place where questions can be voiced, observe children to see the questions in their actions, and develop a culture that appreciates and records questions. An investigable question is rare in the preschool years but with questions so readily voiced, this is the time to begin making children aware of what they can and cannot answer through investigation. The objective of this month’s lesson is to introduce the idea of investigating a question and to investigate how much water is best for mung bean sprout growth through a fair test.

Ideas For Use


Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Analyzing data
Asking questions
Collecting data
Interpreting data
Scientific habits of mind
Intended User Role:Curriculum Supervisor, Elementary-Level Educator, Teacher
Educational Issues:Assessment of students, Classroom management, Curriculum, Educational research, Inquiry learning, Instructional materials, Professional development, Teacher preparation, Teaching strategies


Resource Format:
Size: KB
Installation Remarks:

National Standards Correlation

This resource has 15 correlations with the National Standards.  

This resource has 15 correlations with the National Standards.  

  • Life Science
    • Diversity and adaptations of organisms
      • Millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms are alive today. (5-8)
  • Science as Inquiry
    • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • Ask a question about objects, organisms, and events in the environment. (K-4)
      • Use data to construct a reasonable explanation.
      • Communicate investigations and explanations.
      • Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.
      • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
      • Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.
    • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).
      • Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge). Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations. (K-4)
  • Process Standards for Professional Development
    • Design
      • Introduce teachers to scientific literature, media, and technological resources that expand their science knowledge and their ability to access further knowledge. (NSES)
  • Teaching Standards
    • Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students.
      • Select science content and adapt and design curricula to meet the interests, knowledge, understanding, abilities, and experiences of students.
      • Select teaching and assessment strategies that support the development of student understanding and nurture a community of science learners.
    • Teachers of science guide and facilitate learning. In doing this, teachers
      • Encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry, as well as the curiosity, openness to new ideas and data, and skepticism that characterize science.
      • Orchestrate discourse among students about scientific ideas.
    • Teachers provide students with the time, space, and resources needed to learn science.
      • Create a setting for student work that is flexible and supportive of science inquiry.

User Reviews

What is a Fair Test?
  Adah (San Antonio, TX) on August 25, 2011
  This activity uses mung beans to perform a fair test inquiry based activity. Students are introduced to testable questions. They also learn what makes an experiment fair. Allowing students to ask questions and perform safe experiments based on these questions is an important start to understand what a fair test is. Teacher support is provided in the descriptive article.

Easily Implemented in the ECE classroom
  Kate (Louisville, CO) on May 2, 2011
  This article discusses the challenges of getting ECE students to ask investigable questions and suggests some strategies to start getting students to rephrase (with teacher support) questions to become investigable. There is a supporting activity where students control for one variable while investigating the growth of a plant.

  Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO) on June 17, 2013
  This article gives a quick overview of what a testable question is and how to rephrase a question that is not testable. The article gives some starting ideas about investigable questions, but does not go into a lot of depth. The accompanying standard lesson is about growing beans in various conditions, but does not really talk about questioning.

Investigatable Questions
  Sue Garcia on July 21, 2011
  Children often ask questions to answer their own curiosity, however their questions are not always in a "testable" format. This article discusses the need for a teacher to guide their students in developing testable questions. It also offers one activity on the growth of mung beans seeds (or other quickly growing seed) in which to practice their questions and recording skills. This is a short article but it has some valuable content and the activity is both inexpensive and easy to implement in any classroom.