The Early Years: Ongoing Inquiryby: Peggy Ashbrook

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An in-depth science inquiry is an ongoing investigation in which children are introduced to materials through hands-on experiences and, with teacher guidance, begin to investigate a question that they can answer through their own actions, observations, and with teacher-assisted research. Qualities that make an experience appropriate to include in early childhood science inquiry are described as being interesting to children, linked to their experiences, and accessible to all children’s direct exploration. As children pose questions and seek answers, teachers can use these qualities to decide whether the question has the potential for ongoing inquiry. In addition, developing the skills to do science inquiry is part of the National Science Education Content Standard A: Science as inquiry.

  • Elementary
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  • on Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:48 PM

Some teachers will design science activities including measurement and require students to document their writing. These kinds of activities seem interesting and professional for students. But it may fail to “promote the deep thinking that leads to understanding of concepts” (Ashbrook, 2011). The results can be improved if teachers decide to use an ongoing inquiry. Teachers do not need to prepare new materials every week to maintain children’s curiosity. The new challenge which adds some new items, such as new topics, can make students engaged in learning science. Furthermore, hands-on experiences help students practice using their knowledge to discover science. Then, a mind-stretching discussion should not be ignored. Students will pose questions and seek answers with the guidance of teachers. To support their investigation, teachers can show interest and ask questions such as “What do you notice about…?” to their ideas. In addition, reading some relevant books can be useful. Therefore, students will be able to deepen their thinking on the relationship between the information from textbooks and their investigation. As teachers, it does not mean that we know everything and we should be glad to learn from our students. Do not “be embarrassed to be a beginner” (Ashbrook, 2011). All that we do is to help students find great ways of learning science and stimulate their further exploration.

Zhengyun Lu
Zhengyun Lu

  • on Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:54 AM

This article has excellent ideas of water play activities for young children. It give lots of idea on how to do this. Inquiry for young students is an essential activity for their developmental growth.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:13 PM

Readers are encouraged to use student interest and provide focused questions that enhance observations and direct students to a problem that they can solve. The author an investigation may take longer than a day to truly provide inquiry learning for small children. The activity described in this article addresses the size of drops of water and can lead to an understanding of different states of matter.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:07 AM

This article for early childhood educators provides suggestions on how to set up an ongoing inquiry investigation in youur classroom. This will eliminate the need for a new science activity center or station every week, but instead let you add a few addtional items and a new focus question to your existing set-up. This will enoourage students to delve more deeply in the concept you are trying to teach.

Kate  (Louisville, CO)
Kate (Louisville, CO)

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