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This articles lays out a plan to develop inquiry skills in a third-grade classroom over the course of the school year.
Teachers are always trying to find ways to develop students’ skills in the science curriculum. In the article Inquiry Takes Time by Juliet Baxter, Angie Ruzicka, and Sharon Blackwell from the September 2011 Science and Children Journal, depicts the use of three different levels of inquiry that were used to develop students’ observational skills, understanding of the nature of science and inquiry processes over one year. In the article the authors discuss starting the school year off by having students only participate in structured inquiry where students are searching for an answer to a question already given to them by the teacher. Once students have proven they can accomplish answering prescribed questions they then move on to guided inquiry. During the guided inquiry stage students investigate questions using a method they have designed. According to the authors this stage helps students thinking light bulbs turn on. The last stage the students were involved in was the open inquiry stage where they had to create questions based on their ideas of what might happen to the seeds they planted foam cups with soil. The authors believe having students go through these three stages of inquiry correlates with state standards and helps them better their science skills. I believe that these stages do in fact help students’ growth development in science. By using this scaffolding technique to help students in the beginning of the year pose scientific questions and then throughout the year let the students complete the task individually helps the students science skills grow. I would recommend this article to all future elementary schools teachers that are looking for ways to help their students become more developed in posing scientific questions independently.
Leslie Pierce (Jacksboro, TX)
This article describes how a third grade classroom gradually built up their inquiry knowledge. The teachers carefully started with simple inquiry experiments at the beginning of the school year and progressed through several stages of inquiry throughout the school year until students were engaging in open inquiry at the end of the year. Several of their experiments are described in the article. This article gives a clear picture of the various stages of inquiry and would be useful to new teachers.
Betty (Kansas City, MO)
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