The Inquiry Flameby: Richard Pardo and Jennifer Parker

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

In the lesson presented in this article, students learn to organize their thinking and design their own inquiry experiments through careful observation of an object, situation, or event. They then conduct these experiments and report their findings in a lab report, poster, trifold board, slide, or video that follows the typical format of the scientific community studying the natural world. This article presents a scaffolded approach to inquiry and illustrates its use in the classroom.

  • High
Publication Date

Community ActivitySaved in 71 Libraries

Reviews (3)
  • on Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:29 PM

This article provides a great way for a teacher to show a student how they bring preconceptions to a situation, and gives them the chance to figure out on their own what's going on. Furthermore, there is a fantastic emphasis on observation in this activity. Students frequently tune out a demonstration or its explanation because "they know what is going on." Except they don't. Ultimately, this looks like an activity that is really going to force kids to think, which is the biggest challenge I feel I face.

Eric Carlson  (Royal City, WA)
Eric Carlson (Royal City, WA)

  • on Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:26 AM

I really liked this article. The authors use a discrepant event--the “classic” demonstration of the candle (flame) and jar--and transform it into a springboard for a class inquiry activity. What I especially like about this article is that throughout the authors’ detailed step-by-step explanation of how they created this inquiry activity in their class room, they have written specific scenarios of what was actually happening in the classroom. Having these scenarios interspersed gives the reader more information of actually doing this same activity in his or her own classroom. I also liked how the authors used various graphic organizers (sunburst, brainstorming and fishbone) to facilitate and organize the students’ thinking.

Kathy Sparrow  (Delray Beach, FL)
Kathy Sparrow (Delray Beach, FL)

  • on Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:11 PM

The demonstration of the candle in the jar is not a new one but one that students have trouble with and one in which students demonstrate misconceptions when explaining it. This article takes that demonstration and scaffolds it by putting it into smaller steps to better help students understand what is actually going on. The steps include careful observations, determining variables and more. This is an interesting approach to a discrepant event.

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

Free - NSTA Members

$0.99 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.