Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Learning Science Through Inquiry

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Teacher-TalkInquiry

Teacher-TalkInquiry is the email discussion list for Learning Science Through Inquiry. Participants in the workshops, content guides, and Channel staff will participate in this discussion list throughout the broadcast of the workshop series.

Use this space as an area to share information and pose questions about the workshop series, get to know your colleagues, as well as ask questions about technical and access issues.

To sign up for this list, please enter your email address on the list information page or send an email to teacher-talkinquiry-request@learner.org with the subject line, "subscribe." You will receive a confirmation email shortly after submitting your address.

To post a question or reply, you can send an email to teacher-talkinquiry@learner.org.


From: Jennifer Cronin (jcronin@cheneysd.org)
Date: Mon Mar 12 2001 - 14:23:33 EST

  • Next message: Jennifer Cronin: "Re: [Teacher-talkinquiry] management of group discussions"

    Bernie, Thanks for your great examples. I will be viewing the third tape in this series soon and look forward to seeing it.
    Jennifer
    Bernie Terrien wrote:

    > David and Jennifer,
    >
    > I am not sure if I am using this "chat-thing" correctly so please drop me a
    > note to let me know if this worked.
    >
    > In my 9th grade physical science class I have found that "guided inquiry"
    > has helped me to "maintain some control" and or provide "focus." This topic
    > is excellently discussed in session three. I found the best primary source
    > for this type of inquiry is no primary source. I have stopped handing out
    > worksheets or lab sheets completely. I simply ask the kids to get out their
    > notebooks and open it up to a clean sheet of paper. I explain the
    > investigation that we are going to do for the day, I ask them to title their
    > papers, make a hypothesis, and design a data table to collect their data. I
    > then explain the procedure we are going to use to proceed with our
    > investigation, or show the students the equipment and ask them to design
    > their own experiment making sure to pay attention to the control if we need
    > one, list the independent variable, and the dependent variable, and then
    > proceed to collect their data. Some times this is very guided, sometimes
    > slightly guided, and rarely completely unguided. Let me give you some
    > examples.
    >
    > At the beginning of the year when we are discussing measurements and
    > physical properties I do this activity which I call the paper towel lab.
    >
    > I tell the students that our task today is to figure out which brand of
    > paper towel holds the most water or is the most absorbent. We brainstorm
    > different ways that this could be determined: mass difference before and
    > after saturation of one square, squeezing the water out of the paper towel
    > into a graduated cylinder after saturation, measuring the amount of water in
    > the pan before we dip the towel square in it and after the towel has been
    > saturated and removed, etc.. The students groups are then set free to
    > choose their method and perform their experiment. They collect their data,
    > make their conclusions and discuss any difficulties they may have had either
    > during their experiment or in making their conclusion or both. We then
    > discuss significant differences and the validity of their conclusions. This
    > can also lead to spin off investigations involving math such as, which towel
    > brand gives you the best economic value per milliliter or gram of water
    > absorbed.
    >
    > I also do a similar measuring lab involving which brand of bubble gum blows
    > the best bubbles.
    >
    > As we proceed through the year I use a similar format to investigate more
    > formal topics in science. For example, when discussing Charles Gas Law or
    > Thermal Expansion I inform the kids that today we will be investigating the
    > relationship between the volume of a gas and the temperature of a gas. I
    > show them the lab stations have a beaker of boiling water and a bucket full
    > of ice and a small balloon. I inform them that they are to blow the balloon
    > up, and take the diameter of the balloon with a digital calipers. They are
    > then instructed to hang the balloon over the boiling water for 3-5 minutes
    > and quickly measure its diameter again. Immediately they are to throw the
    > balloon into the bucket of ice for 3-5 minutes after which they take a
    > diameter measurement again. They are asked to make a data table, identify
    > the control, independent variable and dependent variable, make a hypothesis,
    > and then proceed with their data collection and conclusion. After the
    > experiment I have a lab report format they follow. After the reports are
    > finished I tell them they have discovered thermal expansion and Charles' Gas
    > Law and we discuss real life applications of this phenomenon.
    >
    > I proceed through the year in this fashion trying to get the kids to first
    > discover phenomenon and relationships i.e. friction labs, Boyles Gas Law
    > labs, etc..
    >
    > I have been dabbling in such inquiry attempts for a few years and it seems
    > to make the kids feel like they are "discovering" things like scientist.
    > It's by no means a perfect example of inquiry and it is a continuous work in
    > progress as I learn more about inquiry and science methods.
    >
    > Depending on the difficulty of the concepts, I use all degrees of
    > "guidedness."
    >
    > David Pruden, I couldn't agree with you more about the difference between
    > "hands on" and "minds on" science activities. I see you have been reading
    > the National Science Education Standards too. I would like to know more
    > about the Research for Better Teaching's Activators and Summarizers.
    >
    > Peace,
    > Bernie Terrien
    > bernie.terrien@gte.net
    > Green Bay Southwest High School
    > Green Bay, WI
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Jennifer Cronin <jcronin@cheneysd.org>
    > To: teacher-talkinquiry@learner.org <teacher-talkinquiry@learner.org>
    > Date: Thursday, March 08, 2001 6:22 AM
    > Subject: Re: [Teacher-talkinquiry] reflection on first session
    >
    > >David, I too was wondering what specifically I could apply to my curriculum
    > as a 7th grade life science teacher. The first video focused on the lower
    > elementary grade levels. What about the older kids? How does inquiry work
    > with students who are old enough to know that they have a choice in whether
    > or not to "buy in" to a class? I can forsee great
    > >participation in the kids who are intrinsically motivated, but what about
    > the other kids who just don't care?
    > >
    > >Jennifer Cronin
    > >7th grade life science
    > >Spokane, WA
    > >
    > >David Pruden wrote:
    > >
    > >> One question I am asking myself after the first session is: Why might
    > >> students misbehave and/or be bored with the hands on science I am
    > providing?
    > >>
    > >> One answer to this may be that the science is hands on, but not as minds
    > on.
    > >> These students are very familiar with having their hands on and
    > >> investigating, but because the investigations are pre-planned and very
    > >> structured maybe the activities are not as intriguing to the students.
    > >> Maybe the students see the investigations as simply activities, and not
    > >> scientific exploration. If students were struggling with their own ideas
    > >> and searching for answers to their own questions maybe I would have more
    > buy
    > >> in in my classroom.
    > >>
    > >> I have been using Research for Better Teaching's Activators and
    > Summarizers
    > >> activities with my students to try and keep them mentally engaged with
    > the
    > >> learning. Having students discuss ideas and summarize in their own words
    > >> will hopefully allow them to own the concepts.
    > >>
    > >> How do I get them asking their own questions? That question is eating at
    > me
    > >> (in a healthy way). And them how do I allow them to investigate those
    > >> questions in the confines of the classroom, materials, timeframe, etc?
    > >>
    > >> What primary sources can I use in my 6th grade classroom for physical
    > >> science topics such as matter, mixtures and solutions and motion?
    > >> The first grade classroom in the first video is a terrific example, but
    > what
    > >> about physical science in 6th grade? What are the primary sources
    > availible
    > >> for my students? newspapers, biographies of scientists, reference books?
    > >>
    > >> just some ideas from my first session...
    > >>
    > >> david pruden
    > >> grade 6
    > >> topsfield, ma
    > >> _________________________________________________________________
    > >> Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com
    > >>
    > >> _______________________________________________
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    > >>
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    > >
    > >
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