In everything that I have read, the role of a student, within the Inquiry based science curriculum, is to be a scientist. They are to develop reasons for their findings by using what they know and learned so far. I think it is important for the students to take responsibility for their own learning. Through this process the students learn different science skills and concepts that can eventually be used to solve problems using logical approaches.

When looking back at assignment 2: the status of science, I realized that my school was not using this method, but rather by having the students read a book and digest the knowledge out of it. It is important for us to empower the students to play a role in their education rather than just sitting there and listening. Through assignment 3, I have been able to realize the importance of inquiry based science and how to use it. I have also realized that I am able to create an atmosphere of learning through the student being the scientist because I have a blank curriculum and am able to mold it to how I want it.

This self-empowerment positively affects students’ perceptions about science. According to the Institute for Inquiry (2005), students doing inquiry-based science:

  • View themselves as scientists in the process of learning
  • Accept an “invitation to learn” and readily engage in the exploration process
  • Plan and carry out investigations
  • Communicate using a variety of methods
  • Propose explanations and solutions and build a store of concepts
  • Raise questions
  • Use observations
  • Critique their science practices
When the students have a chance to be a scientist, it creates a realistic approach to understanding science and the concepts that are related to it. They realize that it is ok to ask questions and try to find answers to their questions. One of the most important parts of this process is that the students learn the challenges and failures of the experiments that are preformed.

Lastly, positive research findings have provided further reasons for implementing inquiry into science classrooms. Mattheis and Nakayama (1988) found that inquiry-based programs at the middle school grades have been found to generally enhance student performance, specifically performance related to science process skills, laboratory skills, graphing skills, and data interpretation. Another study found that inquiry-based science instruction can be effective in promoting scientific literacy and a better understanding of science processes in students from diverse backgrounds (Cuevas, Lee, Hart, & Deaktor, 2005). Ruffin (2003) found increases in science interest and improvements in the science process skills among middle school students doing inquiry-based science in a technology-supported learning environment. Numerous other research studies indicate positive outcomes for inquiry-based science (Krajcik et al., 1998; White & Fredericksen, 1998).

*information is from The Access Center.

 

 
© 2008 Christopher Kotila