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Readings on Teaching Science and Inquiry|Science Posse Resources

Just like a carpenter has many tools in his tool belt – and would not think of using a screwdriver for a job more appropriate for a hammer – inquiry is just one of many tools that a teacher has – a powerful and useful tool to be sure, but not the only tool and not the tool that must always be used.

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Readings about Inquiry

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Has Inquiry Made a Difference? A synthesis of Research on the Impact of Inquiry Science on Student Outcomes (downloadable)
This synthesis of research undertaken since 1984 examines the impact of inquiry in science instruction on student outcomes to increase understanding of inquiry's impact and help explain the reasons for its effects.

Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning (2000; full text available on-line)
This book provides a practical guide to teaching inquiry and teaching through inquiry, as recommended by the National Science Education Standards, by explaining and illustrating how inquiry helps students learn science content, master how to do science, and understand the nature of science. 

The book explores the dimensions of teaching and learning science as inquiry for K-12 students across a range of science topics. Detailed examples help clarify when teachers should use the inquiry-based approach and how much structure, guidance, and coaching they should provide.

 The book dispels myths that may have discouraged educators from the inquiry-based approach and illuminates the subtle interplay between concepts, processes, and science as it is experienced in the classroom through classroom vignettes exploring different kinds of inquiries for elementary, middle, and high school. The book discusses why assessment is important, looks at existing schemes and formats, and addresses how to involve students in assessing their own learning achievements. In addition, this book discusses administrative assistance, communication with parents, appropriate teacher evaluation, and other avenues to promoting and supporting this new teaching paradigm.

How Students Learn: Science in the Classroom (2005; full text available on-line)
This book presents a summary f the most widely accepted research on learning. Results of these studies can be interpreted as supporting the methods employed in inquiry teaching and learning.

Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8 (2007; full text available on-line)
This report synthesizes what is known about how students in K-8 learn science by examining research from cognitive and developmental psychology, science education, and the history and philosophy of science. Chapter 9 contains references supporting the finding that , "Students learn science by actively engaging in the practices of science, including conducting investigations."

Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms (2007; full text available on-line)
This companion volume to Taking Science to School is filled with classroom case studies that bring to life those research findings and help readers replicate success

Doing Science: The Process of Scientific Inquiry (link to on-line version)
This curriculum module—developed with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)—is a creative, inquiry-based instruction program designed to promote active learning and stimulate student interest in medical topics. The programs goals for students are to experience the process of scientific inquiry, to appreciate the role of science in society and the relationship between basic science and human health, and to develop an enhanced understanding of the nature and methods of science These are all elements of scientific literacy. The website has a complete set of materials for both teachers and students, including printed materials, extensive background and resource information, and a Web site with interactive activities. The guide is also available as a PDF file.

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Next Generation Science Standards for Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Workforce:  Through a collaborative, state-led process managed by Achieve, new K–12 science standards are being developed that will be rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education. The NGSS will be based on the Framework for K–12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council. (Full text available on-line.)

Supporting Documents:

Successful K–12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,  a report issued by the National Research Council, recommends ways to improve K–12 STEM education and calls on policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels to raise science education to the same level of importance as math and reading. (Full text available on-line.)

A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, the National Research Council 's much-anticipated report,  presents a new framework for K–12 science education and identifies the key concepts and practices that all students should learn. A Framework for K–12 Science Education offers a new vision for K–12 education in science and engineering, and represents a significant shift in how these subjects are viewed and taught. (Full text available on-line.)

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