The Effectiveness of Inquiry-Based Techniques in Place of Explicit Instruction

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The Effectiveness of Inquiry-Based Techniques in Place of Explicit Instruction

What happens when inquiry-based techniques are used in place of explicit instruction when teaching science? A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2012) states that “from its inception, one of the principal goals of science education has been to cultivate students’ scientific habits of mind, develop their capability to engage in scientific inquiry, and teach them to reason in a scientific context” (p. 41). Most states have many standards and units for each grade level that contain both science content areas and inquiry based skills. The challenge for science teachers especially in the elementary levels is to teach all of the content standards using methods that foster inquiry and the develop of our students’ young minds into scientists as well as students who can achieve highly on state created standardized tests seeking to evaluate their scientific understanding of specific concepts.

The plan is to teach the same standards to each class of fifth graders however teaching one with direct instruction and the other through inquiry-based instruction. In order to gather the quantitative data, students will be given the same pre and post assessments and find out which class learns the content most effectively according to their post test data. To provide a qualitative aspect to the research, observations during the inquiry process and the direct instruction process to see if the students are asking inquiry based questions, having discussions, and applying their evidence to draw a conclusion from their investigations. The third aspect of the study is to interview students from the direct instruction class and from the inquiry class to determine t...

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