Modeling in the classroom : using inquiry to increase understanding and motivation
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Students that participated in this capstone research constructed their own questions from an assigned theme and then created a procedure to collect data. They then established a claim and constructed a conceptual model to explain the scientific concepts in their science inquiry project. The goal of this project was to create an academic atmosphere that promoted creativity and critical thinking and enabled the students to solve real-world problems. This capstone measured student motivation to complete inquiry projects in the classroom. I wanted to find out if students were motivated to complete class work to please adults or for their own intrinsic reasons. I hoped students wanted to complete work for their own intrinsic reasons. By the use of their own creativity and imagination would solve problems and tasks at hand, they would internalize concepts and gain a deeper understanding of the material. If students completed because they wanted to solve their own questions and not because an adult instructed them to do so, they retain information instead of going through the motions of filling out a worksheet and turning it in for a grade. The use of formative and performance assessment measured their academic growth and Likert surveys explored their comfort level with the use of inquiry in the classroom as they constructed questions, gathered data, and made claims. Three key factors helped me transition the class from worksheet and lecture driven instruction to the use of inquiry. This was the use of formative assessment, classroom structure, and the implementation of peer-review.