A study on shifting science curriculum toward inquiry based practices

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Date

2021

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science

Abstract

The goal of this study was to develop an effective method by which to transform cookbook style labs to include varying levels of inquiry. The study focused on the transformation process as well as on the personal impact of modifying curriculum. A peer-reviewed Inquiry Analysis checklist served as a template for incorporating core aspects of Science and Engineering Practices. Afterwards, three teachers used the checklist for each modified lab to determine the level of inquiry. Students were surveyed to determine their perceptions of learning through inquiry. The results showed that the checklist is an evidence-based aid for teachers to use when seeking to analyze an activity and is a useful guide to increase levels of inquiry. It is applicable to any topic and the process of modification is easily repeatable. Student preferences were mixed, showing most prefer some structure and guidance in labs (guided inquiry), while only a small number prefer cookbook style activities. All surveyed students prefer a science class with hands-on activities.

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