The effect of inquiry in a high school chemistry classroom on student understanding of the nature of science and their attitude, confidence, and motivation
Disney, Alexandra B.
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Part of a science education is developing an understanding of the Nature of Science (NOS), the way in which scientific knowledge develops. The twenty-first century science classroom involves student engagement in inquiry learning, in which students investigate natural phenomena through practices utilized by scientists and engineers. This study investigated whether explicit instruction on the NOS and engagement in scientific inquiry investigations impacted student understanding of the way in which scientific knowledge develops. The study also investigated the effect on students' attitudes, confidence, and motivation with regards to scientific methodology. Through multiple formative assessments with constructive feedback, students most improved their confidence in and ability to design testable scientific research questions and corresponding investigative plans. The results indicated that students struggled applying their investigative research process to scientific methodology as a whole. This action research showed the importance of completing inquiry investigations in their entirety, in order for students to best learn the NOS.