Guided inquiry using the 5E instructional model with high school physics
My project focused on the effectiveness of guided inquiry strategies to help students learn physics. Physics is a subject which lends itself to inquiry teaching, where students discover the answers to scientific questions rather than being told the answer. The study involved twelve high school physics students. Student interviews, surveys, and conceptual assessments were used to gauge the effectiveness of this teaching strategy. I collected data and compared two treatment units (inquiry) to a nontreatment unit (traditional). Results were expressed as a percent change in student learning. I also investigated the effect of inquiry teaching on my feelings about teaching, student motivation, and student engagement. The results of my project indicate that students learn effectively through both inquiry and through traditional teaching. Student understanding results did not differ dramatically between comparison units. However, inquiry may be more engaging for students than traditional lecture style teaching. Some students experienced a decrease in motivation while others students experienced an increase in motivation, possibly indicating the existence of multiple intelligences and different learning styles or a lack of experience with the rigors of inquiry. My enjoyment of teaching increased when I taught through guided inquiry. I enjoyed seeing the students discover on their own what I was trying to teach them. I also believe that the inquiry style will better prepare students for standardized tests which emphasize process skills versus content knowledge.