Using the Van Andel Education Institute's model of scientific inquiry in the fourth-grade classroom
Teaching science through inquiry is a goal of science education. The definition of inquiry is quite varied, and its implementation is hindered by a number of well-documented factors. The literature describes scaffolded inquiry instruction as a successful method for incorporating inquiry in the classroom. In this action research project, one model of an inquiry scaffold called QPOE2 was introduced to a fourth-grade classroom. Through unit assessments, concept mapping, student interviews, student surveys, and teacher observations, data was compiled to measure its effectiveness on student scientific understandings, engagement in scientific argumentation, and motivation for science in the classroom. While unit assessments indicate student scientific understandings did not improve as significantly following treatment with this model of inquiry, concept-mapping data indicate that students did make similar gains in scientific understanding following instruction with the QPOE2 model. Data indicates that following instruction with the QPOE2 model, students' understanding and ability to engage in scientific argumentation and student motivation improved. Implications of this project highlight the powerful motivational effects experienced by students when engaging in science through a scaffolded inquiry approach.