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Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.
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Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S.

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by Bruce Fuchs

by Bruce Fuchs

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  • 1. Teaching Science As Inquiry: Successes and Challenges in the U.S. Bruce A. Fuchs, Ph.D., Director Office of Science Education National Institutes of Health , DHHS [email_address] http://science.education.nih.gov
  • 2. Inquiry in Science
    • Inquiry refers to the way scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on evidence
    • Scientists ask questions about the world
      • What causes earthquakes?
      • Is the climate changing?
      • What causes human illness?
    • Inquiry in different fields of science is similar
      • Rigorous reasoning
      • Considers evidence (observations, lab experiments, etc.)
      • Hypothesis testing
      • Build models and/or theories that are predictive and subject to further testing
    • Inquiry is central to the nature of science
  • 3. Inquiry in Science Education
    • Inquiry refers to a way of teaching science that incorporates aspects of the scientist’s approach
    • Inquiry can be used to teach science content
    • Inquiry is also a skill students should master
    • Inquiry is not…
      • Best learned simply by reading about it
      • A procedure that can be memorized (e.g., “the scientific method”)
  • 4. Inquiry in Other Occupations
    • Inquiry is used in other careers–not just science
      • Physician diagnosing illness in a patient
      • Assembly line worker investigating production line errors
      • Office worker using database to solve customer’s problem
    • Businesses report that employees with problem solving and critical thinking skills are in short supply
    • These skills are rewarded in the U.S. economy
  • 5. Teaching the New Basic Skills
    • Richard J. Murnane and Frank Levy
    • Skills need for a Middle Class Job
      • Read at a 9th grade level
      • Math at a 9th grade level
      • Solve problems where hypotheses required
      • Ability to work in groups with diverse people
      • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
      • Ability to use personal computers for basic tasks
    • 50% (or more) of students will not get these skills
  • 6. New Division of Labor
    • Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane
    • Four types of workplace tasks
      • Routine cognitive (filing, bookkeeping)
      • Routine physical (assembly line)
      • Expert Thinking (solving new problems)
      • Complex Communication (eliciting, conveying, interpreting info)
    • What jobs will be computerized?
    • What jobs will be offshored?
  • 7. New Division of Labor
  • 8. Features of Classroom Inquiry
    • Students engage in scientific questions
    • Students give priority to evidence
    • Students form explanations from evidence
    • Student connects explanation to scientific knowledge
    • Students evaluate their explanations in the light of alternatives
    • Students can communicate and justify proposed explanations
  • 9. NIH Curriculum Supplements Series
    • Targets grades K-12
    • 16 teaching units developed to date
    • Developed in collaboration with NIH scientists
    • Created with outside curriculum development experts (e.g., BSCS)
    • Interactive teaching units that combine cutting-edge science from the NIH with innovative pedagogy.
    • Over 315,000 supplements requested by educators in more than 16,700 zip codes http://science.education.nih.gov
  • 10. Doing Science: The Process of Scientific Inquiry
    • Inquiry in the “foreground” of lesson
    • Discuss how scientists work
      • Evidence
      • Teamwork
      • Sharing data and explanations
      • Working with questions
        • Scientific
        • Testable
    • Solve a community health problem
  • 11. Challenges to Inquiry
    • Preparing teachers
      • Inquiry intimidating if teacher is unsure of content
      • Professional development
      • Supportive curricular materials
    • Myths about inquiry
      • All instruction should be inquiry based
      • Students must generate their own questions
      • Good “hands-on” curricular materials = good inquiry
      • Inquiry is independent of subject content matter
  • 12. Assessment: A Major Challenge
    • Most state and national-level assessments do not measure inquiry skills
      • We measure what is cheap and easy
      • We don’t measure some things we value most
    • Assessment should measure both content knowledge and specific inquiry skills
    • Business assesses these skills in prospective employees
    • Schools need effective, inexpensive ways to assess these skills
  • 13. Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
    • http://www.pisa.oecd.org
    • Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
    • Policy oriented-determined by needs of governments
    • “ Literacy”- capacity of 15 year old students to apply knowledge
    • Not limited to curricular competencies- lifelong learning
    • 49 countries- OECD members + others
  • 14. Problem Solving Example
  • 15. PISA 2003 Problem Solving USA
  • 16. National Academy of Sciences’ Research on Workplace Skills
    • #1- Future Skill Demands
      • High skill jobs
      • Low skill jobs
    • #2- Workplace skills through science education
      • Problem solving, critical thinking
      • Working in teams
      • Oral and written communication
    • #3- Assessing workplace skills
  • 17. Office of Science Education National Institutes of Health
    • Bruce A. Fuchs, Ph.D., Director Office of Science Education
    • National Institutes of Health, DHHS
    • bruce.fuchs@nih.gov
    • http://science.education.nih.gov

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