Inquiry Project 1


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Inquiry Project 1

  1. 1. Inquiry Project 1: Finding and Using Internet Information Amy Lester Fall 2007 CEP 806 Michigan State University
  2. 2. The Idea: An Online Search for Examples of Earth’s Surface Features I chose to my inquiry plan based upon discussions within my 3 rd and 4 th grade split classroom. We began a Science unit on recognizing and describing Earth’s surface features. The textbooks provided by the school exclude this topic, even though it is required by our adopted curriculum to be taught at these grade levels. The students and I decided the best way to learn about and “see” the landforms is to search the internet for actual pictures from across the continents. Fortunately, this fit quite nicely into the requirements for Inquiry Project 1.
  3. 3. Predictions and Explanations for Searching the Internet <ul><li>The initial prediction I had dealt with the site every student would visit. The only search engine this particular group of students has been introduced to is I immediately assumed the students would search the images located here and be done with the assignment. If this were to happen, I expected every student to produce the same pictures as examples of the different surface features. </li></ul><ul><li>A second prediction I had about the internet search was the difficulty of the assignment. While I have a split classroom of 3 rd and 4 th grade students, there are a number of students who shy away from new experiences, this being one such thing. They are quick to say “I don’t get it” and throw in the towel. This particular inquiry plan is intending to help these students past this frustration point. It will be able to show those students they are capable and competent in online learning. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Description of Inquiry Plan: An Online Search for Earth Surface Features <ul><li>The students will be introduced to five alternative search engines. They will be written clearly on the board at the beginning of the assignment. This will address my initial prediction of all search results coming from They will be instructed to search from these search engines, not Google. </li></ul><ul><li>The students are being placed into six groups of three students each. They are a mixture of both 3 rd and 4 th grade students, as well as high and low capabilities. This will address the prediction of students “giving up” if they encounter difficulties. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Description of Inquiry Plan : Continued <ul><li>Every group will receive an information sheet. This will ask them to list the search engine they use, number of results from search, sites visited, sites used for information, along with three questions intended for my benefit for their comprehension of the assignment. </li></ul><ul><li>This is to be completed during an extended Science class time. The students will have approximately 75 minutes to search and complete the task. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Interesting Patterns in Data <ul><li>Finding One: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 out of 6 groups used 4 or more search engines to locate pictures of earth surface features. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4 out of 6 groups used only 1 search engine to generate the required pictures. In addition, these 4 groups all used the same search engine, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why Finding One is interesting: </li></ul><ul><li> My initial goal was to gather a response from the inquiry that improved my students’ internet searching abilities. I have successfully introduced my students to at least one new seach engine. While I would prefer more, this is the first step of many. Not one out of the six groups used to complete the assignment. </li></ul>
  7. 7. More Interesting Findings… <ul><li>3 out of 6 groups searched for specific surface features one at a time, while the remaining 3 searched for “earth surface features” . </li></ul><ul><li>2 out of 3 groups searched for specific features using only one search engine. </li></ul><ul><li>This leads me to believe that the students I predicted may become frustrated and “give up” still left a mark. These groups chose to stop at the first new site and complete the task, rather than explore what others have to offer. Meanwhile, 2 groups search a broader term over several search engines. While they change the search engine, they do not change what it is they are searching for. </li></ul>
  8. 8. And so on… <ul><li>3 out of 4 groups using as their exclusive search engine stated having prior experience with this site. </li></ul><ul><li>2 out of 3 groups using solely stated the assignment was “easy”. </li></ul><ul><li>One group stated the assignment “got easier when we got the hang of it!” </li></ul><ul><li>One group complained of technical difficulties. </li></ul><ul><li>All groups worked collaboratively without objection. </li></ul>
  9. 9. One last interesting detail… <ul><li>None of the groups verbalized a complaint about misunderstanding, the level of difficulty with the assignment, or boredom. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Emerging Ideas <ul><li>This assignment was scheduled to take 75 minutes to complete, including instructional time. This could be broken apart over several class periods, focusing on each specific surface feature. </li></ul><ul><li>In order for the students to continue developing a broader sense in internet searching, they need to be continually introduced to a variety of search engines. If they elect to only use one at a time, then I need to direct them to different sites during instructional time. </li></ul>
  11. 11. A Bit of Self Reflection… <ul><li>While the assignment was completed by all six groups, I should stress next time the importance of the search as much as the importance of the results. </li></ul><ul><li>Some group members took the lead role a bit too strongly. I need to pay careful attention the groupings, otherwise the students should be working independently. </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of being an active teacher keeps the students on task. The amount of time I spent behind my desk during this assignment can be considered off-task time for several students. My presence wandering amongst the groups kept students focused on their task at-hand. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Questions Left to Ponder <ul><li>Would the students have gained more from this assignment had they worked independently? </li></ul><ul><li>Should I have extended the time frame allowed for the search? </li></ul><ul><li>Had I worded the assignment differently, would the students have used more search engines to locate pictures? </li></ul><ul><li>Are the websites located through the search engines at an adequate reading level for my students? </li></ul><ul><li>Once the students get to a website, do they understand what they are looking for? </li></ul><ul><li>Can the students recognize a quality website versus one that is not? </li></ul>