Planning Student Investigations in Science

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Building a Better Investigation: Considerations for Planning Student Inquiry Projects. Presented at the MSTA 2009 Conference by Stephen Best

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  • Planning Student Investigations in Science

    1. 1. Building a Better Investigation: Considerations for Planning Student Inquiry Projects MSTA 56th Annual Conference Detroit, Michigan Stephen Best and Nancy Williams University of Michigan School of Education
    2. 2. Objectives
    3. 3. Objectives • Discuss the range of what we consider “inquiry” and look at how student investigations fit
    4. 4. Objectives • Discuss the range of what we consider “inquiry” and look at how student investigations fit • Try a couple classroom activities that would lead to student-designed investigations
    5. 5. Objectives • Discuss the range of what we consider “inquiry” and look at how student investigations fit • Try a couple classroom activities that would lead to student-designed investigations • Review other considerations for the investigation process which teachers should consider in their planning
    6. 6. What does “inquiry” look like in the classroom?
    7. 7. Defining and Describing Inquiry • Definitions don’t work - there are too many different ones for “inquiry” • Best described using a continuum of practices: More teacher centered More student centered Hands-on Experimenting Student-focused Questioning Collaborative
    8. 8. An Example: Simulation • A technology-based simulation called “Cooties” • Follow the instructions you are given • DON’T tap on “Go” until I tell you to do so. • Simulate using cups & liquid if the technology is not an option
    9. 9. What questions would you like to investigate? • If you could have a “do-over”, what would you do? • What actions are you taking for the investigation? • What do these actions mean in general with respect to the idea of scientific investigation?
    10. 10. Another example: Demonstration to investigation What will affect the velocity or impact of the cart?
    11. 11. What can student’s investigate? • Different questions on the same topic • Different variables that can affect the outcome • Different designs or solutions to a problem • Different approaches to investigate the same phenomena or variable • Replication of results for a previous investigation
    12. 12. Considerations for Investigations • Students’ prior understanding • Type of activity/investigation • Materials/Facilities/Safety • Variables • Data that can be collected • Group and class collaboration • Communication of results
    13. 13. For More Information • Handouts and slides available at: http://mmstlc.net • Slide shows, commentary, podcast, and other resources at: http://catalyst.mmstlc.net • Contact information at the MMSTLC Site listed above

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