Results for Inquiry
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Santau, A.O., Secada, W., Maerten-Rivera, J., Cone, N. & Lee, O. (2010). US Urban elementary teachers’ knowledge and practices in teaching science to English language learners: Results from the first year of a professional development intervention. International Journal of Science Education, 32(15), 2007–2032.

Teachers of English language learners face the dual challenge of helping students to learn the academic content of science and to acquire English language proficiency. Elementary teachers, meanwhile, face the additional challenge of responding to new teaching requirements outlined within reform initiatives with an often limited understanding of science and its practices. The study reported in this paper sought to examine these issues (and also a comparison of teacher’s knowledge and practice between grade levels) as part of the analysis of a long-term professional development initiative for urban elementary schools. The professional development (PD) sought to enhance teacher knowledge of science content, teaching practices, inquiry processes, and teaching practices in science to support English language development.


Wadman, M., deProphetis Driscoll, W. & Kurzawa, E. (2009). Creating communicative scientists. A collaboration between a science center, college, and science industry. Journal of Museum Education, 34(4), 41–54.

In this paper, the authors describe the process and results of an innovative three-partner project that involved students, scientists, and ISE educators in developing resources for a young audience.


Kind, P. M., Kind, V., Hofstein, A., & Wilson, J. (2011). Peer argumentation in the school science laboratory – Exploring effects of task features. International Journal of Science Education, 33(18), 2527–2558.

Helping learners to engage with argumentation is one key part of science education. Lab work is another. Combining the two, therefore, would seem sensible. This study examined the effect of three different lab-based tasks on the quality of any subsequent argumentation. It found that tasks providing explicit instructions to interrogate data and justify claims were the most productive.


Atwood, S., Turnbull, W., & Carpendale, J.I.M. (2010). The construction of knowledge in classroom talk. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 19(3), 358–402.

In this study, researchers investigated the nature of three different modes of classroom talk—cumulative, exploratory, and disputational—to determine how these modes supported engagement and participation of college-aged students in psychology courses. The article is relevant to ISE educators in that conversation and verbal meaning-making often characterize programs such as science summer camps, afterschool programs, etc. The paper points out how such talk can be made more productive by making it more exploratory in nature.


Howes, E. V., Lim, M., & Campos, J. (2009). Journeys into inquiry-based elementary science: Literacy practices, questioning, and empirical study. Science Education, 93(2), 189–217.

Combining science and literacy is becoming a common teaching strategy, which builds on the importance of professional scientists’ use of reading, writing, and speaking in their work. This paper consists of descriptions of efforts of three elementary teachers to teach literacy through science. The authors’ purpose was to theorize how and why to integrate literacy practices with scientific inquiry, to provide examples for educators, and to provide considerations for implementation, all of which may also be useful for informal educators.


Mulder, Y. G., Lazonder, A. W., & de Jong, T. (2010). Finding out how they find it out: An empirical analysis of inquiry learners’ need for support. International Journal of Science Education, 32(15), 2033–2053.

A study contrasting scientific reasoning skills of students with limited knowledge of the domain against more expert groups found little difference in nature of hypothesising and experimentation, but their lack of domain knowledge hindered non-experts' abilities to develop and test models. Findings highlight the need for support to understand models and organize knowledge.


Sadeh, I. & Zion, M. (2009). The development of dynamic inquiry performances within an open inquiry setting: A comparison to guided inquiry setting. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46, 1137–1160.

In this study, researchers compared two different forms of inquiry, guided and open. The authors found that open inquiry was more effective than guided inquiry in building students' understanding about scientific procedures. For example, students engaged in open inquiry gained insights into the ways that scientists need to adjust their studies as new information or problems arise. The findings of this research will be of interest to ISE educators who are integrating inquiry-based instruction into their programs.


Hudicourt-Barnes, J. (2003). The use of argumentation in Haitian Creole science classrooms. Harvard Educational Review, 73(1), 73–93.

This article uses critical ethnography and analysis of student talk to refute claims that Haitian children are less than fully engaged in science classrooms. Josiane Hudicourt-Barnes provides examples from a bilingual science classroom to explain cultural differences in language and in students’ understanding of scientific argumentation. Hudicourt-Barnes posits that the Creole talk style of bay odyans is naturally scientific because it uses logic in argumentation. Ultimately, Hudicourt-Barnes proposes, cultural ways of thinking and speaking are good bases for science talk, particularly for argumentation.


Kallery, M., Psillos, D., & Tselfes, V. (2009). Typical didactical activities in the Greek early-years science classroom: Do they promote science learning? International Journal of Science Education, 31(9), 1187—1204

In this paper the analysis of science lessons in early-years classrooms shows that the lessons did not promote scientific investigation or make connections between the ideas involved and the material world. Teacher directed scientific activities observed had limited value in terms of scientific inquiry and consequently did not foster the development of ideas or support the formation of hypotheses. The paper raises questions about how to best promote scientific practices, including through continuing professional development.


Palmer, David H. (2010). Student interest generated during an inquiry skills lesson. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(2), 147–165.

A 40-minute inquiry lesson comprising demonstration, proposal, experiment, and report to 224 ninth-grade students organized by the author provided evidence that situational interest can be developed through such activities compared to copying notes from the text and during the lecture. Situational interest, generated by the aspects of a specific situation (e.g., a spectacular demonstration may arouse students’ interest temporarily, even if they are not normally interested in science), is a short-time interest. Although it is a transient occurrence, the author’s previous findings suggest that situational interest, if experienced repeatedly, can have powerful/wide-ranging effects on student motivation. The author identifies sources of situational interest as, for example, learning, choice, novelty, physical activity, social involvement, etc., the strategies that may be especially relevant and accessible in informal learning environments.




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