NC Inquiry

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NC Inquiry Powered By Docstoc
Engaging in the Practices
      of Science
          Page Keeley
        Science Specialist
   Maine Math & Science Alliance
       NSTA Past President
Who’s in the room?
Our Goal and Approach
To build an understanding of
science as inquiry (K-12) as it
applies to the current direction
of science education and the
North Carolina standards.
Tang Yan is a
Chinese teacher
visiting your school
district. She wonders
what your district
means by “inquiry
science”. How would
you describe inquiry
science to Tang
Describing Science as Inquiry
• Students take an active role in science
• Involves content and process.
• Investigating for the purpose of
  constructing understanding of natural
  phenomena, processes, and events.
• Gives priority to evidence and evidence-
  based explanations
• Mirrors science as practiced by scientists
Science as inquiry is key to organizing
and guiding students' activities.
Students in all grades and in every
scientific discipline should have the
opportunity ask questions, plan and
conduct investigations, use appropriate
tools and techniques to gather data,
think critically and logically about
relationships between evidence and
explanations, and communicate
arguments. (from the NC standards)
All this begs the
question—do students
have to be involved in a
hands-on investigation
to inquire?
Not really. The key, often forgotten, aspect
of inquiry is that it is an intellectual
endeavor. Too many students have a
knack for being physically but not
intellectually engaged in science. So
hands-on science may help many
students to inquire, but skillful use of print
materials can accomplish the same goal. It
is what the teacher and students do with
the materials—books or lab equipment—
that makes the difference.
                         (Dr. Michael Padilla)
     The National Science
  Education Standards define
inquiry as “the diverse ways in
   which scientists study the
   natural world and propose
   explanations based upon
      (NRC 1996, p. 23).

List some of the ways scientists
study or investigate the natural
world and give an example of
• Remote observations
• Field studies
• Collections
• Systematic observations
• Modeling (physical, mathematical,
  computer simulations)
• Literature studies
• Experiments
Frayer Model for Scientific Experiment

EXAMPLES        Scientific Experiment     NON-EXAMPLES
Scaffolding Experimentation
• Designing Experiments
• Conducting Experiments
The structure and supports that a
teacher or more knowledgeable
helper provides to allow a learner to
perform a task he or she cannot yet
perform independently
    ~Vygotsky, 1978; Dixon-Krauss, 1996;
                          Wertsch, 1991
        Seed Germination
What factors affect seed germination?
 Brainstorming Ideas Related to
       My Initial Question
 Things I could change or vary when I
`germinate my seeds:
  – Type of seeds
  – Amount of water
  – Soil
  – Amount of light
  – Time to sprout
Things I could change

 Amount of     Type of
  water         seeds

Temperature   Type of soil
Things I could measure
      or observe

   Length of       Time it takes to
    sprouts            sprout

Color of sprouts   Number of seeds
 Identifying Variables Related to
        My Initial Question
• I will change the amount of water
• I will observe number of seeds sprouted
• I will not change the type of seed, the
  temperature, type of soil
• I will not measure the length of the
  sprouts, time it takes to sprout, color of the
Formulating a Testable Question
 When I change:
   the amount of water,

What happens to:
 the number of seeds that sprouted?

 Guiding Question: How does the amount
 of water affect the number of seeds that
Hypothesis versus Prediction
• When would students make a hypothesis?
• When would they make a prediction?
• Are there times when they would do neither?
• What is the difference between a hypothesis
  and prediction?
• At what grade level does the word
  “hypothesis” appear in the standards?
   Developing the Procedure
• Materials:
• What I will change (independent or manipulated
• How I will carry out the change:
• Number of samples:
• The data I will collect (dependent or responding
• How I will collect the data:
• How I will record the data:
          Your Classroom
Where could you use this scaffold in your
curriculum to help students design their own

What modifications could you make for your
grade level?

What are you wondering about?
       Things We Can Change
•   Length of pendulum
•   Mass of the bob
•   Release point of the pendulum
•   Shape of the bob
     Things we can measure
• Period of the pendulum (time it takes to
  make one full swing)
• Number of complete swings in a given
  time period (30 sec)
• How long it takes the pendulum to come to
• Number of swings before pendulum
  comes to rest
     3 Experiment Groups

• Length
• Mass of bob
• Angle of release

            Stop at C-E-R !
    Scientific Experiment
What changes would you make to your
Frayer Model after designing and
conducting the pendulum experiment?
 From Inquiry to…

Scientific and Engineering
               Card Sort
        Sort the cards into examples of:

                Scientific Practices
               Engineering Design
Both Scientific Practices and Engineering Design
       Engineering Design

What is engineering design and how is
 it similar to and different from the
         practices of science?
The goals and objectives for technological
design call for students to accumulate the
skills necessary to:
• Identify and state a problem, need, or
• Design a solution including cost and
  risk/benefit analysis
• Implement and evaluate the solution
• Accurately record and communicate
       Technology as Design
Technology as design is analogous to
science as inquiry. All students should
engage in problem-solving by designing,
building, and testing solutions to real-world
problems. By applying critical thinking skills
and knowledge of materials, learners can
compare and assess technological devices
for costs, benefits, applications, practicality,
environmental impact, safety, and
 Science and Engineering Practices
• Asking questions, Defining a problem
• Developing and using models
• Planning and carrying out investigations
• Analyzing and interpreting data
• Using mathematics, information and computer
  technology, and computational thinking
• Constructing explanations, Designing solutions
• Engaging in argument from evidence
• Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating
Everyday Science Mysteries
The Crooked Swing
    Engineering Design Process
•   Identify the problem
•   Use scientific knowledge to define the problem
•   Brainstorm possible solutions
•   Identify constraints
•   Select best possible solution
•   Construct a model
•   Test and evaluate model
•   Refine the design
•   Communicate solution
 Science and Engineering Practices
• Asking questions, Defining a problem
• Developing and using models
• Planning and carrying out investigations
• Analyzing and interpreting data
• Using mathematics, information and computer
  technology, and computational thinking
• Constructing explanations, Designing solutions
• Engaging in argument from evidence
• Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating
Claim- Statement that answers the

Evidence- Scientific data that support the

Reasoning- Justification that connects the
evidence to the claim, using a scientific
principle when appropriate, or showing how
other data do not support the claim.
Predict (commit to an outcome)
Explain (explain your thinking)
Observe (test your prediction and observe

If observations don’t match the prediction:
Construct new explanation
  Cookie Crumbles- Before
I think the whole cookie weighs
more than all of the cookie crumbs.
The broken cookie has smaller
pieces that are lighter. Because the
cookie is in tiny pieces, it loses
some of its weight when the pieces
are smaller.
 Cookie Crumbs- After P-E-O
The whole cookie and all its crumbs
weigh the same. Our data showed the
whole cookie on the napkin weighed 48
grams. We weighed all the crumbs and
pieces and they were also 48 grams.
All we did was break the cookie in
pieces. There is still the same amount
of cookie. It’s just that there are a lot of
smaller pieces.
  Ice Cubes in a Bag- Before
I think the mass of the water in the
bag will be more than the mass of
the ice in the bag. Ice cubes float in
water. Because they float they are
lighter than water so the mass is
 Ice Cubes in a Bag- After
The mass will stay the same. The mass
of the ice in the bag was 244 grams.
The mass after the ice melted was also
244 grams. The matter changed state
but no new matter was added to the
bag or taken away. The number of
molecules in both bags stayed the
    Pendulum Explanation
Use the C-E-R Framework to write
a scientific explanation about what
affects the swing of a pendulum.

Developing and Using Models
Science often involves the
construction and use of a wide
variety of models and simulations
to help develop explanations about
natural phenomena.
       Framework for K-12 Science Education
 Look Back and Reflection

I used to think _________ but now I know

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