Science as Inquiry
As a result of activities in grades K-12, all students
1. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
* Ask a question about objects, organisms, and events in the environment.
* Plan and conduct a simple investigation.
* Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the
* Use data to construct a reasonable explanation.
* Communicate investigations and explanations.
* Identify questions that can be answered
through scientific investigations.
* Design and conduct a scientific investigation.
* Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and
* Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models.
* Think critically and logically to make the relationships between
evidence and explanations.
* Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions.
* Communicate scientific procedures and explanations.
* Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
* Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific
* Design and conduct scientific investigations.
* Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and
* Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using
logic and evidence.
* Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models.
* Communicate and defend a scientific argument.
2. Understanding about scientific inquiry
Capture the gas. Build
a roller coaster. Experiment with gooey recipes. Inquiring minds
can learn about science through a variety of hands-on and minds-on
techniques. Structured inquiry relies on an outline of procedures
with activities designed for discovering relationships and making
generalizations about the data. Guided inquiry allows students
to develop procedures and methods for examining concepts about
a specific problem. Open inquiry challenges students to create
and solve science principles, interpret data, and draw conclusions.
Resources on the Web can supplement the inquiry lessons in your
classroom. Explore these sites for ideas and activities.
Amusement Park Physics
Go to Amusement Park Physics and design a roller coaster while simultaneously
learning about science principles involved in creating a thrilling
yet safe ride. Select the height of the first hill, the shape of
the hill, the exit path, the height of the second hill, and if you
should include a loop. After making your selections, test your coaster
for safety and fun.
Memory at Exploratorium
Test your memory by trying to remember the droodles named with made
up words. On a virtual white board, draw what your remember. Then
compare your drawings with the originals. This activity is only one
segment of a larger exhibit on memory. How does a sheep's brain compare
to a human brain? What is your earliest memory? Listen to recordings
of those who tell stories about their earliest memories. Look at
paintings an artist has drawn from memory and compare them to the
photograph of the scene. Have your students ponder the secrets of
memory at this engaging site.
Move your mouse over the pictures to walk through the base of Mars.
See how technology can create a base station that allows us to explore
this neighboring planet. Take a tour of the base, including the bunks,
galley, and wardroom, to see how scientists and astronauts would
live on Mars. Visit the greenhouse and ride the robot rover. Review
the mission overview and learn facts about Mars. Would you like to
become part of the mission?
Funderstanding Roller Coaster
Design a roller coaster using the simulator. Decide on the size
for the two hills and determine the speed, mass, gravity, and friction
required to construct a roller coaster that is safe. The simulator
shows the results and allows for immediate revisions. Pop-up windows
describe science concepts such as acceleration, centripetal force,
energy, g-force, inertia, momentum, velocity, weight, work, and weightlessness,
as well as information about Sir Isaac Newton. Students can see how
these concepts apply to roller coaster construction. This is an award-winning
Collect clues from the kitchen to better understand acids and bases.
Then, test various liquids with cabbage juice to determine whether
or not that liquid is an acid or a base. Add baking soda to launch
rockets. Younger students will enjoy the discovery process as they
explore the nooks and crannies of the kitchen.
Science 4 Kids
This USDA government site is a series of stories for students ages
8-13. Learn how satellites determine where cows Moo-ve (roam) and
why that is important, how food might be grown in space, why we study
frozen carbon dioxide, and what exactly a SEM photo is. Explore the
concept of GPS (Global Positioning Software) by answering these questions:
Can you really lose a beehive? Would GPS help find it? How potent
is vinegar? Read all about organic farming and why you might want
to keep vinegar on hand. Create a photo box of a mite, learn about
lichens, and taste some insect delicacies. This is just a sampling
of the myriad of information on Science 4 Kids.
Science Glop Gloop
This site includes recipes for physics-defying goop that students
can safely produce. Create flubber, glarch, and slime. Then, let
the learning begin with a slime Olympics. Students will be intrigued
with the names and properties of these interesting glops of gloop.
Science Vocabulary Hangman
Select a letter and name the word before Atom Man decays. Although
there is a wealth of science terms included on this site, teachers
can add their own vocabulary words. The clues are scientific in nature
and help to reinforce knowledge. This site is for all ages.
Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum
Students learn about the electromagnetic spectrum
and remote sensing. The site uses photos, sketches and imagery to
illustrate echolocation and electromagnetic waves.
Web Weather for Kids
Want to become a weather forecaster? Enter the contest and predict
the weather for a day. Among the activities at this site are making
fog in a jar, creating a portable cloud, observing conduction, producing
convection currents, and simulating a tornado. Learn the ingredients
for weather. Play storm safety, cloud concentration, and cloud matching.
Finally, read severe storm stories from around the world.
Science Processes of Inquiry
Once you have introduced your students to inquiry-based learning,
you will want them to understand the processes of science inquiry.
Create a packet of cards with the process on the front and the description
or definition on the back. As students work through the various inquiry
activities, they will be able to identify what science processes
Science Process Skills
An Inquiry Primer
Inquiry Introduction Activity: Cat's Meow
In this experiment, students will hypothesize about the behavior of milk that has household detergent and food coloring added to it.
Cat's Meow Procedure Student Handout
Cat's Meow Results Student Handout
Capture the Gas
In this experiment, students learn that when combining two substances a reaction can ocurr that forms a new chemical or substance.
Capture the Gas Lesson
Professional Development Movie