5.1.1.2 Inquiry

Grade: 
5
Subject:
Science
Strand:
Nature of Science & Engineering
Substrand:
The Practice of Science
Standard 5.1.1.2

Scientific inquiry requires identification of assumptions, use of critical and logical thinking, and consideration of alternative explanations.

Benchmark: 5.1.1.2.1 Planning Investigations

Generate a scientific question and plan an appropriate scientific investigation, such as systematic observations, field studies, open-ended exploration or controlled experiments to answer the question.

Benchmark: 5.1.1.2.2 Collecting Relevant Evidence

Identify and collect relevant evidence, make systematic observations and accurate measurements, and identify variables in a scientific investigation.

Benchmark: 5.1.1.2.3 Critiquing an Experiment

Conduct or critique an experiment, noting when the experiment might not be fair because some of the things that might change the outcome are not kept the same, or that the experiment is not repeated enough times to provide valid results.

Overview

Standard in Lay Terms 

MN Standard in lay terms:

Scientific Inquiry is "the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Scientific inquiry also refers to the activities through which students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world."

The National Science Education Standards (NSES p. 23) 

Big Ideas and Essential Understandings 

Big Idea:

By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that:

Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments. 1B/E1*

Because we expect science investigations that are done the same way to produce the same results, when they do not, it is important to try to figure out why. 1B/E2a*

One reason for following directions carefully and for keeping records of one's work is to provide information on what might have caused differences in investigations. 1B/E2b

Scientists' explanations about what happens in the world come partly from what they observe, partly from what they think. 1B/E3a

Sometimes scientists have different explanations for the same set of observations. That usually leads to their making more observations to resolve the differences. 1B/E3bc

Scientists do not pay much attention to claims about how something they know about works unless the claims are backed up with evidence that can be confirmed, along with a logical argument. 1B/E4

Benchmarks for Science Literacy

Copyright © 1993,2009 by American Association for the Advancement of Science

Benchmark Cluster 

MN Standard Benchmarks :

5.1.1.2.1 - Generate a scientific question and plan an appropriate scientific investigation, such as systematic observations, field studies, open-ended exploration or controlled experiments to answer the question.

5.1.1.2.2 - Identify and collect relevant evidence, make systematic observations and accurate measurements, and identify variables in a scientific investigation.

5.1.1.2.3 - Conduct or critique an experiment, noting when the experiment might not be fair because some of the things that might change the outcome are not kept the same, or that the experiment is not repeated enough times to provide valid results.

THE ESSENTIALS:

Inquiry into authentic questions generated from student experiences is the central strategy for teaching science. -National Science Education Standards, p. 31

Correlations 

Science as Inquiry Standards

Content Standards: 5-8

Science as Inquiry

Content Standard A:

As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

Understandings about scientific inquiry

  • AAAS Atlas:

Volume 1, The Nature of Science > Evidence and Reasoning in Inquiry

Benchmarks of Science Literacy

By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that

Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments. 1B/E1*

Because we expect science investigations that are done the same way to produce the same results, when they do not, it is important to try to figure out why. 1B/E2a*

One reason for following directions carefully and for keeping records of one's work is to provide information on what might have caused differences in investigations. 1B/E2b

Scientists' explanations about what happens in the world come partly from what they observe, partly from what they think. 1B/E3a

Sometimes scientists have different explanations for the same set of observations. That usually leads to their making more observations to resolve the differences. 1B/E3bc

Scientists do not pay much attention to claims about how something they know about works unless the claims are backed up with evidence that can be confirmed, along with a logical argument. 1B/E4

Link

Common Core Standards (i.e. connections with Math, Social Studies or Language Arts Standards):

National Science Education Standards searchaNSDL Science Literacy Maps (i.e. The Atlas)

Misconceptions

Student Misconceptions 

Scientific Investigations:

Upper elementary- and middle-school students may not understand experimentation as a method of testing ideas, but rather as a method of trying things out or producing a desired outcome. [1] With adequate instruction, it is possible to have middle school students understand that experimentation is guided by particular ideas and questions and that experiments are tests of ideas. [2] Whether it is possible for younger students to achieve this understanding needs further investigation. [3] (AAAS Atlas Vol. I)

Evidence and Reasoning in Inquiry:

Middle-school students tend to invoke personal experiences as evidence to justify a particular hypothesis. They seem to think of evidence as selected from what is already known or from personal experience or second-hand sources, not as information produced by experiment. [1] Most 6th-graders can judge whether evidence is related to a theory, although they do not always evaluate this evidence correctly. [2] When asked to use evidence to judge a theory, students of all ages may make only theory-based responses with no reference made to the presented evidence. Sometimes this appears to be because the available evidence conflicts with the students' beliefs. [3] (AAAS Atlas Vol. I)

Vignette

Science Class REPRESENTING DATA

Mr. Rohling understood that his students would need to grapple with how best to portray data and to practice doing so as a purposeful activity. Rather than assigning children particular data displays to use in capturing data, he asked them to invent displays. He introduced additional uncertainty into the assignment by asking students to identify typical values. Often the approach to learning about typical values is to teach children different measures of central tendency and to assign children to calculate means, or identify the modal or median values in a data set. Mr. Rohling's interest, however, was to push children to wrestle with the notion of typicality and articulate their understanding through creating and critiquing data displays.

In the process students would be forced to grapple with the value of maintaining regular intervals between data points (thus providing a visual cue as to the quantitative relationship among points) and sampling distribution. (What aspect of the data provides a fair sense of the overall shape of the data set?) Students would confront the same kinds of problems that scientists do in the course of their work. They must find meaningful ways to organize information to reveal particular characteristics of the data.

The students had previously been assigned to seven working teams of three to four students each. The students in each group worked to construct a data display that they believed would support answers to Mr. Rohling's two questions. Mr. Rohling encouraged each group to come up with its own way to arrange the data, explaining that it was important that the display, standing alone, make apparent the answer to the two questions about typicality and spread of heights.

The students' solutions were surprisingly varied. From the seven groups, five substantively different representational designs were produced. Over the next two days, students debated the advantages and trade-offs of their representational choices; their preferences shifted as the discussion unfolded. To encourage broad participation in critical discussion of displays, Mr. Rohling assigned pairs of students to present displays that their classmates had developed. And following this he facilitated discussions which drew in display authors, presenters, and other classmates. Despite the opportunity to exchange ideas with their peers, students did not easily or simply adopt conventions suggested by others. Instead, there was a long process of negotiation, tuning, and eventually convergence toward a shared way of inscribing what students came to refer to as the shape of the data.

(This whole vignette can be found in the book Ready, Set, Science.)

Resources

Instructional Notes 

Selected activities:

The Scientific Method  ScienceSpot.net

This activity can be used introduce a basic version of the "scientific method".  Emphasis should be made that there are several different versions of the "scientific method". While there are similarities and differences between the scientific methods available, all the versions describe an organized process that helps us find answers to questions.

Introducing Inquiry and the Nature of Science National Academies Press

This activity introduces basic procedures involved in inquiry and concepts describing the nature of science. In the first portion of the activity the teacher uses a numbered cube to involve students in asking a question-what is on the bottom?- and the students propose an explanation based on their observations. Then the teacher presents the students with a second cube and asks them to use the available evidence to propose an explanation for what is on the bottom of this cube. Finally, students design a cube that they exchange and use for an evaluation. This activity provides students with opportunities to learn the abilities and understandings aligned with science as inquiry and the nature of science as described in the National Science Education Standards. Designed for grades 5 through 12, the activity requires a total of four class periods to complete. Lower grade levels might only complete the first cube and the evaluation where students design a problem based on the cube activity. 5.1.1.2.1

FOSS-Delta Education

FOSS Environments Module

Investigation 2, Parts 2-4, pp. 16-30

Students construct a runway to investigate how isopods and darkling beetles respond to environmental factors such as water and light, and determine the environmental preferences.

(This activity addresses Benchmark 5.1.1.2.3 and Content Standard 5.4.2.1. LS Interdependence Among Living Things)

FOSS Variables Module

Investigation 3, Parts 2-3, pp. 14-23

Investigation 4, Part 3, pp. 18- 23

Students construct rubber-band- powered airplanes and fly them on a line. They experiment with a number of variables to see how each affects the distance the plane travels.

(This activity addresses Benchmark 5.1.1.2.2 & 5.1.1.2.3 and Content Standard 5.2.2.1. PS Motion: Forces)

Environments Module

Investigation 5, Part 1, pp. 8-13

Students conduct a controlled experiment to determine which of four salt concentrations allow brine shrimp eggs to hatch. They determine range of tolerance and optimum conditions.

(This activity addresses Benchmark 5.1.1.2.2 & 5.1.1.2.3 and Content Standard 5.4.2.1. LS Interdependence Among Living Things)

Living Systems Module

Investigation 3, Part 3, pp. 136- 141

Students analyze an experiment to determine the conditions under which plants produce food (photosynthesis). They design an investigation to determine what conditions are needed to activate an organism (yeast) and are introduced to the process by which plant and animal cells obtain energy from food (cellular respiration). They design and conduct an experiment to determine the sugar content of common foods.

(This activity addresses Benchmark 5.1.1.2.2)

Activities that address Benchmark 5.1.1.2.3

Biological Clocks from Science NetLinks

Link

Purpose

To challenge students to document patterns of change in the context of biological/internal clocks.

Context

In earlier grades, students have learned that some things change, things can change in different ways, people can measure some change, and some changes are hard to see. (Benchmarks for Science Literacy, p. 272.) Now students are ready to record patterns of change by using tables or making graphs.

(This activity addresses Benchmark  5.1.1.2.3 and Standard 5.1.1.1 NSE Practice of Science: A Way of Knowing)

Instructional suggestions/options:

Teaching Inquiry

Inquiry-Based Learning from Monarchs in the Classroom Curriculum

The Monarchs in the Classroom curriculum is inquiry-based.  Writers of this curriculum provide their professional interpretation of inquiry-Based Learning.  This document will help guide the teacher on the basics of Inquiry-Based Teaching.

Monarchs in the Classroom aims to promote and facilitate inquiry-based education through original curricula and research opportunities. We use monarchs and other insects as focal organisms in inquiry-based teacher workshops and conduct an annual Insect Fair to spotlight student research. The monarch butterfly serves as an excellent tool to get students excited about science and to teach inquiry in the classroom.

Monarchs in the Classroom is a program of University of Minnesota Extension and the University of Minnesota Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology.

Monarch in the Classroom

Learning Science Through Inquiry

A video workshop for K-8 teachers; 8 one-hour video programs, and workshop guide.

Produced by Thirteen/WNET New York in collaboration with the Education Development (EDC). 2000.

Workshop 1. What Is Inquiry and Why Do It?

Workshop 2. Setting the Stage: Creating a Learning Community

Workshop 3. The Process Begins: Launching the Inquiry Exploration

Workshop 4. Focus the Inquiry: Designing the Exploration

Workshop 5. The Inquiry Continues: Collecting Data and Drawing Upon Resources

Workshop 6. Bring It All Together: Processing for Meaning During Inquiry

Workshop 7. Assessing Inquiry

Workshop 8. Connecting Other Subjects to Inquiry

Science notebooking is a way to teach students how to record data in a clear and precise way. The students will take ownership in their work and be able to share their data with others. It also allows an experiment to be retested based on the information that the student recorded.

Science notebook presentation, how to set up a science notebook

Essential Features of Classroom Inquiry and Their Variations

Source: National Research Council. 2002. Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Essential Feature

Variations

Learner engages in scientifically oriented questions

Learner poses a question

Learner selects among questions, poses new questions

Learner sharpens or clarifies a question provided by the teacher, materials, or other source

Learner engages in a question provided by the teacher, materials, or other source

Learner gives priority to evidence in responding to questions

Learner determines what constitutes evidence and collects it

Learner is directed to collect certain data

Learner is given data and asked to analyze

Learner is given data and told how to analyze

Learner formulates explanations from evidence

Learner formulates explanations after summarizing evidence

Learner is guided in process of formulating explanations from evidence

Learner is given possible ways to use evidence to formulate explanation

Learner is provided with evidence

Learner connects explanations to scientific knowledge

Learner independently examines other resources and forms the links to explanations

Learner is directed toward areas and sources of scientific knowledge

Learner is given possible connections

 

Learner communicates and justifies explanations

Learner forms reasonable and logical argument to communicate explanation

Learner is coached in development of communication

Learner is provided broad guidelines to use to sharpen communication

Learner is given steps and procedures for communication

More <-------------Amount of Learner Self-Direction-------------->Less

Less<------Amount of Direction from Teacher or Material------>More

Instructional Resources 

Additional resources or links

BrainPop movies that address Benchmark 5.1.1.2.1

BrainPOP Science Projects

BrainPOP Scientific Method

BrainPop movies that address Benchmark 5.1.1.2.2

BrainPOP Science Projects

BrainPOP Scientific Method

BrainPOP Measuring Matter

BrainPOP Thunderstorms

BrainPop movies that address Benchmark 5.1.1.2.3

BrainPOP Science Projects

BrainPOP Scientific Method

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New Vocabulary 

Vocabulary/Glossary:

See this page.

1.      available evidence: facts or truths that have been seen first hand

2.      bar graph: a type of graph in which the lengths of the bars are used to represent and compare data

3.      data: the results of your experiment

4.      dependent variable: the factor that you measure to gather results

5.      hypothesis: a tentative explanation for an observation or scientific problem written             in a special way that leads to further investigation

6.      independent variable: the factor that you wish to test and that you manipulate or               change so that you identify its effects

7.      line graph: a type of graph that is useful for showing a relationship between                       variables

8.      qualitative: descriptions of sights, sounds, smells,and textures

9.      quantitative: expressed in numbers and includes records of time, temperature,                     mass, distance, and volume

10.  variable: any of the factors that could change in a scientific investigation

11.  x-axis: horizontal axis; shows the independent variable

12.  y-axis: vertical axis; shows the dependent variable

Technology Connections 

Interactive Science Notebooks

This site will guide the user on how to use a Science Notebook through an "online Interactive Science Notebook.  This presentation will walk the teacher or the student through the steps necessary to start an effective science notebook.

JASON Project

The JASON Project connects students with scientists and researchers in real- and near-real time, virtually and physically, to provide mentored, authentic and enriching science learning experiences.

JASON and its partners create these connections using multiple platforms and technologies, including award-winning, standards-based classroom curriculum developed with NOAA, NASA, National Geographic Society and others; after-school and out-of-school activities; camp experiences; and exploration programs for museums, aquariums, libraries and community centers. The result is a year-round continuum of classroom and out-of-classroom learning.

WISE (Web-Based Inquiry Science Environment) WISE is a simple yet powerful learning environment where students examine real world evidence and analyze current scientific controversies. Our curriculum projects are designed to meet standards and complement your current science curriculum, and your grade 5-12 students will find them exciting and engaging. A web browser is all they need to take notes, discuss theories, and organize their arguments... they can even work from home! Our Teacher Area lets you explore new projects and grade your students' work on the Web. Best of all, everything in WISE is completely free.

Video in support of inquiry

Despite the negative stereotype of lazy teachers popping in a videotape when they don't feel like teaching, video holds great promise as an inquiry tool. For example, a couple of years ago my fourth graders were engaged in an extended study of various biomes of the world. After constructing a robust conceptual structure of what constituted a biome, they were able to make good use of the video to extend their understanding to new regions of the world.

Technology for Learning :

How Does Technology Support Inquiry?

By Bob Coulter

from the March/April 2000 issue (vol. 13, Issue 4) of Connect

a publication of Synergy Learning

Smart NoteBook Lesson

Smart Notebook Lesson- Science Inquiry

(Addresses Benchmark 5.1.1.1, 5.1.1.2, )

This lesson allows the teacher to model the Inquiry Board Process by working through an experiment involving a skateboard and ramp. Part 1 covers the intial wondering through the development of a research question.

Search terms:  inquiryscientific methodscience experimentinquiry boardscience inquiry boardscience inquiry

Cross Curricular Connections 

Elementary FOSS Science Literature File

Lists of books, multimedia videos, software, and teacher resources to support FOSS science curriculum. Includes support, resources and fun activities for all modules, years, and grade levels.

Assessment

Students:

PALS Grade 5-8 National Science Education Standards

(Performance Assesment Links in Science)

Science as Inquiry (8ASI)

PALS is an on-line, standards-based, continually updated resource bank of science performance assessment tasks indexed via the National Science Education Standards (NSES) and various other standards frameworks.

How can we assess student learning in an inquiry classroom?

Teachers:

What inquiry activities or lessons are essential to allow students to make meaning and answers to questions?

How can I lead my students through inquiry learning that will lead to outcomes that are meaningful.

How can inquiry learning be used effectively to turn information into useful knowledge.

Administrators:

Administrators will see students planning and carrying out investigations as a class, in small groups, or independently, often over a period of several class lessons. The teacher will be modeling the process of selecting a question that can be answered, formulating a hypothesis, planning the steps of an experiment, and determining the most objective way to test the hypothesis. Students will be incorporating mathematical skills of measuring and graphing to communicate their findings.

Link

How can we assess student learning in an inquiry classroom?

Differentiation

Struggling Learners 

Struggling and At-Risk:

Teaching Budding Scientists: Fostering Scientific Inquiry with Diverse Learners in Grades 3-5

Pamela Fraser-Abder, New York University

Teaching Budding Scientists is a call to action to teachers to guide their students on a journey to scientific literacy, while fostering their interest and participation in science.  Written for educators in grades three to five, Teaching Budding Scientists assists teachers in developing, implementing, and reflecting on their science teaching and their students' science learning.  As teachers complete the reflections in this book, they will explore inquiry-based science teaching that nurtures elementary students' natural curiosity in science; their deep-seated, often unconscious feelings toward science teaching and learning; and their views on who has ownership of science.  To learn more about other books in theTeaching Scientists series see inside front cover.

English Language Learners 

ELL and Inquiry-Based Science Learning Strategies for All Learners

Hands-on-Move away from the textbook to active experiences that use all senses and have personal meaning.

Risk-taking environment-Establish a safe, positive classroom climate that eliminates fear of ridicule when students asking questions and making mistakes.

Scaffolding-Proceed slowly along the continuum from directed inquiry to guided inquiry to full inquiry (Maata, Dobb, and Ostlund 2006). Use language appropriate to students' level and also slightly above.

Wait time-Allow 15-20 seconds for quiet thinking about a question.

Variety of modes of communication-Provide a rich variety of verbal, visual, behavioral, and graphic symbols to introduce new words and concepts.

Activate prior knowledge-Attach personal experience to new information.

Collaborative learning-Encourage teamwork among peers that is inclusive.

Problem-solving-Move from rote memorization and drill to higher-order thinking with "quality questions" (Walsh and Saates 2005).

ELL: The following link will bring you to a pdf that outlines some great ideas to support your ELL students.

Improving Science and Vocabulary Learning of English Language Learners

Extending the Learning 

G/T:

Gifted and Talented Teachers toolkit

Gifted students should use inquiry techniques to generate ideas about a topic, issue or question.  Some models include using creative problem solving, inquiry processes, and/or advanced thinking skills.  these processes include understanding what the student already knows about the topic, discovering the known facts about the topic, brainstorming ideas about the topic, synthesizing and evaluating information, and establishing information, and establishing conclusions.

HOTS -Hooked on Thinking works with schools, businesses and learning communities to transform student learning outcomes.

Multi-Cultural 

Teaching Science to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Elementary Students, 1/E Cox-Petersen, Melber & Patchen

Teaching Science to Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Elementary Students helps K-8 teachers implement culturally relevant instructional strategies to ensure that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class, can do science, like science, and become scientists if they choose.

In America's increasingly diverse classrooms, science is not always presented in a way that is meaningful to all students. With this in mind, this book outlines 8 culturally relevant strategies for teaching scienceto help ensure all students have access to inquiry-based, interactive, and experiential science learning. Written to encourage inclusive practices, the book shows how to teach science using students' experiences, how to integrate science and literacy and how to use alternative methods to assess students' understanding of science.

Special Education 

Special Education in the Science Classroom: Strategies for Success

This site will provide information for the classroom teacher on how to adapt science lessons to meet many needs of Special Education including;

Dealing with Issues Related to Attention

Dealing with Issues Related to Information Processing and Communication

Dealing with Issues Related to Organization

Dealing with Issues Related to Social Interaction

Dealing with Issues Related to Time and Making Transitions

Overcoming Obstacles to Success in the Science Classroom

Students with identified disabilities are found in science classrooms in every school in the nation. What specific techniques benefit special education students in the science classroom? Strategies designed to increase classroom success for special education students are based on sound instructional methodology, and thus have potential benefits for all students.

When integrating the strategies suggested, teachers must remember that the term "special education" is applied to students having a wide range of disabilities existing on a continuum from moderate to extreme. Instructors should consider individual needs and learning preferences when implementing strategies.

Comments

resources changes

This section also had major changes. Cross out/delete. Laura had also submitted changes here and made the correct citations for the Monarchs materials. She contacted Dr.Olberhauser and another author for permission.

KK

change vignete

An updated vignette will be posted shortly.