K.1.1.2 Inquiry

Grade: 
K
Subject:
Science
Strand:
Nature of Science & Engineering
Substrand:
The Practice of Science
Standard K.1.1.2

Scientific inquiry is a set of interrelated processes used to pose questions about the natural world and investigate phenomena.

Benchmark: K.1.1.2.1 Descriptions of Observations

Use observations to develop an accurate description of a natural phenomenon and compare one’s observations and descriptions with those of others.

Overview

Standard in Lay Terms 

MN Standard in lay terms:

Students need to be able to learn/know how to observe something, how to describe it, how to ask/pose questions for clarification and/or to gain further understanding, how to compare and contrast the findings with that of other students and find the answers to those questions.

Big Ideas and Essential Understandings 

Big Idea:

From their very first day in school, students should be actively engaged in learning to view the world scientifically. That means encouraging them to ask questions about nature and to seek answers, collect things, count and measure things, make qualitative observations, organize collections and observations, discuss findings, etc. Getting into the spirit of science and liking science are what count most. Awareness of the scientific world view can come later.

Anticipating an eventual understanding of the scientific world view, these early science experiences can be designed to bring out one aspect of the belief in the unity of nature: consistency. Students should sometimes repeat observations and investigations in the classroom, and then, when possible, do so again in the school yard and at home. For instance, students could be asked to compare what happens in different places when an egg is cooked, or how moving objects are affected when pushed or pulled, or what a seed looks like when it starts to grow. These activities should serve to stimulate curiosity and engage students in taking an interest in their environment and the workings of nature. Benchmarks Online

Benchmark Cluster 

MN Standard Benchmarks K.1.1.2.1

Use observations to develop an accurate description of a natural phenomenon and compare one's observations and descriptions with those of others.

THE ESSENTIALS:

A quote "The scandal of education is that every time you TEACH something you deprive the child of the pleasure and benefit of DISCOVERY!" 

Correlations 

NSES Standards: (page 123)

Science as Inquiry

Scientific investigations involve asking and answering a question and comparing the answer with what scientists already know about the world.

Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions they are trying to answer. Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).

Simple instruments, such as magnifiers, thermometers, and rulers, provide more information than scientists obtain using only their senses.

Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge). Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations.

Scientists make the results of their investigations public; they describe the investigations in ways that enable others to repeat the investigations.

Scientists review and ask questions about the results of other scientists' work.

Ask "How do you know?" in appropriate situations and attempt reasonable answers when others ask the same question. 12E/P1*

  • AAAS Atlas:

The Nature of Science: Scientific Inquiry

People can often learn about things around them by just observing those things carefully, but sometimes they can learn more by doing something to the things and noting what happens. 1B/1 (p. 17)

Describing things as accurately as possible is important in science because it enables people to compare their observations with those of others. 1B/3 (p. 17)

When people give different descriptions of the same thing, it is usually a good idea to make some fresh observations instead of just arguing about who is right. 1B/4 (p. 17) The Nature of Science: Scientific World View

When a science investigation is done the way it was done before, we expect to get a very similar result. 1A/1

In doing science, it is often helpful to work with a team and share findings with others.  All team members should reach their own individual conclusions, however, about what the findings mean. 1C/2 (p. 23)

When people give different descriptions of the same thing it is usually a good idea to make some fresh observations instead of just arguing about who is right. 1B/4 (p. 23) The Nature of Science:Evidence and Reasoning in Inquiry

The Mathematical World: Reasoning

People are more likely to believe your ideas if you can give reasons for them. 9E/1

The Mathematical World

Sometimes people aren't sure what will happen because they don't know everything that might be having an effect...9D/1 (p. 19)

Correlation

Reasoning

Benchmarks of Science Literacy:

The Nature of Science: Scientific Inquiry

When science investigation is done the way it was done before we expect to get a similar result. (1/A p. 6)

Science investigations generally work the same way in different places. (p. 6)

People can often learn about things around them by just observing those things carefully, but sometimes they can learn more by doing something to the things and noting what happens. 1B/P1 (p. 10)

Tools such as thermometers, magnifiers, rulers, or balances often give more information about things than can be obtained by just observing things unaided. 1B/P2 (p. 10)

Describing things as accurately as possible is important in science because it enables people to compare their observations with those of others. 1B/P3 (p. 10)

When people give different descriptions of the same thing, it is usually a good idea to make some fresh observations instead of just arguing about who is right. 1B/P4 ( p. 10)

The Nature of Science: The Scientific Enterprise

Everybody can do science and invent things and ideas. 1C/P1 (p. 15)

In doing science, it is often helpful to work with a team and to share findings with others. All team members should reach their own individual conclusions, however, about what the findings mean. 1C/P2 (p. 15)

A lot can be learned about plants and animals by observing them closely, but care must be taken to know the needs of living things and how to provide for them in the classroom. 1C/P3 (p. 15)

Misconceptions

Student Misconceptions 
  • 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]NSDL Science Literacy Maps
  • Students of all ages find it difficult to distinguish between a theory and the evidence for it, or between description of evidence and interpretation of evidence (Allen, Statkiewitz, & Donovan, 1983; Kuhn 1991, 1992; Roseberry, Warren, & Conant, 1992).

Vignette

This vignette ties in the standard: 1. Living things are diverse with many different observable characteristics. (K.4.1.1.)

The lesson begins by displaying one item of a living and nonliving object for students to observe. Examples of objects to explore could include living worms vs. gummy worms, living fish vs. plastic fish, living frog vs. toy frog, living butterfly vs. toy butterfly, living insect vs. toy insect, etc. Students will answer the following teacher-led questions: How are they alike? How are they different? Are these things living? How do you know? Are these things not living? Why do you think so?   All ideas are welcome and the teacher can write these ideas on the word wall chart.  "Do you think this object is a living thing or a nonliving thing? How do you know?"  There will be many answers but someone WILL ask:  "Well is it living or nonliving? Just tell us!" The teacher tells the class that this is their job:  To use what we already know to figure out if this object is living or nonliving."

So to begin a discovery the students need to know the first step in an inquiry lesson:  What is the problem/question to be answered? The problem will be, "What is this object and is it living or nonliving?"

After a minute she will ask for answers. After each answer she will ask, "How do you know?" The teachers asks, "Is it easy or hard to solve the problem? Why or why not? What else would help you solve this problem?"

Teacher writes ideas:  feel it, smell it, see if it moves, etc. 

The students will get a chance to try their suggestions. In small groups, put the living and nonliving items on a tray and give students time to observe and explore both. Students should look closely and carefully at each item while comparing them.  What did you find out?  Did it help in answering our question?  Is it living or nonliving? Write their answers. They will continue to ask questions or make predictions, discuss they found out while investigating, collect and record data, and draw conclusions from the data. The teacher will make a T-Chart with the heading Living and Nonliving at the top.  As students reflect and share finding they will put the their ideas in the appropriate column.

Worms

Living

Nonliving

can move

cannot move

After all students have had a chance to ask questions, observe, touch, hear, smell, etc. the objects they will reflect and share their findings.

Then the last step is to reveal whether the objects are living or nonliving.

Resources

Instructional Notes 

Instructional suggestions: 

Pre-inquiry activities: These are whole-class or small-group activities that serve to activate prior knowledge, introduce the purpose of the investigations, and provide children with the task framework.

Inquiry activities: These are whole-class or small-group activities through which children conduct their investigation of topic. They  include asking questions or making predictions, discussing how the planned investigation will provide relevant data, collecting and recording data, and drawing conclusions from the data.

Post-inquiry activity: This is a combined small group and whole-class activity that allows children to communicate and share the results of their investigations. This allows teachers and children to identify unresolved issues or questions.

During an inquiry lesson, children need to observe, investigate, ask questions to gain information, collect data, think, reason, and draw conclusions in order to solve a problem.  The teacher needs to know and understand that inquiry follows these steps. Students will: form a question, make a plan, do the investigation, record and report, reflect, revisit, and plan again.

Powerpoint:  What are Inquiry-based Lessons

Inquiry Lessons

PDF: Great article:  Learning Science Through Inquiry in Kindergarten

Inquiry Article

Selected activities:

This site gives a lesson to introduce inquiry using a a changing seasons theme: "To Seek or Not to Seek"

Cross reference to the MN Standard :  Weather can be described in measurable quantities and changes from day to day and with the seasons.K.3.2.2

This lesson plan uses the inquiry process to find out information about the beach.

**Cross reference to the sorting of nature made and human made standard.

Beachcomber

Classroom Teacher website with a variety of inquiry lesson ideas:

A Kindergarten Inquiry Unit

PDF: A Kindergarten Inquiry Unit: Nothing But Nets by Cheryl Russo Dr. Emily Alford

Cross reference to the MN Standard:  1. Living things are diverse with many different observable characteristics. (K.4.1.1.)

Kindergarten Inquiry lesson: Investigating Leaves

Cross reference to the MN Standard:  1. Living things are diverse with many different observable characteristics. (K.4.1.1.)

Inquiry Lesson: Wiggly Worms:

Cross reference to the MN Standard:  1. Living things are diverse with many different observable characteristics. (K.4.1.1.)

FOSS kits:  Whether you have Foss kits or not all the modules and lesson plans are on the links below. 

Wood and Paper:  Investigation 1-5, all parts:

Cross reference to the MN Standard Benchmarks (with codes): Sort objects in terms of color, size, shape, and texture, and communicate reasoning for the sorting system.  (K.2.1.1.1)

Animals Two by Two:  Investigation 1-5, all parts: 

Cross reference to the MN Standard:  1. Living things are diverse with many different observable characteristics.  (K.4.1.1)

Trees:  Investigation 1-3, all parts:

Cross reference to the MN Standard:  1. Living things are diverse with many different observable characteristics.  (K.4.1.1)

Instructional Resources 

Additional resources or links :

Use these resources to integrate the nature and process of science into your teaching.

Understanding Science: University of Califorinia.  Excellent resources for Educators about science and teaching science

The Keys to Inquiry Inquiry Learning and Learning From One's Experience

This is a great resource for teachers to gain insight on how students think. 

The Power of Children's Thinking by Karen Worth:

Science songs for inquiry an all concepts and topics Songs for Teaching

New Vocabulary 

Vocabulary/Glossary:

Description: A spoken or written representation or account of a person, object, or event.

Observation:  The action or process of observing something or someone carefully in order to gain information.

Question: An expression of inquiry that invites or calls for a reply.

Technology Connections 

These websites have a multitude of Smart Board activities for many science topics.

Smart EXchange 

iSmartboard

Cross Curricular Connections 

Inquiry based Language Arts Lesson Plans: The inquiry standard can be embedded in many curricular areas using the inquiry steps above.

Making Kindergarten play into Inquiry lessons: This PDF will give you examples of inquiry problems for students to solve in the area of math.

Assessment

Students:  Websites on how to  assess inquiry investigations in K-1

Inquiry Assessment in K-1

Examples of inquiry assessments

Inquiry assessment steps for most any topic students are learning:

Ask a question about objects, organisms, and events in the environment. This aspect of the standard emphasizes students asking questions that they can answer with scientific knowledge, combined with their own observations. Students should answer their questions by seeking information from reliable sources of scientific information and from their own observations and investigations.

Plan and conduct a simple investigation. In the earliest years, investigations are largely based on systematic observations. As students develop, they may design and conduct simple experiments to answer questions. The idea of a fair test is possible for many students to consider by fourth grade.

Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses. In early years, students develop simple skills, such as how to observe, measure, cut, connect, switch, turn on and off, pour, hold, tie, and hook. Beginning with simple instruments, students can use rulers to measure the length, height, and depth of objects and materials; thermometers to measure temperature; watches to measure time; beam balances and spring scales to measure weight and force; magnifiers to observe objects and organisms; and microscopes to observe the finer details of plants, animals, rocks, and other materials. Children also develop skills in the use of computers and calculators for conducting investigations.

Use data to construct a reasonable explanation. This aspect of the standard emphasizes the students' thinking as they use data to formulate explanations. Even at the earliest grade levels, students should learn what constitutes evidence and judge the merits or strength of the data and information that will be used to make explanations. After students propose an explanation, they will appeal to the knowledge and evidence they obtained to support their explanations. Students should check their explanations against scientific knowledge, experiences, and observations of others.

Communicate investigations and explanations. Students should begin developing the abilities to communicate, critique, and analyze their work and the work of other students. This communication might be spoken or drawn as well as written.

Using a rubric to grade the level of understanding during observation of the lessons along with a checklist for each student during the lessons is a good way to monitor progress and understanding if this standard.

1

Just beginning

2

Below grade level

3

At grade level

4

Exceeds grade level

Beginning to understand the concept or standard: relies on teacher support

Developing skills concept or standard with varied performance, needs continued practice and some support from the teacher

Demonstrates secure, consistent understanding of the concept or standard without teacher support; works independently and consistently

Exemplary performance of skills well beyond grade level, insightful responses

Teachers:

What is your own attitude toward science?

What does inquiry mean to me? How will I embed inquiry into my science lessons?

Do I need explanations of the concepts I am teaching? Do I have any misconceptions about the content? If so where can I find the information?

Atlas for Science Literacy

AAAS Atlas

Benchmarks for Science Literacy

Benchmarks Online

National Academies Press

NSES

What do my students need to know and understand about the standard?

What are the misconceptions that children have about the concepts and how will make sure they are corrected? ( Make sure teacher understands the misconceptions that the children have for self-understanding and how to correct them)- If so where can you find the information?

Atlas for Science Literacy

AAAS Atlas

Benchmarks for Science Literacy

Benchmarks Online

National Academies Press           

NSES

How will I know when they do understand and what will I do if they do not understand? What will I do if they already understand this concept?

Ask yourself 3 questions: What do my students already know about this standard (Did I use a preassessment?) What will I do if my students do not know the information? What will I do if my students already know and understand the information?

What worked well and what should I change?

Administrators:

Teacher should act as a guide. The teacher should be asking many questions; answering a question with a question guiding the student to find the answer to his/her own questions

If observing a lesson on this standard what might they expect to see.

The science teacher must have the content knowledge and the pedagogical content knowledge necessary to deliver their instruction effectively and in an engaging way. A good science teacher uses a variety of methods to effectively deliver the content to various population groups. Some researchers have found that pedagogical content knowledge and organizational skill in the planning and development of the lessons are qualities that good teachers have. (Tytler, R. and Waldrip, B. (2004). International Journal of Science Education. 26 (2), 171‐194.) The objective should be clearly stated, the level of questioning should be at all levels,

Students should should be able to form a question, make a plan, do the investigation, record and report, reflect, revisit, and plan again, if needed.

Teacher should act as a guide. The teacher should be asking many questions; answering a question with a question guiding the student to find the answer to his/her own questions.

The science teacher must have the content knowledge and the pedagogical content knowledge necessary to deliver their instruction effectively and in an engaging way. A good science teacher uses a variety of methods to effectively deliver the content to various population groups. Some researchers have found that pedagogical content knowledge and organizational skill in the planning and development of the lessons are qualities that good teachers have. (Tytler, R. and Waldrip, B. (2004). International Journal of Science Education. 26 (2), 171‐194.) The objective should be clearly stated, the level of questioning should be at all levels.

Student science achievement and student interest in science subjects and careers will improve if teachers consistently use research-based instructional practices, materials, and assessments so that each student:

  • Reveals preconceptions, initial reasoning, and beliefs;
  • Is intellectually engaged;
  • Uses evidence to generate explanations;
  • Communicates and critiques their scientific ideas and the ideas of others;
  • Makes sense of the learning experience and draws appropriate understandings;
  • Makes connections between new and existing scientific concepts by understanding and organizing facts and information in new ways; and
  • Reflects on how personal understanding has changed over time and recognizes cognitive processes that lead to changes.

Differentiation

Struggling Learners 

Struggling and At-Risk: Many strategies and suggestions for special education or ELL students could be used for struggling or at risk students. The pre-teaching of the vocabulary or content using visuals or hands on experiences prior to the whole class lesson helps the students stay focused on the lesson and students find they will be able to share information.

English Language Learners 

Like special education students, some ELL students need to have vocabulary and concepts taught in small groups before whole group content lessons are taught. The use of pictures with vocabulary and content is very helpful.  Research shows it is helpful to have vocabulary or content taught in the students first language before having it taught in English.  Here are a few other helpful tips.

Students should work in groups when possible to solve problems or conduct experiments. Provide many hands-on experiences as ELL students learn best by doing and seeing lessons.

Show ELL students at all proficiency levels a sample of a completed project or assignment

Have students compile notebooks or science journals

Have students prepare collections of science objects, such as sticks and leaves.

Use "hands-on" experiential activities that do not rely on academic language for understanding

Prepare large charts that summarize the steps involved in experiments.

Ideas from: ELL resource

Extending the Learning 

G/T:

Gifted and Talented Modules for E-learning Leading Teachers: E-learning modules for Gifted and Talented (G&T) leading teachers provide opportunities to reflect on G&T issues and approaches to addressing them, to practise strategies which have been found to be effective and to develop action plans for your own context. The modules also provide links to a range of resources and exemplification. Module 1: Teaching and learning, is part of the gap task between face-to-face training provided by LAs.

Other modules cover identification, leadership, good practice, working with parents and carers, transfer and transition, learners with particular needs, learning beyond the classroom, career development, Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stages 1 and 2, primary science, English, mathematics, secondary science, music, PE and sport and EAL.

Primary Science Module :This module will examine using a high degree of challenge to benefit all pupils, including the gifted; how to increase challenge and encourage higher order thinking through discussion, scientific enquiry and focused recording as well as how to map classroom outcomes to the Institutional Quality Standards (IQS) and Classroom Quality Standards (CQS).                                    

If students already show that they know and understand this concept they should be able to do a small independent or partner study.

The student can choose to do a study by forming a different question on the topic of of study and do their own investigation. 

Students can use a journal or word book to list words and/or pictures for every letter of the alphabet on the topic of stuydy.

Students can make a Venn diagram or T chart and compare/contrast two topics in words or pictures.

Students could make a diagram/drawing about the topic. 

Students could make up a song or poem about the topic.

Multi-Cultural 

Pictures, photos, objects used in the lessons should encompass a wide variety of items from around the world.  For example if you are using or showing various plants, animals, or people find those that are from around the world.  Use  of books that show a wide variety of pictures of people, animals, habitats, plants etc from all over the world.

Find the nearest Multicultural Center for lots of information about cultures around the world.  Here are a few websites of multicultural centers.

Multicultural Resource Center

Saint Paul Public Schools

Special Education 

There are many different kinds of special education students.  Depending on the students special education needs some need pre-teaching of the vocabulary or content prior to the whole class lesson, preferably using visuals.  This helps the students stay focused on the lesson and students find they will be able to share information. 

Parents/Admin

Parents 

Sites for families to review, extend and enhance standards

Foss Website: Parent Resources: Home/School Connections:

FOSS

A variety of at home inquiry activities:

Home Avtivities

A website with a variety of at home activities:

Exploratorium

This website gives families a variety of lessons to use at home.

PBS Parents

This is a PBS parents Explorer's Guide: Science Inquiry.

Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab. This is a website filled with science experiments that are inquiry based.