From Inquiry to Scientific Practices in the Science Classroom

Authored by: Barbara A. Crawford

Handbook of Research on Science Education

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  July  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415629379
eBook ISBN: 9780203097267
Adobe ISBN: 9781136221972


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In preparing this chapter on inquiry/scientific practices in the science classroom, the main focus is on recently published peer-refereed journal articles and chapters in handbooks, together with seminal articles in the literature on science teaching and learning. Recent findings are juxtaposed with historical works to better understand how we can support children in understanding (a) how to do inquiry, (b) how to use inquiry to develop deep understandings of science concepts, (c) what science is and what science is not, and, (d) how to think critically. The chapter begins with a discussion of the confusion surrounding the meaning of inquiry in science classrooms, and the variations of classroom inquiry that appear in the literature. For the purposes of this chapter, the author uses the phrase teaching science as inquiry to include both the pedagogy and the learning outcomes of inquiry, the pedagogy being the method of engaging students in designing and carrying out investigations and the learning outcomes referring to learning science subject matter by engaging in these investigations, in addition to learning “about” the nature of scientific inquiry. Related to learning “about” the nature of scientific inquiry, there is overlap with the learner developing understandings of nature of science.

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