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Inquiry for Middle School Scientists

Workshop for Wake County Public School System Middle School Teachers for October 26, 2011

Pamela Lovin

on 9 April 2013

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Transcript of Inquiry for Middle School Scientists

Middle School Scientists Inquiry Pamela Lovin October 26, 2011 Purpose of the workshop
Understand the importance of inquiry
Explore strategies to encourage inquiry
Shift lessons to include more inquiry Create a proper environment for discussion

What are our ground rules? How do you picture a scientist?
Sketch a picture of how you picture a scientist. Share your sketch with others
and discuss common characteristics Gender
Dominant or dependent
Violent or calm
Works alone or with others
Others characteristics Set up meetings with seven others using your weekly planner.
Find someone to meet with on Monday.
Write his/her name on your planner and yours on his/her planner.
Continue this process with different people for the other six days. Research says NSES
NSTA inquiry works • By the time, students get to your class they should be able to…
Ask questions about the natural world
Plan and conduct an experiment
Use equipment in an experiment
Gather data
Communicate findings
• By the time, students leave your school they should be able to…
Identify questions that they can explore
Design and conduct investigations
Use appropriate equipment in an experiment
Use data to predict, explain, and model
Think critically
Recognize alternative ideas
Communicate procedures and finding National Science Education Standards as presented in National Research Council. National Science Education Standards. (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1996) p.122,123, 145, and 148 Grades 6 through 8
At this level, students need to become more systematic and sophisticated in conducting their investigations, some of which may last for weeks or more. That means closing in on an understanding of what constitutes a good experiment. The concept of controlling variables is straightforward but achieving it in practice is difficult. Students can make some headway, however, by participating in enough experimental investigations (not to the exclusion, of course, of other kinds of investigations) and explicitly discussing how explanation relates to experimental design.
Student investigations ought to constitute a significant part—but only a part—of the total science experience. Systematic learning of science concepts must also have a place in the curriculum, for it is not possible for students to discover all the concepts they need to learn, or to observe all of the phenomena they need to encounter, solely through their own laboratory investigations. And even though the main purpose of student investigations is to help students learn how science works, it is important to back up such experience with selected readings. This level is a good time to introduce stories (true and fictional) of scientists making discoveries—not just world-famous scientists, but scientists of very different backgrounds, ages, cultures, places, and times.

By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that
Scientists differ greatly in what phenomena they study and how they go about their work. 1B/M1a
Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data. 1B/M1b*
If more than one variable changes at the same time in an experiment, the outcome of the experiment may not be clearly attributable to any one variable. It may not always be possible to prevent outside variables from influencing an investigation (or even to identify all of the variables). 1B/M2ab
Collaboration among investigators can often lead to research designs that are able to deal with situations where it is not possible to control all of the variables. 1B/M2c*
What people expect to observe often affects what they actually do observe. Strong beliefs about what should happen in particular circumstances can prevent them from detecting other results. 1B/M3ab
Scientists know about the danger of prior expectations to objectivity and take steps to try and avoid it when designing investigations and examining data. One safeguard is to have different investigators conduct independent studies of the same questions. 1B/M3c as seen http://www.project2061.org/publications/bsl/online/index.php?chapter=1#B3 Project 2061 Benchmarks presented by the
American Association of the Advancement of Science National Science Teachers Association NSTA recommends that the curriculum of middle level science programs:
Be aligned with the science content and process skills outlined in the National Science Education Standards.
Nurture curiosity about the natural world and include “hands-on, minds-on” inquiry-based science instruction.
Engage students in laboratory investigations a minimum of 80 percent of the science instruction time as specified in the NSTA position statement Laboratory Science.
Incorporate independent and cooperative group learning experiences during the study of science, and encourage informal learning experiences to support the curriculum.
Integrate science with other curriculum subjects in a multidisciplinary approach, such as through theme-based learning.

NSTA recommends that the curriculum offer links to the real world by
Applying content and skills learned in science class to students’ own experiences.
Connecting the classroom to the community through field trips, speakers, and local partnerships.
Providing students with real-life experiences, such as mentoring and apprenticeships, that enable them to develop an awareness of science-based careers and an understanding of how science is relevant to their lives.
Providing opportunities for decision-making activities (e.g., debate or research papers) and for involvement in community-based problems.
Promoting societal goals for scientific and technological literacy. presented at http://www.nsta.org/about/positions/middlelevel.aspx What does
mean to you? These are
which must be learned to have successful inquiry. Students use the
process skills
of science to develop an
understanding of the
scientific concepts. We want to spark
student’s curiosity
about science. I have no special talents.
I am only passionately curious.
~Albert Einstein What should happen in a science class? Take 2 minutes to think.
How the science class should look, sound, act, interact, solve, etc.
Write each thought or picture on a Post-it.
Place ideas on the concept map.
Pass to the next person (without talking) to add to and readjust the concept map Describe it? Observation and Description What skills are being used? Wacky Washers and Tricky Tricks Changes Activity
involving students in a form of active learning that emphasizes questioning, data analysis, and critical thinking. as seen in “Simplifying Inquiry Instruction” The Science Teacher October 2005p.30-33 http://tccl.rit.albany.edu/knilt/images/archive/6/6f/20090424031839!Simplifying_inquiry_instruction.pdf Experts say, “Inquiry is… Experts say, “Inquiry is… Table from “Levels of Inquiry” by Carl Wenning at http://www.phy.ilstu.edu/pte/311content/effective/levels_of_inquiry.pdf Discovery Learning
Interactive Demo
Inquiry Lesson
Inquiry Lab
-Guided Inquiry Lab
-Bounded Inquiry lab
-Free Inquiry Lab
Hypothesis Development and Testing Experiment
Shift the Activity From Inquiry to In-depth student research What do you think when you hear “Student Research”? Original vs. Parent Originated
Observations & Investigations
Research Plan
Application of scientific methods to seek an answer to the question
Student Competitions Why should my students do independent research? A research project:
teaches a student how scientists approach a problem and seek answers
teaches lifelong learning skills, organization, and time management
allows personal development as students become “experts” in their field of investigation
encourages students to pursue their natural curiosity and questions that they are interested in answering! Where can a research project be done? Home
Industrial Setting
Medical Center
Field How is Research Done? The Inquiry Cycle Engineering Design Cycle www.sciencebuddies.org Pick Your Topic Most difficult part
Should come from something of great interest - hobby or topic know something about
Should not be too broad that it can not be answered through the investigation
Begin keeping your journal/research log! For more information, contact:
Judy Day director@ncsciencefair.org
Tom Williams twilliams@EdAlliances.com
Pamela Lovin lovinphysics@gmail.com
Dee Dee Whitaker dcwhitak@ncsu.edu Make a Time Table
Topic should not only interest student - but be do-able in the time that you have
Develop time line for designing experiment and methods, experimentation, and analysis.
Reserve time for putting together paper or project board
Time table may be directed by teacher/mentor Research Your Topic
Use internet - but look at sites, should look for “.edu” or “.gov”. NOT ALL INFORMATION IS CORRECT ON WEB! (Try using Googlescholar.com for journals)
Use libraries – local resources and at NC State (as well as community and other colleges and universities)
Talk to experts in the field - local and distant (NC State, Science Buddies, etc.)
Create a bibliography of your sources
Look for questions that you would like to answer. Organize
Look at what you have learned
Think of questions that weren’t answered.
Narrow your focus for your topic to a particular idea.
Develop that “testable” question! Design Research Plan
Question being addressed
Description in detail of method/procedures
How will you analyze the data that you collect
Bibliography - at least 5 sources How do I get started?
Visit the State Science and Engineering Fair of NC Web Site http://www.ncsciencefair.org
Use online guides
Intel ISEF Science Project Planner http://www.scienceforsociety.org/isef/primer/
Science Buddies (planning and “Ask an Expert”) http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring/science-projects.shtml

Web Sites for Science Competitions
State Science and Engineering Fair of NC http://www.ncsciencefair.org
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) http://www.societyforscience.org/isef/
Intel Science Talent Search http://www.societyforscience.org/sts
NC Student Academy of Science http://www.ncsas.org
Junior Science & Humanities Symposium http://www.jshs.org/
NC Junior Science & Humanities Symposium http://education.uncc.edu/cmste/jshs/
Siemens Westinghouse Science and Technology Competition www.siemens-foundation.org/competition/
SSP Middle School Program http://www.societyforscience.org/msp/ Why do my students need to use the NC and ISEF forms?
They help your students plan their project
The parents know what the student is doing and has proper supervision
Students with topics that have special concerns and risks will need additional ISEF Forms (use ISEF Form Wizard if needed)
Students should have a lab journal and they are encouraged to write a paper.
And YOU and the school, are covered for any liability issues!!!!!
How can I get through the ISEF forms with my students?!
Most elementary and middle school students will only need the NC Elementary/Middle School Form with their approved Research Plan
USE THE ISEF RULES WIZARD for additional required forms!* Project Display
Review rules for display and safety
Provide data notebook and research paper
Board should have:
Title - Experiment
Problem - Results
Background - Conclusion
Hypothesis - Abstract (can be on table)
Use more photographs instead of stuff! Draw Conclusions
Did the variables that you tested show or cause a change?
Were you able to see relationships?
Did you collect enough data?
Was your hypothesis supported?
How did your data fit previous information that you found in your background research?
What are practical applications or inferences that you can make?
How would you change the experiment or future research area? Analyze Results
After experiments, examine and organize findings
Use graphs to show data
Identify patterns in data
Look for experimental error and where they could occur.
Look at statistical relationships in data. Begin the experiment
Keep detailed notes of every step and experiment in your journal/research log.
Use data tables or charts as you proceed to help you see trends in data.
Have quantitative data, but also record observational data. Design the process of your experiment
Experiment should have large enough numbers to be valid.
List materials needed
List any safety issues and precautions
Review types of data expected and how it will be analyzed
Make an experimental design BEFORE collecting data!
Explain what you are going to do, what will be involved, and what you are trying to find out. (remember that “testable” question!)
Need to have controls and document factors that influence experiment.
Need to have limited variables so that you know what is changing and why.
Before Experimenting! What is this? Inquiry Lab Type Questions/Problem Source Procedures

Guided inquiry Teacher identifies problem to be Guided by multiple researched teacher-identified questions;
extensive pre-lab orientation
Bounded inquiry Teacher identifies problem to be Guided by a single
researched teacher-identified question,
partial pre-lab orientation
Free inquiry Students identify problem to be Guided by a single
researched student-identified question;
no pre-lab orientation Experts say, “Inquiry is… Table from “Levels of Inquiry” by Carl Wenning at http://www.phy.ilstu.edu/pte/311content/effective/levels_of_inquiry.pdf What are some gems happening in the scientists’ notebooks?
Draw a line of learning
Share ideas as a group
Reflect on which of these things do you think could be incorporated in your notebook Gem Hunting Jigsaw Reading Firework image from http://www.mishawaka.in.gov/node/1521
Albert Einstein http://www.mishawaka.in.gov/node/1521 Nancy--How does she teach?
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