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Life Science

Inquiry Based Projects

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Elaine Thomas Elaine Thomas 1525 Points

What was a great inquiry based project you applied in your classroom?

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

One of the most fun and educational inquiry activities that I have done is designing and building roller coasters. Here is a link to an article entitled "Roller Coasters" that describes how to do this lesson. This is a great article about two roller coaster books - one for primary grades and one for upper elementary grades. There is a lesson plan to go with each of the books. The lessons, which have the students design and test roller coasters, use very simple inexpensive materials. I realize this is not life science but I could not resist posting it because it is one of my favorite lessons.

Lili Zheng Lili Zheng 2510 Points

Sometimes I feel it is very difficult to choose inquiry topics because if topic too small, it is very difficult to extend the content. If the topic too big, it is also difficult for students to get the point of the program.

Dennis Kearney Dennis Kearney 570 Points

I love using POGIL! Check out, they have books to order that your curriculum supervisor can look at and order for your classroom! Very self-guided and student-centered.

Patrick Reid Patrick Reid 635 Points

@Dennis I got the POGIL AP Biology book as recommend by another teacher. How do you use it class? It seems like a series of worksheets. How is this method inquiry based? I used it once in an Integrated Physics and Chemistry but never in Biology. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Elizabeth Millares Elizabeth Millares 995 Points

The website that I have attached is an amazing website for inquiry based lessons. My professor showed me this website and it truly helped me when writing inquiry based lesson plans. You can find inquiry based K-5 lessons and find lessons under the categories of physical science, life science, and earth and space. I really recommend this website!

Chrizia Castro Chrizia Castro 1170 Points

Wow that website is very helpful, a good resource to have when writing inquiry based lesson plans. They have a lot of helpful information one can use when they are teaching.I am still going through the website to see what other cool stuff they have . thanks again!

Raymond Jones Raymond Jones 740 Points

That website is great. It was beneficial and easy to go through. It offered a variety of inquiry based learning activities. It offered ideas for all domains (physical, life, and Earth sciences). I will be sure to utilize this website.

Brenda Hornaday Brenda Hornaday 770 Points

This is such a helpful resource. Thanks for sharing!

Chris Taylor Chris Taylor 4785 Points

What a great site for elementary school teachers. Thanks for sharing!

Christina Hong Christina Hong 1110 Points

This website is great! Thanks so much for sharing. Not only is it full of fun, interesting activities to do with young children, but it is also easy to navigate. I will definitely be using some of these ideas in my future classroom. Another great website is It has great activities for K-12 in Science, math, and writing which all call for students to explore and investigate, implementing different strategies and tools to find a solution or perform a task.

Beth Eisentraut Beth Eisentraut 925 Points

Wow, that was a great resource. Has anyone found any good resources to teach the fourth grade Next Generation Standard, "Develop a model to describe that light reflecting from objects and entering the eye allows objects to be seen." If you have students sort three different color bottle caps (or paper or any other similar looking objects) in a dark room students will not be able to sort by color because rods in the eye are responsible for seeing in low light conditions and cones are responsible for seeing color and cones need light to work. Putting a straw in a glass jar also shows light refraction because it looks disjointed. I would love any other ideas that people have used!

Cris DeWolf Cris DeWolf 11965 Points

This is an excellent website, and should prove useful for others as an example of how to transition existing lessons to a NGSS format. Thanks for sharing!

What I love to do is building concepts with my students. This was an experience regarding Thermal Energy. After exploring previous concepts, I shared with my fourth graders different hands on experiences regarding thermal energy, heat and heat transfer. We also saw and play with Phet Colorado University ( simulations about heat transfer and states of matter. The only frame of reference before starting the activity that I stressed was the first law of thermodynamics that states that "Energy is not created, nor destroyed, it is transformed" just to be aware of not using verbs such as create or make; after the experience ans the sims, students were perfectly able to contribute to build a group sound definition of the words: heat, temperature, and to describe different ways of heat transfer. My role all the time was facilitating the active listening and keeping the notes on the whiteboard so they were able to go back to the different students entries. My group is a 25 student group so I was careful that everyone had the opportunity to participate. When the definitions were built, everyone copied them on their logbooks.

Ariel Starks Ariel Starks 385 Points

A great inquiry based lab I did with my students was dry ice. Students go to use different materials (hot plate, water at different temps, various metals, vinegar, soap, etc) to see how it would react with dry ice and draw conclusions on why. It was a lot of fun and dry ice isn't something students see every day!

Devleta Memic Devleta Memic 3510 Points

I just completed an inquiry based project while I was teaching a science unit on energy as a clinical student with 8th graders. I found the idea in the Learning Center. The students built their own roller coasters with pipe tubing. They focused on observing and discussing energy as the marble travels down the roller coaster such as potential, mechanical, kinetic, thermal, etc.

Judith Pinto Judith Pinto 740 Points

One of the best inquiry projects I did last year was introducing students to the enzyme cellulase which works to produce glucose. The enzyme comes in a Biofuels Kit by Biorad, and is easy for the teacher to set up for 5 classes of 20 students. Once the students finished the "canned" project, they did the inquiry with enzymes extracted from different types of mushrooms.

Emily Carlson Emily Carlson 1570 Points

I read in an article that you can do an oil spill clean up. It will show the side effects for an oil spill and gets the kids up and moving. The kids and investigate different methods of removing oil.

Jessica Lister Jessica Lister 1360 Points

One inquiry based lesson I think would be beneficial for all levels of students is an inquiry lesson plan on something called "Outrageous Ooze". It was so interesting to see the students play with the ooze and question what it actually is. It is also a great activity to introduce states of matter to younger students and reinforce concepts of matter to upper level students.

Brenda Hornaday Brenda Hornaday 770 Points

My students have enjoyed making this before. It is a little messy but so much fun for them to do.

Sheila Falgout Sheila Falgout 900 Points

Thanks, Jessica for this great resource. I plan to make the Ooze in my Science Lab. I have also bookmarked the website.

Brenda Hornaday Brenda Hornaday 770 Points

I did not make a coaster from scratch but bought three (3) from Lakeshore and my students love this. My students truly love STEM activities and any hands-on activities.

Brenda Hornaday Brenda Hornaday 770 Points

Elizabeth: Thanks for the link it is great!

Jhoana Marcadejas Jhoana Marcadejas 2075 Points

Thanks for the link! Great resource for inquiry based projects!

Markette Kelemete Markette Kelemete 110 Points

A great resource for including both flora and fauna concepts is the Bottle Biology's been around for awhile, but it is a good one! Here is the link to the website:

Ruchi Sharma Ruchi Sharma 1290 Points

We did an inquiry project of building a roller coaster in our teaching science with inquiry class. it was a great success we learned a lot. As for my own 3rd grade classroom I take lot of ideas from It is a great website for learning and planning inquiry based activities in classroom.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

Any examples of LIFE SCIENCE based inquiry projects?

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

Any examples of LIFE SCIENCE based inquiry projects?

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