Learning and Teaching Scientific Inquiry: Research and Applications

by: James Jadrich and Crystal Bruxvoort

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Science teacher educators, curriculum specialists, professional development facilitators, and K–8 teachers are bound to increase their understanding and confidence when teaching inquiry after a careful reading of this definitive volume. Advancing a new perspective, James Jadrich and Crystal Bruxvoort assert that scientific inquiry is best taught using models in science rather than focusing on scientists’ activities. The authors place additional emphasis on sharing cognitive science research that provides valuable insight into how students learn and how instructors should teach. Educators will find detailed examples, practice problems, activities, and lesson ideas that apply research findings to practical scenarios for the classroom. Extensively researched and pilot tested in both classrooms and professional development settings, Learning and Teaching Scientific Inquiry will help teachers integrate authentic scientific inquiry into their science programs.

Table of Contents



About the Authors

Safety Considerations in the Classroom

Part 1: Scientific Inquiry and Models in the Classroom

Chapter 1: Scientific Inquiry and Scientific Literacy

1.1 The Goal of Scientific Literacy

1.2 Why Are Teaching and Doing Scientific Inquiry So Hard?

Chapter 2: The Role of Models in Science

2.1 Can We Define Scientific Inquiry?

2.2 Scientific Inquiry Is Model Making

2.3 Developing a Scientific Model in the Classroom

2.4 Why Inquiry-Based Science Promotes Scientific Literacy

2.5 Models, Theories, Hypotheses, and Terminology in Science

Part 2: Implementing and Teaching Scientific Inquiry

Chapter 3: Scientific Models and Conceptual Change

3.1 Children and Scientific Models

3.2 Why Children’s Models Are Resistant to Change

3.3 Fostering Changes in Students’ Models

3.4 Criteria for Creating Good Scientific Explanations

Chapter 4: Evaluating Variables, Explanations, and Models

4.1 Evaluating a Scientific Model: Autumn Colors

4.2 Scientific Tests and Investigations Must Be Fair

4.3 Important Variables

4.4 Identifying Important Variables

4.5 Controlling Variables

4.6 Testing Variables by Observation

4.7 Testing Variables by Collecting Data

4.8 Fair Testing and Variables in the Classroom

Chapter 5: Designing Scientific Tests and Investigations

5.1 Testing a Model for the Mediterranean Sea

5.2 Strategies for Testing Models and Explanations

5.3 Putting Testing Strategies Into Practice

5.4 Testing Competing Explanations and Models

5.5 An Example of Model Testing With Students

Chapter 6: Problem Solving

6.1 Problems in Science

6.2 Using Manipulatives and Visualization Aids

6.3 Working Outside the Box

6.4 Patterns and Similarities

6.5 Working Backward

6.6 Estimations and Approximations

6.7 Implementing Problem Solving in the Classroom

6.8 Problem-Solving Ideas for Students by Content Area

6.9 Problems Encountered by Science Teachers

Chapter 7: Integrating Content and Scientific Inquiry in Your Lessons

7.1 Introducing the Learning Cycle

7.2 The Learning Cycle Approach Versus Traditional Teaching: A Case Study

7.3 Questions About Implementing the Learning Cycle

7.4 Integrating Problem Solving and Model Testing Into the Learning Cycle

Part 3: Supplementary Skills for Scientific Inquiry

Chapter 8: Observations and Inferences

8.1 Observations and Inferences in Science

8.2 Observations and Inferences in the Classroom

Chapter 9: Classification

9.1 Classification in Science

9.2 Classification in Elementary and Middle School

Chapter 10: Communication

10.1 Communication in Science

10.2 Teaching Students to Communicate Effectively

Chapter 11: Measurement

11.1 Measurement in Science

11.2 Implementing Measurement in Elementary and Middle School

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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