|Investigating the Rates|
of Heating and Cooling
I was so proud of these three students that day. They epitomized all that great learning should be in every classroom, every day.
Some students and parents may balk at my approach. "Why won't you just tell me the answer?" is an oft-heard question, especially in the beginning of each school year. But slowly, with encouragement and cajoling, I wean students off their dependence on quick, easy answers in favor of deeper thinking, problem-solving, and meaningful learning. I realize I may not be every student's favorite teacher at that moment when I ask them to do and think for themselves, but given our challenging times and complex world, how could I expect less?
The National Science Education Standards (1996) define the fundamental abilities of inquiry as follows:
- Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.
- Design and conduct a scientific investigation.
- Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
- Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence.
- Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.
- Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions.
- Communicate scientific procedures and explanations.
- Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
In its official position statement on scientific inquiry, the National Science Teachers Association "recommends that all K–16 teachers embrace scientific inquiry and is committed to helping educators make it the centerpiece of the science classroom. The use of scientific inquiry will help ensure that students develop a deep understanding of science and scientific inquiry."
These are the standards toward which I strive...