Viewing 57 reply threads
    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      Choose a lesson you teach that you think falls along this spectrum of the levels of inquiry. In the discussion board below, please:
      • Describe the activity and state which level of inquiry the activity seems to be.
      • State the science practices you think your students develop through the activity.
      • Describe how might you modify the lesson to make it even more inquiry-based or more open-ended. What additional science practices might be supported with these changes?
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Christine
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      cterranova
      We have a pollinator garden outside my fourth grade class. In the late summer and early fall pollinators come and feast on the late blooms: zinnia, joe pye weed, goldenrod, aster. The students always wonder  which flowers the bees and butterflies like the best. I set aside time to sit quietly outside the garden with notebooks and they count the visitors to each type of flower. This is a structured inquiry because I guide my students toward the question and they are provided with the materials (notebooks, charts, garden flowers). The students use their data to decide which flowers the pollinators like best. This always leads to further questions: Do butterflies like different flowers than bees do? Would the flowers attract more pollinators alone in a garden of a single kind of flower? Do the various flowers work together to attact pollinators? I could lead my students toward guided inquiry through developing some of their questions about our garden and allowing them to come up with procedures they can use to test their questions.
    • Anna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      akleinsorge
      In my fifth grade classroom we do experiments with evaporation and water vapor.  Generally at the beginning of the lessons we talk about some key vocabulary, students tell me what they know, and I give them the topic of our first experiment.  Typically we do an experiment that shows the water actually leaves the cup and goes out into the air.  This experiment is structured inquiry because I give them the materials and plan to find out what happens to the water when it evaporates.  We use a balance, have a cup on each end with the same amount of water.  One cup has a lid on it, and the other cup has the lid under it so they begin balanced.  By doing the activity in this way students are carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, and engaging in argument from evidence.  To make this activity more inquiry based I could let the students be the guides on how to set up the experiment.  Since they would need scaffolding with this level of inquiry I could lay out a variety of available tools they could use if they wanted.  In groups I could ask students to write or draw an experiment we could do to figure out what happens to water when it evaporates.  From there, I could have groups present their ideas and the class could talk through which design or designs they think might be the most successful at answering the question.  Each group would then pick one of the designs that the class agreed might be most successful.  By doing the activity this way students would also add planning an investigation and effective communication of information to the science practices they would be working on.
    • Ron
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      ronbrohm
      I am a former k-12 teacher and adjunct college instruction. I am currently a Park Commissioner and I am creating a citizen science program for our Parks Department. We hope to engage our community to get involved with Citizen Science projects including local students, seniors and citizens at large. I plan to start by initially implementing a Tree Trekkers tree identification project, River water sample testing and birding projects. This course is providing very beneficial information and insight for assisting in formulating and properly structuring the programs and processes we are working on launching. I anticipate all 4 levels  (confirmation, structured, guided, open) of inquiry will be utilized to some degree in each of our citizen science projects with probably an empasses initially on structured and guided inquiry which will include, observation, data collection and some analysis.
    • Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Banjojanie
      I am a retired teacher who is currently taking classes, like this one, that I hope will be useful in supporting children and their families in my neighborhood who have become at-home students due to the closure of schools in our district because of Covid-19. As I volunteer with these families, and learn the interests and needs of the elementary school-aged children (K, 3, 6 grades specifically),  I will have focus for inquiry science lessons based on the curiosity and questions children ask. With that said, I don’t have a specific inquiry lesson to analyze and modify. Because our homes all border a wetland, I will use our unique proximity to this ecosystem to create answers for the assignments in this class. ___________________________________ Topic for science inquiry: Animal coverings Confirmation Inquiry- Students confirm a principle through an activity when the results are known in advance. Students are provided with: question, procedure, solution. Question- I wonder if all the animals that live in our wetland have the same outer covering on their bodies? Procedure- Brainstorm a list of animals the child has seen in the wetland. Describe outer covering. and put into categories Solution- We can see that there are a lot of animals that live in the wetland. Not all animals have the same outer covering. General categories are: fur, feathers, scales, skin, etc. Structured Inquiry- Students investigate a teacher-presented question using student designed/selected procedures. Students are provided with: question, procedure Question/ procedure- categorizing. We discovered animals in the wetland have outer coverings. How can we organize these coverings into categories? Students decide how to group the animals on the list they generated in the first activity. Guided Inquiry- Students investigate a teacher-presented question using student designed/selected procedures. Students are provided with: question Question/ children decide how to answer the question. We found a way to group the animals by their outer coverings. Why does each group have that particular type of covering? Open Inquiry- Students investigate question that are student formulated through student designed/selected procedures.
    • Laurie
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      PVAbobcats
      One of my favorite beginning of the year activities is to work with worms and discuss a bit about soil science so that students understand we need healthy soil for plants before planting a classroom garden. For these activities we create a worm habitat together and then in small groups learn more about worm preferences (dry/most, dark/light, response to touch, etc.). After this, worms enter the habitat and reside for a few days. Throughout all of this students are hypothesizing, writing and drawing in their journals, making observations, tracking data, and more. I am currently teaching 4th grade and plan to use this experience at the beginning of the year to set the stage for youth to start thinking about and devising their original questions they wish to answer while doing their science fair projects later in the school year. I love the idea that students can conduct open ended inquiry throughout the year but many of the experiences will be short (in regards to time allocated) but the possibility of online learning may yield much better science fair projects than in previous years!
    • Tracy
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      tbandy34
      I teach 1st graders. One of the lessons I give is on the needs of plants. We use seeds (pinto beans), cotton balls, and small glass containers. We discuss the needs of plants - light, water, and an appropriate temperature for growth. One container receives water and warmth but is put in a dark cabinet without light. One container receives water and light but is kept in the refrigerator for most of the day. One gets warmth and light but not water. And the final container receives everything. The students tend to know what will happen to each seed in advance and see these results throughout the process so this would be a confirmation inquiry lesson. They develop the following science practices: asking questions, carrying out an investigation, and analyzing data. I should tweak the lesson (but not sure how .. need to think on this) so that it is structured inquiry instead of confirmation. I'd probably change the variables somehow (maybe just use various liquids and water the seed with them) and not discuss the results in advance with the children. This might make the lesson more open-ended and allow the children to ask the question and design the investigation. I also need to give them an opportunity to communicate their results with people outside of the lesson group.    
    • David Lockett
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      DavidLockett
      I am a STEM Teacher with access to a floating classroom, STEM lab, and large tract of nature for observation. Middle school students benefit greatly from the engineering design process. The order and content of each step is crucial so that students come to concrete solutions. The key is teaching that failure is an important part of this process. Failure is what shapes students designs to their performance. Engineering design projects are hands-on, creative, and experiential. Designing and implementing quality STEM instruction.
    • Beverly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      bschieman
      I am not a science teacher, but rather an ESL teacher of secondary students.  One of the challenges for my students is using academic language in their content classes.  I'm taking this course as a way of helping to learn the language necessary for successful participation in science classes and potentially the larger scientific community.  I think that teaching students ahead of time about the different levels of inquiry, the difference between engineering and scientific questioning and how and when these are used, and then teaching my students the language genres that are specific to both and how, why and when they are used would be the most beneficial thing for them going into any of their science classes.  I think that any lesson I design that ties into their science content area would be to teach them the language of inquiry up front, with examples, so that they feel confident using that language in their classes.  We can study models of this using real-life examples of others conducting inquiries, pick apart those models for language usage, and then work together to create our own inquiry using that language.
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 33
      Pam Hosimer
      I am a non-formal educator as a Master Gardener where I use mostly structured inquiry to get students thinking about what they see and experience in the garden or natural world around them. I am also a formal Nutrition Educator but in that job I am required to strictly follow curriculum which only rarely uses confirmation inquiry. I am wondering how I could increase the use of inquiry in my teaching. Perhaps my best option is to encourage the teachers I work with to use more inquiry. One group of teachers I am working with is learning how to use hydroponic towers this summer. I would like to focus on ways I could support them with inquiry.
    • S
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      Ladyhawk85
      Investigating Photosynthesis This activity is about discovering what plants need for photosynthesis. My students usually know that we breathe out CO2 and that plants give off O2 - that there is a circle of life. They are asked to write down what they think plants need/consume/use and what they give off. Based on what they write, they are asked to give an equation for plant intake and give off. Ex. CO2 + water + soil + sunlight ----- O2 + food/fruit This activity would be considered Guided Inquiry because the next step gives them the question: Do plants use (consume) CO2 or release it when they are in light, photosynthesizing? The students then need to plan how they are going to investigate this - what's their plan for answering the question. How are they going to collect convincing evidence? How are they going to establish evidence of CO2? The students need to come up with a procedure and a data table. Students use a higher level of thinking because they are responsible for the design of the investigation. They need to be methodical in their procedure and figure out an indicator for CO2 (which involves researching). They are basically designing and conducting a controlled experiment, creating and using a data table, making observations, and then analyzing their findings. Their findings lead them to the concept of the activity and investigation of photosynthesis plus the higher level equation process from their original of CO2 + soil + water + sunlight  ------ O2 + food/fruit to plants use carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight to make glucose, oxygen, and water. This activity could lend itself to an Open Inquiry because the initial question of what does a plant consume/need/use and what does it give, easily leads to other questions (and usually does). Since this activity is after I have done plant and animal cells and their functions, which they are always excited about, a deeper expanding realm of questions seems to follow.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      Lingibbs63
      I have a wide variety of informal teaching experience, primarily in outdoor classrooms, and have used primarily confirmation and structured inquiry in many activities. Right now I primarily arrange and lead outdoor experiences for families and adults, but I am looking forward to developing a more robust environmental education program for the land trust I work for. I can see how implementing the many levels of inquiry will help expand participants' understanding of the world around them. One example of a structured inquiry activity we used once at camp was a large-group game called Predator and Prey. Students would be asked to relate their own definitions of the terms predator and prey and asked about what animals in the forest might be predators or prey. We would ask the students to name common basic needs that both predator and prey animals share (food, water, shelter, space). We would then discuss how often we observed predators in the environment versus prey animals, and discuss the concept of the food web pyramid. We'd explain that we would divide the group up into three different groups - mice, snakes and hawks - and ask about how big each of the groups should be based on the food web pyramid. Once split into groups, students would use a map to navigate throughout camp in order to collect tokens representing their basic needs. If a predator group encountered a prey group, a tag game would take place and those caught by predators would then transition into the predator group, then groups were required to disperse during a 1 minute grace time. After a period of time, we all reassembled, discussed experiences, tallied final numbers of each species, determined how many of each species did or did not obtain their basic needs, etc.  If allowed more time, I feel we could have extended this activity to use higher levels of inquiry, so that students could manipulate variables, test different predator/prey combinations and explore their own "I wonder" questions.
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      CoachGoody17
      I am a middle school teacher (6th grade science and 7/8 Environmental Science) in an independent school. While I am lucky to have the resources that I do, I was also handed a curriculum to teach.  Carolina Biological's Smithsonian Series.  While they (and I) have been describing this curriculum as inquiry based, I knew from the beginning it really wasn't completely inquiry based, but I couldn't put my finger on why.  Now I can see that there is much to be done in making these lessons inquiry.  At best these lessons are confirmation level.  There are many different lab-based inquiries which include investigations on density, volume, mass, etc... but developmentally, I am tasked with helping them learn how to follow directions, read procedures, work with formulas etc.  In retrospect, I do let them mess up and figure out how to fix it... but their work is confirmation inquiry.  Moving forward, I would like to start looking at the skills in science and move away from the "scripted" curriculum so that I may include more discovery, self-wonder, and interest for students to answer their own questions.  In this world we live in now, it seems the perfect time for independent studies where I can focus on science skills while helping to empower my students to be life-long scientists because that is what they want to be. I think sometimes we get so caught up in making sure they are knowledgeable in content, even though blooms, marzano etc tells us this is the surface of learning and we need to dive down deeper into more analytical stages of brain use. I loved the idea of using portfolios and dialogue to evaluate rather than to test.
    • Nikki
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      mswallacexth
      Describe the activity and state which level of inquiry the activity seems to be. I am definitely using all four levels of inquiry in my classroom. I teach at problem based learning school and we employ design thinking, collaborate on teams, lead ones own learning, and lead inquiry as some of our main competencies for all of the work that our students do in science and core classes. In addition to using inquiry, we design projects that overlap with the core courses so that we can team teach and develop one outcome or product to be scored by the team of teachers.
    • Cara
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      carafern
      Like some of the educators that already commented, I am an informal educator and only have students for a short time. One of the topics that we teach, Owls and Owl Pellets, would fall into the category of "structured inquiry" since students are told in advance of what they might find in their pellet. Maybe one way to make it more inquiry-based would be for the students to first hypothesize about what an owl would eat, and how they might digest the bones. If they can't digest the bones, what do they do ? What could they do? And so forth!
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        Lingibbs63
        I, too, am an informal educator, Cara. You have chosen a great example of an activity that can be implemented using many different levels of inquiry. Often there is such a time crunch that it feels like allowing higher levels of inquiry is impossible, but really it is sometimes just a matter of restructuring the questions asked, or asking students to come up with those questions, that can make all the difference.  Thanks for this!
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        Pam Hosimer
        Cara, I am also an informal educator and love your idea about asking the students to hypothesize more about what it is they are seeing! I always ask my students questions about what they see when we are out in a garden and then wait for them to come up with some answers and ideas. My experience is that if I tell them a fact about a plant they immediately forget it, but when they figure it out based on what they know and observe they remember it. Plus it is more fun to figure out the answer themselves!
    • Sylvia
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Sylvia_Qualls
      I teach a unit on wetlands, part of that is exploring the services, functions, and values that wetlands provide while supporting students in understanding what erosion is, how it occurs, and the role wetlands play in preventing erosion. I could see how in creating a model of a wetland in a pan that is just soil I could provide a context for confirmation inquiry. Students would be able to make initial drawings/observations of the initial model. I could then use a turkey baster or camera dust remover to simulate wind and ask students to make observations of what occurs. I could then use a watering can to simulate rain so students while students make observations about what changes, and explanations of what is happening in the model. We would then engage in conversation about students questions and explanations about what is happening. In the process students would be engaging in the Science Practices of asking questions and defining problems, using models carrying out an investigation, constructing explanations and designing solutions while engaging in arguments from evidence. Depending on where we evolve to the investigation students may have specific ideas about what would prevent erosion in our model. This would then set the stage for the next investigation which would be a guided inquiry with a wetland model that include plants. Again students would make initial drawings, observations and predictions since we will be modeling wind and water again. Students would then have the opportunity to consider what was different in the outcome between the two models, while developing explanations for what created that difference. As a start to inquiry, I think this is simple enough to allow students to engage with the science content while building experience with inquiry, science journals and the discussions process. If I were doing it later in the year when students had more experience with inquiry investigations I could see supporting students in small groups to create these models which would allow them more opportunity to simulate erosion, observing impacts and developing solutions to this problem while considering the impact of erosion.
      • Julia
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        j.hardy
        Wow! In reading this, I would love to know more about this lesson you do (how long does it take, what grades do you do this with and how do students feel about the involvement), and would you give me permission to use it?
    • Julia
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      j.hardy
      As a non-formal educator, it is rather challenging sometimes to be able to do a full inquiry lesson as most of the groups I teach I get 30-minutes to 1-hour with the students and generally don't have them again. Upon reflection, most of my lessons I feel are confirmation inquiry. Example: Each year I teach 4th graders rocks and minerals after they have had a trip to the local gem mine. I take items for students to test different rocks and minerals, I already know what each rock and mineral is but the students are not told what they are, they however have a multiple-choice list to select from. I discuss with them the rock cycle, and how they can test for the hardness, luster, cleavage, and streak. Students are divided up between stations to rotate around and try to figure out what the rocks and minerals are that they were given. Changes to make this lesson structured inquiry is to allow students to bring and test the rocks they collected from the gem mine field-trip and have a reference book, have them take blank paper and pencil around to the testing stations with them to note their findings at each station then help them to determine their rock or minerals that they found at the mine.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      Curious621
      Last year the first lab I did with my lower level freshmen biology students used fortune fish, those thin red fish that may curl in hands somewhat and then reveal a "fortune".  This was used in a guided and eventually somewhat open inquiry.  I gave each student a fish, had them place them on their open hand and then describe the result (so that part obviously was teacher-guided).  Then I asked why the fish curled or did not curl.  Then students speculated why and I told them to come up with a factor they could test to see what the cause was.  They came up with a wide variety of explanations and used materials in the classroom to test their hypotheses, some using water, some placing the fish on their desks, some placing the fish on other body parts, etc.  We saw varying results and then researched online to determine the actual scientific explanation.  This was not true inquiry because it was not truly open-ended but it was a first day activity, meant to be relative quick and easy, yet intriguing for students.  Students were able to wonder about the cause and then come up with a hypothesis to test.  In the future I think I could pick a topic that was not so cut and dry to allow for more open-ended investigation.  Maybe taking students outside, having them formulate an "I wonder" statement about their choice of topic, create a hypothesis to test, and carry out an investigation.
    • Allison
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      allisonmurphy
      I work in a Nature Center and lead just one hour nature programs for kids of all ages. It is very difficult in this setting to teach specific procedures and to see progress, as we don't have the same group of kids each time. I do have a topic that I really enjoy teaching that I believe often falls under structured inquiry or guided inquiry, depending on the day, and that topic is seeds! I talk with the kids about how it's important for seeds to get distance from the parent plant for their survival and the survival of the species, then we speculate on how the seeds could travel. While we don't write anything down because of the time constraints, we discuss a question, go out into the park to gather up seeds of all types, think about how each of the seeds could travel, and then test the "hypothesis." Or if we cannot gather seeds, I would provide them with the materials, which would be the structured inquiry approach. I enjoy the first scenario much more because they get to find the test subjects and decide on the procedure to test out their hypothesis. If I could do this program, and others like it, with a little more time I could have them write down their questions, hypothesis, and data in a journal. However, I could do a much better job communicating this scientific process verbally instead of the more unstructured flow I typically lean toward.
    • Phanh
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      phanhnguyen
      • My main work involves helping students to take care of the school garden, as an after school activity and not formal science teaching. However, there are plenty of opportunities for observations and discoveries when the students are outside interacting with plants and animals. For example, one time we saw a praying mantis on the tree trunk, and each one can give a guess about what it's doing there. Later we saw a mass next to it, and trying to guess what the mantis was doing with it. Some said it was eating it, some said it was pooping, some said it was laying eggs. We went on to think of ways to find out what the mass is. This is a very simple activity, and I would say this is in the range of guided inquiry, as the students were supplied with the question of: "What is the mantis doing?"
      • The practices the students develop are: observations, hypothesize, devise ways to test hypotheses.
      • I can modify lessons like this by having the students come up with their own questions ("I wonder..." questions), and together decide to choose which one to pursuit. This would support the science practice of posing questions and communication.
      • The lessons everyone has described below are all very interesting, and I will try to keep them in mind so I can use the ideas once the opportunities come up in the garden. Because my 'lessons' are very spontaneous, I'm just wondering if anyone has suggestions about how I can go about helping the students to pursuit their investigations further/deeper.
      • laurie
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Vagabondgirl
        Hi Phanh. The majority of our investigations are spontaneous as well. I've done two things: 1) Know your curriculum inside and out. Make a checklist of "Big Ideas" or "Overall Expectations" and keep it accessible (iPad, clipboard, anecdotal notebook, etc). When spontaneous learning/inquiry happens, make a brief note of the inquiry and the student(s) name(s) along with the student(s) wonderings. 2) Use the camera on your phone/iPad. I have about 15,000 photos taken over the last 10 years. This is not an exaggeration! YIKES! But a camera allows you to capture a photo/video that will help you remember the details of the setting/query/problem/solution etc in a concrete way that can also be used as pedagogical documentation later. A third idea is one that I will incorporate Sept 2020. 3) Make an "I Wonder.." wall. Students (and US!!!) can write/draw our wonderings on the wall to follow up during "independent reading time", for research projects, if we go for field trips and/or have expert visitors who can answer burning questions. Spontaneous learning often leads to the richest areas of study and I don't want to lose that in my practice. Have fun! Laurie
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        Lingibbs63

        @laurie Laurie - thanks for these wonderful suggestions for documentation! These will help so much with recall and follow up in my teaching.

      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        Pam Hosimer
        My situation is similar to yours Phanh! So I am taking notes from your ideas and Laurie’s suggestions. These are all great! I feel like I am good at encouraging my students to observe, hypothesize, and devise ways to test hypotheses in an informal way. Now my goal will be for me to be more purposeful and to ask students to come up with their own "I wonder..." questions.
    • ej
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      tejer!
      Where Does the Rain Go? I most often work with homeschool or community groups in a fairly rural area. This was  a mixed age group that only met once/week, so the activities were demonstrated at the building & property where we meet but then students applied to their own houses & properties. This project was part of a larger interdisciplinary unit (geography, literature, science, nature studies) that includes mapping and watersheds using Holling C. Holling's Paddle-to-the -Sea as a literary tie in. The focus of this portion is on surface water flow with the 'Big Question' of “if a raindrop lands on your house, where will it end up?” We did this in the spring when we were likely to actually see surface water flowing ;) Week 1: we predict & map (and if raining actually observe) the flow of water that lands on the roof (which has some dormers, a lower porch, etc) to the ground. Students repeat for their own house. Week 2: same for where to the water from different sections of roof go once it hits the ground (puddle or flow elsewhere?) We follow potential paths for flowing water to the roadside ditch out front and the stream out back. Students repeat at home. HW includes paying attention on the drive home to where the ditch goes and whether they go over any bridges that might be the same stream as the one out back. Week 3: adventure day! We wade down the stream (over many fallen branches!) to the nearest bridge. We switch to actual road maps/satellite views to follow the stream to Cayuga Lake. Students repeat at home (to nearest lake or major river). Week 4: Using maps & atlases, we continue following the route of our raindrops from their local watershed to the Atlantic Ocean. Students compile their map series (rooftop, property, local watershed, Atlantic watershed). Classtime is structured inquiry: the Question is posed and a procedure outlined. The HW can fall between structured and guided inquiry. Some students just copy the procedures as we did in class, others amend or add other procedures – many start exploring (literally & with maps) on their own before we do in class. And there have been creative experiments with pingpong balls thrown/water hosed onto roofs/into ditches etc to confirm flow predictions if rain is scarce... Scientific practices: Asking questions & defining problems, developing & using models (maps), planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting observational data, constructing explanations and communicating information (maps)
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      jenna132
      During our Web of Life unit, we learn about several different types of decomposers:  mold, fungi, and worms. One inquiry based lesson that we complete as part of this unit is a lesson on Mold Terrariums.  For this lesson, I provide students with the question that they will be investigating:  Which environmental conditions inhibit or speed up mold growth.  I also provide students with the basic structure through which they will investigate this topic;  Students are put into groups; each group is given a paper plate, a Ziploc bag large enough to hold the plate, duct tape, and different types of foods (We used bread, banana slices, apple slices, orange slices, and a slice of American cheese).  To show students how to set up their investigation, I create the control for the class-I show them how to slice up and arrange the food on their plate; how to label the outside of their bag and how to insert the plate inside the Ziploc bag and use duct tape to seal the Ziploc bag to prevent air exchange as well as odor exchange.  As I do this, I explain that I will not be manipulating the environmental factors in any way, so that we can see how these food naturally mold.  I then explain to students that they will be manipulating one environmental factor to see whether it inhibits or encourages mold growth.  We discuss some possible environmental factors they could add to the food, for example, I mention salt-we then discuss how people have used salt for a long time to slow down the decomposition of their food, and we discuss why this works.  In the past, we've also discussed how heat and refrigeration might also slow down mold growth.  After students have a good idea of what we are doing, it time for them to brainstorm as a group several different (at least 4-5) environmental factors they can manipulate. I do provide some, such as red pepper flakes, salt, a refrigerator, the classroom heater, etc. which they can try, but I also allow students to come up with ideas on their own.  I will provide them with these materials as long as they are able to articulate why they want to use this material (whether they believe it will inhibit or quicken mold production) and why.  In the past, students have used glue (They felt it would create a barrier around the food and seal out air interchange, thus inhibiting mold growth), soap, maple syrup, spit/licking the food, putting it in the dark, and soap to name a few.  We then share out our lists of environmental factors that we want to change; I list those on the board, and each group chooses the environmental factor they would like to change.  Since I have only 4-5 groups in each of my classes, I do set a limitation on factors-only one group in each class can choose a factor.  It just helps up get a wider range of observations.  Students must then write in their journals what environmental factor they chose to change, predict whether it would inhibit or speed up mold growth, and explain their reasoning for this prediction.  They then set up the experiment just like I set up the control and make the one environmental factor change.  Each day for the next two weeks, they come into class, look at both the control and their Mold Terrarium and record their data.  They are recording the following data each day:  no mold, first mold, less than half, about half, more than half for each food in the terrariums.  After the two weeks they make comparisons of the control and their Mold Terrarium; they look back at their prediction and decide whether their prediction was correct or incorrect based on how soon the Control grew mold and theirs did.  They then have to write in their journals about their findings and why they believe their environmental factor performed as they predicted or why it did not.  This is where I stop the experiment.  In the future, I would really like to move it from Structured Inquiry into a more Guided or Open Inquiry, for example, many students noticed that certain foods grew mold faster (ie. bread) and certain foods grew mold slower (processed American cheese).  A great extension of this initial inquiry would be to come up with inquiry methods designed by students that would help them understand the idea of natural and processed food and what that does to mold growth.  I'm not sure how to do it right now but think it would be interesting to tie back in to the idea that chemicals, coloring, and many other things are added to food to increase its shelf life.  It would be interesting to see how my students go about investigating this and what conclusions they draw about the benefits of and healthfulness of highly processed foods.  This lesson was completed in a fifth grade classroom.
    • Sara
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      SaraPi
      Our center has a freshwater pond that we use as a living laboratory. The accessable area is divided into to study areas. These two sections of our 'lab' have different vegetation growing along the shore, providing a fantastic opportunity for our third-grade learners to explore how different habitats support different animals, or even different sizes of animals. Students know we'll be conducting a scientific experiment and the quided inquiry begins with observation and questions. Gathered as a group, we ask students to simply observe the lab - asking what do they notice about the pond? Students note many observations, including the difference in vegetation growing along the pond's edges. After our observation period, we review tools and equipment that we can use to help us in our experiement. Students have access to large dip nets, smaller dip nets, large and small buckets, rulers, beakers, markers, and a datasheet to record observations. With these tools, students are excited to learn they get to wade in the pond to collect data (i.e. catch animals)! We ask what students what do they think we could do with the ruler - leading theg group to point out that we can measure the animals we catch. At this point, we ask students to think about animal size and what that might mean for survival. Is a larger animal younger or older? Students confirm that older critters will be bigger. Next we recall how each pond lab has unique plants and ask students to consider which habitat they believe will provide better shelter - asking if better shelter = animals live longer = larger animals? With these discussions we work with students to form a hypothesis and guide students through formulation using and if...then...because statement. Students collect, sort, and measure animals recording their observations as they go. After our observation we review and analyze collected data guiding students to evaluate shelter quality in relation to animal size. We compare results from other experiements (we have two groups each day) and discuss why results might differ. Finally, we encourage students to think about how variables (weather, time of day, season, group size, etc) might impact our study and follow up by asking students to think of other experiements we could conduct using the same study area. Students engage in full sensory exploration and practice observation, forming a scientific question, collecting, recording, and analyzing data. In order to expand this lesson into a truly open inquiry process we would ask students to develop their own datasheets. We provide datasheets in order to fit this lesson into an allotted time frame.
    • Jackie
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      JackieScott
      My students participate in science fair every year as part of their requirements of the lab science program at our school. Science fair would be classified as open inquiry. Students are allowed to pick up a topic that interests them. This is usually after in class I have gone through some of the other levels of inquiry. I start the year with a lot of confirmation inquiry and work through the others. Science fair is to see if students grasped the other levels of inquiry. I know that they develop making their own questions, gathering data, and interpreting their data. One thing that I need to work on is that for some of my regular classes I need to walk through a guided situation with science fair for these students. They are in need of those supports where they are provided with the research and we as a group design the project together. I am hoping that this program will help me develop that.
      • Laura
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        Curious621
        I am in the same boat as you!  My Honors Biology students complete high level independent research projects and have gone on to county, district, state, and international science fair.  They very much used open-ended inquiry.  It is my general level and lower level students that I have not yet turned loose on inquiry.  I need to figure out a way to do this so they can take ownership of their learning but still stay on task and pick a reasonable topic (not like which paper towel is the most absorbent)!
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      amyeroche1
      Last year I taught fourth grade and was working with the Investigating Evidence unit.  We had been studying local birds from day one, and the students were really intrigued with the investigation called Will a Fake Cat Scare Birds? They wanted to replicate it to see if they'd get the same data here in Los Angeles and interestingly enough, we did not.  So that led to a whole bunch of wonderings that consumed us for about a week.  Most of the birds that came to our feeders were sparrows and so the kids began researching sparrows and trying to figure out different investigations they could do to figure out more about them.  Their hypothesis was that sparrows are smarter or more brazen than the birds in the initial experiment. (Unfortunately the student just said "birds," and never identified what types of birds were involved in her investigation, so we couldn't compare.)  What started out to be an introductory confirmation inquiry ended up moving into a more open inquiry.  It was a great jumping off point for students to begin their own open inquiry as we progressed through the unit, but unfortunately COVID hit and we left it there.  Some students did continue with their own open inquiries related to birds from home and I tried to support them the best I could.  Luckily I am looping with this class and will have them as fifth graders next year so we'll have plenty of time to finish up and present our investigations!
      • laurie
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Vagabondgirl
        Isn't it fabulous when things don't go to plan and we have to just roll with the unexpected? So much learning happens! I hadn't thought about the potential varied results that could take place during the Confirmation Inquiry as the result is supposed to already be determined! But of course, that is the beauty of science... variables and the retesting of hypotheses and results is so fruitful. I'm excited that you'll be continuing your inquiry into the new year with your Grade 5 students. I am lucky to have my class again next year as well and, we too, shall complete a Bird Feeder Field test of feeders they built just before schools closed. I kept all incomplete feeders so that we are ready for the fall! Have fun!
    • laurie
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Vagabondgirl
      Last year, a group of four and five year olds took part in our "Kindergarten Field Ornithologist Program". The timing in parentheses was not planned. Timing was based on the natural flow of student interest, competencies and questioning. 1) Confirmation Inquiry (ongoing September-March). Each student took turns caring for our classroom bird feeder each week. As the weeks went by, students learned how to fill the feeder, identify parts of the feeder, measure the volume of the feeder (non-standard and standard units), names and characteristics of of different seeds, and observed various species of birds which visited the feeder. We also "trained" chickadees on our school-ground to feed from our hands. This provided students with considerable background knowledge to support further inquiry. 2) Structured Inquiry (January-February). As snow fell and the earth was frozen, we noticed only chickadees and squirrels at our classroom feeder which we were filling with black sunflower seeds. I wondered aloud: "I wonder if we would get different birds if we made different feeders? I wonder what would happen if we make different seed recipes?" Over the next few weeks, students were introduced to formal planning using picture-supported diagrams along with lists of materials they would need to collect for their prescribed bird feeders. Five different styles of feeders were made by the students which were hung in the Tree Restaurant located in our Learning Garden. Students selected their own locations on the tree to hang the feeders. Chickadees and nuthatches visited all of our feeders! 3) Guided Inquiry (February). As the students visited the "Creation Station" to build their pre-designed feeders, we began to discuss planning and building our own classroom feeder and the basic characteristics all feeders share: they must hold seed; they must provide a place to perch/land; they must have a means of being attached to a post or hang from a tree branch. We went to our Beautiful Junk Pile (an wide assortment of recyclable/reusable items) to select different things that we could use (some children needed something concrete during this abstract process) and then brainstormed together via diagrams and lists on chart paper before coming up with a plan. Final materials and tools were selected and listed and the students created a feeder based on the plan. The feeder was hung and birds were observed to eat at our classroom feeder. 4. Open Inquiry (February-March). Students were invited to design and build their own feeders. There were no limitations on the materials, size, or complexity of the feeders. Students selected their own materials and created their own plans and built their own feeders with minimal support (fine motor issues, safety issues with glue gun, etc). The results were stunning. Students created feeders that blended their understanding of basic components of the feeders while also "upping their game" by incorporating their own personal enjoyable experiences of food and recreation. *Isaac's feeder had milk carton adorned with old plastic play food glued on his feeder to attract the birds with pretend ice cream cones and strawberries. A bolt served as a perch and a ribbon was used to hand the feeder from a low branch. He also added "dry grass camouflage" to make the birds feel safe. *Larissa's feeder used old cd cases to create a chalet-styled feeder complete with a "swing" made from a broken beaded necklace. She glued bright flowers on her feeder's roof to "make it pretty" and installed a toilet paper roll to give birds a place to sleep. *Liam's feeder used a plank of wood which supported a broken metal mount from a tripod that could "slide" the birdseed back and forth between two perches so that birds could share. He decorated his feeder with two fake sandwiches to entice the birds. *Sally's feeder was for princess birds which required the addition of a discarded McDonald's Happy meal princess toy to showcase her 5 star feeder. *Jaxon couldn't decide on one feeder, so he hung a variety of feeders from a single broken broom pole. *Names are changed. Feeders were carefully placed by the children and the students were provided iPads to record any birds that arrived at their feeders. Huge celebrations ensued when the birds visited! Unfortunately Covid19 interrupted the completion of some feeders which included everything from china teacups to dinky cars. They are being held until next September as the students put so much thought into them. Two students created full recreation parks with splash pads and condos! The remaining creations will be completed and field-tested in the fall. This was, by far, one of the longest inquiries I've had in 10 years of teaching. It was also one of the most successful. Pending student interest, this is an activity I will repeat and refine over the years. IMG_5449  
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        Lingibbs63
        Laurie - I love your progression of inquiry level with this subject. I work for an organization that provides birdfeeders and seed to classroom and homeschool students, libraries, youth groups, families, and adults who watch and record activity at their feeders during a particular period in spring. I can see us using many of your ideas to present a year-round inquiry based curriculum that expands on our observation event!
    • Jessica
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      jmckenna
      I am a K-2 STREAM (science, technology, research, engineering, art & math) special area teacher on Long Island. In the fall, my first graders take part in a native bird study. One of the wonderings they often have is: Why do birds have different shaped beaks? As a group, we try to think about why birds might have different shaped beaks. Then the students take part in an investigation. During this investigation, various centers are set up at tables. Each group of students is assigned a species of bird and a tool (tweezers, spoons, clothes pins, etc.) to simulate a bird beak. Each table has a photograph of food (mice, fish, seeds, etc.), a cup (simulating the bird's belly), and various types of food (dried beans, seeds, pasta, gummy worms, Swedish fish). The students then rotate through the centers and have 30 seconds to "eat" as much food as they can. They record their data at each station. At the end of the investigation, we talk about their data. I ask them what they notice and why they seemed to "catch" more food at some stations than at others. Then we go back to the initial question...Why do birds have different shaped beaks? I ask students to discuss this with a buddy and then they share out with the class at the end. I believe this lesson would be considered structured inquiry because we discuss the question as a class and the students are given the procedure. They do not know the outcome before conducting the investigation. The students are learning how to conduct an investigation, record and analyze data. They are also learning to identify patterns and come up with a claim based on evidence. In order to make this more open ended/inquiry based, I could ask my students to come up with the experiment rather than prescribing it. My concern with this is a the development appropriateness for students in first grade. Doing this would help them learn how to plan and conduct their own investigation.
      • laurie
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Vagabondgirl
        Hi Jessica. This is so wonderful, that I am going to steal it for my class next year. I will be teaching Kindergarten for 11 years and there is still no end to the marvellous means of investigation! Re: your concern about the developmental appropriateness of the task... I wouldn't worry about it. Kids from 3-6/7 years are still in such a "magical-thinking" stage that the sky's the limit. One way to encourage risk-taking and creative thinking is to model "waaayyyyy out there" possible solutions, to the point of silliness. What if we tried to use pool noodles to pick up a seed or small rock? Can we pick something up with limp spaghetti? How about we try picking something up with only our lips? Can we crack a seed with our lips only? Why not? Can we crack it with our teeth? Why? Through silliness, we keep all options open and we make it safe to take risks. We also can be surprised at the results and the ingenuity of young children! Have fun and thank you for spurring on some ideas for me next year! Laurie
      • ej
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        tejer!
        I've done something similar before but more exploratory. Yours has several aspects that take it up a notch which I may incorporate if timing allows - especially using stations. I often work in small groups so we just gather round and share utensils and food and have an open discussion on what "beaks" work for which "foods" but the stations would allow for actual data collection. The photos of real foods the birds eat is a nice touch too! Thanks for sharing. ej
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 29
        Lingibbs63
        I, too, have conducted this activity with students, primarily in nature camp settings.  I like that it is so adaptable for the different levels of inquiry.
    • Alana
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      C.cyaneus
      I help co-lead an extracurricular lunchtime class for the grade twos in an elementary school in Canada. We did a Roots & Shoots program (Jane Goodall Institute) and had the kids brainstorm a variety of ways that as individuals and groups they could help locally, having a positive impact on the environment, the flora & fauna within and the people. The kids noted that there was a lot of cement around the school and not too many places that were wildlife friendly. They were primarily concerned about the lack of shelters for wildlife. We were in the process of observing the environment around school and noting which bird species frequented the area. They were also beginning to notice if they saw the same birds at home as they did around the school (lots of magpies were noted around the school ;-). The students were going to research which of the birds they had seen (native vs introduced) and were hoping to build bird shelters for the species that required the most help. Covid hit and schools have been closed since March. Fingers crossed we can continue this project when/if they re-open.
      • Jessica
        Participant
        Chirps: 27
        jmckenna
        This sounds like a lovely investigation that incorporates the engineering design process to build the shelters for the birds.
    • Antoinette
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      ahatzop
      I teach first grade.  We are fortunate to have 7 acres that we can roam so it was interesting to hear about discovering and asking questions about the different bird nests.  We have a number of different birds, and it is especially interesting and relevant to notice changes in the birds through each season. We also wrote a "Light and Sound" unit.  One of our structured inquiries is making kazoos, and that develops into a more guided inquiry when students investigate how to make different/louder/softer sounds.  At the end of this unit, students have a table of various materials to choose from (that have been collected over months) and can decide if they will make something that makes light or produces sound or both.  They choose materials and work on creating something.  The practices are: asking questions, making models and communicating information. To make it more open-ended, the children can think about a question they may have about light or sound and creating something to solve their problem.  I think this could add the practice of planning and carrying out an investigation to see if their idea works to solve the problem.
    • Alaina
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      AlainaYoung
      I work as an informal environmental educator, running programs for a land trust. For Fall Stewardship Day, we take a boat out to Potters Beach and do a shoreline clean-up, collecting data through the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-A-Beach program (with the larger Ocean Conservancy's ICC). This is a structured inquiry, as the data form already exists and we explain the process to the participants, rather than them asking their own questions and developing their own process. Through the activity, participants pick up debris in groups and count and categorize them on a data sheet. Afterwards, we weigh the trash and then go back and total each category to see what the most common aquatic debris is. They learn data collection and are able to hypothesize what they will collect the most of before beginning, and then compare to draw conclusions, inquire about where this trash might come from, and develop ways and strategies to limit plastic pollution. To make it more open ended, I can have the participants record data without pre-selected categories, and develop questions such as "Where will there be more debris, downshore or upshore?" "Will there be more plastic in the treelines or by the shore?" etc. That would better support inquiry and hypothesis building, and encourage independent thinking and active learning.
    • Nini
      Participant
      Chirps: 32
      Ninich
      My role at our school  is as an Ed Tech and even though I support students in the classroom, I don't have a lot of experience with developing my own lessons.  I am working to develop a series of nature videos as a result of distance learning.  Each video  has been around 10 - 13 minutes long, and I have had a particular focus for each one.  These videos have been shared with parents/students at our school and I have received some comments on them.  I would say that the greatest thing I have guided those who watch my videos to do is to observe.  For instance, I did one video on animal tracking while we still had snow.  I tried to encourage the observational skills one would use in order to identify tracks.  At times I showed how to measure straddle and stride or discussed qualities of a stride while filming my dog in slow motion.  I tried to ask questions of those who viewed.  Some of what we are being asked to write about feels like a stretch and I am struggling to deliver an answer that addresses the levels of inquiry.  That being said, I would say that my videos used only the confirmation inquiry and my encouragement to explore in their own back yards was inching toward structured inquiry.  If I were to modify this lesson, I think it would need to be real and not virtual, and together, we would continue to measure, and notice qualities of the tracks we discovered and interactions between them and begin to build a story.
      • Pam
        Participant
        Chirps: 33
        Pam Hosimer
        I’d like to see your videos. Could you reply and post the link to them? I’m trying to do something like this in the garden and would be willing to share ideas.
    • Robin
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      Salthouser
      As a public librarian, I have supported citizen science bioblitz events in a riparian preserve next to our library. The events took advantage of iNaturlist's ability to create projects. The library had defined the preserve as the project area. We were able to hold several bioblitzs mid-morning including a winter, fall and spring event.  I could see creating an extended series of events for a group of upper elementary or teen students to pose a question, make observations, and discuss findings. The bioblitz could be framed around the idea of observing migratory birds seen around the small lake in the preserve. Students would be provided with digital cameras, bird guide materials and binoculars. Access to iNaturalist would be the recording and database platform. The observation date would be timed for winter to take advantage of observing migratory birds (Phoenix, AZ). The students would be asked to determine and observe all birds they saw during the event, and determine if birds were native year round residents or migrating species. Their observations would be uploaded to the iNaturalist project. The student participants could create a chart with the identified migratory bird(s), and the time period by year when iNaturalist observations had been made. Another session would be looking at the observation data points loaded into iNaturalist during the recent project, comparing them to the observations from the previous bioblitz during the same time period the previous year, as well as looking at other riparian observations made during the same time of year, but outside the project. It would be interesting to compare their findings to a bird guide's information about range to see if the birds they identified were noted to be in the same range as the riparian preserve. If not, a discussion could be held with why these birds might have been observed in an area outside their range. The following science practices would be used during the sessions: 1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering) 2. Developing and using models 3. Planning and carrying out investigations 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) 7. Engaging in argument from evidence 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
    • Kristen Mae
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      kmaecarpenter
      I teach environmental education at multiple schools in the area. My most involved program is Earth Stewards, a 8-lesson program that teaches students about their local national forests and wildlife refuges as well as encourages them to find ways they can help protect their natural resources. Each lesson begins with a question: why are fiddler crabs important to the salt marsh, what skull adaptations do mammals have to help them survive, how are public lands managed to help wildlife, etc. I then have activities for them to do to help them answer these questions. For example, one lesson asks: why are wetlands important to South Carolina? I tell them by the end of the day they will know 5 reasons why wetlands are important. 3 of these are revealed through the lesson, but they must figure out 2 of them during our experiment. The experiment involves sponges to represent the wetlands. The students will hopefully notice less flooding when the "sponge wetlands" are present and can deduce that wetlands are important to prevent flooding because they can soak up water. Students will also model pollution with food dye (liquid pollution) and sprinkles (solid pollution). Their "sponge wetlands" should filter out the pollution and they can deduce that wetlands are important because they prevent pollution from entering into the ocean. Each group of students gets their own wetland model to create (with guidance), so they get practice creating a model and how scientists can use models to make observations and apply their model observations to real world applications.
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 41
      Acorn Woodpecker
      I really don't teach science lessons, but facilitate science learning through engaging young birders and their families on bird hikes to local parks and natural areas. During hikes instead of calling out birds that we are encountering on the trail, I ask families to download Merlin which is a smart phone bird identification app.  Families are asked to identify birds through the Merlin app when feasible.  Merlin poses a series of questions for families to answer based on their observations.   Along with local birds sightings from eBird, families are able to identify birds most of the time.  This activity involves guided and open inquiry strategies based on reading the "Many Level of Inquiry" article.  The families enjoying using technology.  Once the bird is identified correctly, then more questions can be posed about habitat and behaviors that can observe in the field. In terms of the NGSS, this activity involves analyzing and interpreting data at least. In addition, some field trips are timed to align with Bird events like the Great Backyard Bird Count and the Christmas Bird Count.  These activities give participants field experience in actual citizen science activities.  There are a number of benefits beyond science.  merlin screenshotlearning from these hikes.
    • Kathy Nerdy Birdies
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      kbalman
      Community science and stewardship are 2 of the main pillars of my program so for my activity example, I am using an activity that I set up for the fall, that involves the students participating in community science where they provided the opportunity “to do” science. The first step in this activity will be for students to come up with a research question regarding an invasive species in Arizona. From here they will find an online community where they can submit their data and/or find additional data to analyze later. Hopefully, they will also connect with a scientist in the community that will be able to assist them in answering any questions they may have and review their findings when the time comes. After students have formulated their questions and connected with an online community they will be able to practice their fieldwork skills and prepare to observe nature as scientists. Students will utilize skills such as observation, data collection, species identification, teamwork, and using scientific tools. Next students will make a claim and back up those claims with the evidence they collected. After making a claim students will work with their peers to review their claims and engage in dialogues that allow them to improve their data quality and communication skills. Finally, students will share their research data with the community.  By connecting student’s fieldwork to professional scientists, they will see real-life results and applications. This learning experience will look different across grade levels, but the underlying process that the student scientists will go through will be similar. To raise public awareness about and get the public involved with helping to stop the spread of invasive species students will also create posters that can be displayed at local nature and environmental organizations. An additional aspect I hope the students can add to this activity is actually doing a stewardship/restoration project where they can remove the invasive species they researched. This activity is an example of open inquiry. This activity allows students to ask questions, investigate problems, make observations, search for possible solutions, test out ideas, and think like scientists.
    • Edna
      Participant
      Chirps: 26
      wvteacher87
      3rd-4th grade- Wetlands By using a booklet by the US Army Corps of Engineers and many children's books, we start learning about the different kinds of wetlands. We use graphic organizers to compare and contrast and to identify cause and effect when wetlands are destroyed versus saved. (Confirmation Inquiry) To show how the wetlands act as a natural water filter, students conduct an experiment using water from local wetlands. We use 2 liter bottles cut in half. The top half is the filter and bottom half holds the filtered water. Students see how natural processes work. (Open Inquiry) Students make journals to record questions they have about the wetlands in our area. We discuss questions and if we can find data during our field trip to answer the questions or if we may need to research further to obtain more information. To extend this unit for Open Inquiry- I should have students design a water filter they would use if they had to, including drawings and detailed descriptions. The water filters could be tested during our field trip versus in the classroom. Science practices include asking questions, making a model of a water filter, testing the water filter and communicating pros and cons of the 2 liter bottle filter. Students could go beyond by designing their own water filter based on data collected during the investigation. The journals could include critiquing and evaluating the student developed filters and interviewing refuge staff at Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge during our visit to the wetlands. Also, I could include Career Readiness standards by tapping into the many professions of people who work with wetlands.
      • Deanna
        Participant
        Chirps: 22
        DeannaW
        I like how you started introducing the concept of wetlands and then allowed them to explore and to ask questions about wetlands around them. Seems like you peaked their interest and incorporated the local area to help them understand the world around them.
      • Amy
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        amyeroche1
        This sounds really wonderful.  A great way to incorporate the engineering design process!
    • Veronica
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      vhorton
      I engage my students in neighborhood walks at various times of the school year when changes in weather and seasons are observable.  One year at the onset of winter my students noticed nests in a few trees and it sparked a huge amount of questions and wonderings.  We went back to the classroom and the students wrote their questions and wonderings on index cards. We then read and sorted them into some categories and to see if any questions were similar and I wrote them out on large chart paper.  I asked the students to look at, reread, and think about which questions they really wanted to find the answers to. Eventually, the students put them selves into small groups and a few partnerships based on their interest in the questions. I assisted the students by directing them to books, videos, and other resources to help them start getting information to answer their questions. One question that a small group investigated was  "What are the nest made out of?" This question lead to explorations around different materials that birds used to make their nests.  The nest materials exploration led to a subsequent question "How strong are nests built with various materials?" It was like a circle the way one question led to another and how different groups investigating different questions very fluidly merged into and out of each other.  I knew there had to be some form of closure for some students while others were happily moving from one thing to another as they had "wow" moments of learning new things. The days work included students engaged in reading, writing, drawing, recording, and thinking about their findings and discoveries. At the end of each days work we had a sharing time for students to share what they learned that was new that day.  At the end of the year students had created these really elaborate projects that either answered their original questions, or showed the process they engaged in throughout their investigation cycles. I believe my students were engaged in many of if not all of the science practices although I did not name them for the students. I also believe this was an open inquiry because it was very student driven and I made sure I had a variety of resources available for students to express and represent their thinking.
      • Deanna
        Participant
        Chirps: 22
        DeannaW
        That is an amazing journey/story that needs to be shared with others. Have you even written an article for NSTA? I want to hear more of your students journeys. What age groups?
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 41
        Acorn Woodpecker
        Veronica - this sounds like a great activity that helps students learn about cycles and seasons. This is simple, but so real. Thank you.
      • Amy
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        amyeroche1
        Awesome!  This seems like authentic inquiry at its best.
    • Annette
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      AnnetteSteele
      I teach an entomology class and the students investigate various insects and creepy creatures such as hissing cockroaches, worms, millipedes etc. The students are in kindergarten and first grade. The first thing we always complete before any creature is revealed is a KWL chart - specifically the what I know section. This gives me an idea of what students think and if they have any misconceptions.  The critter is then presented for students to explore. After a few minutes the questions students have naturally start to fly. What do they eat? Where do they live?  How is the creature moving? and so on..  All of these are added to the chart and drive the lessons for the remainder of the week.  I also add my own questions to areas I want to guide the conversation such as exoskeletons, metamorphosis and life cycles. Therefore, the lessons become a mixture of guided inquiry and open ended inquiry. I had never really thought about what level of inquiry this is it just seemed natural to foster their curiosity. There is a lot of observation and research completed via videos and literature and the students keep a science journal to note their findings. I think if I added what if and had students focus in on a particular topic or question of their choice rather than my own interjected ideas  there might be a deeper understanding of one concept rather than an overview and a light dusting of many different ideas.  I believe where I am at is a good starting place but could be taken to a more meaningful level and increase investigation through observation.
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 41
        Acorn Woodpecker
        Annette - bravo for having live animals in your classroom.  Very cool.
      • Amy
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        amyeroche1
        A great example of authentic place-based inquiry.  I've been thinking a lot about insects recently because I just finished reading Nature's Best Hope by Douglas Tallamy.  It's all about native plants, but he writes a lot about how people don't know much about insects and as humans, we don't care about or protect the things we don't know about.  He goes on to explain how insects are really the glue that hold ecosystems together.  It got me thinking a lot about how I might try to incorporate entomology into my own classroom.  You've sparked some ideas...
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      maroberts64
      Sundial I have an activity that I like to do that is tied to Science and Math. Outside of my old classroom in Ohio was a basketball hoop pole, and I would pick a sunny day where we would draw a chalk line on the shadow of the pole. Throughout the day we would notice the change of position and length of the shadow. I would explain how the first clocks were similar to this, and I even found a sundial craft that students could create using cardstock and a pencil. I wanted them to see the connection of our clocks being based on the movement of our planet. From this, we would discuss the movement of the earth's rotation and revolution throughout our universe. I think this would fall somewhere between Confirmation Inquiry and Structured Inquiry, since the activity starts with the principals of a sundial and I encourage explanations and responses from students throughout the day about why the shadow moves and changes shape. Students think about the shadows and have discussions about how sunrise and sunsets aren't really the sun moving through the sky, but the Earth turning. To make this activity more inquiry-based or open-ended, I could have students observe the shadow of the pole throughout the day, after they discuss the best way to track the progress and how often to track. Perhaps they could come up with a better process than chalk :) Then the students could work together to discuss, document, and explain their deductions. We could also track  our "sundial" through the seasons to further investigate where the sun is in relationship to us as it travels. Hopefully students could conclude that although it appears that the sun moves through the sky, the Earth is actually rotating, and the sun does not appear at the same location or time throughout the year because of the tilt of the planet. sundial
      • Edna
        Participant
        Chirps: 26
        wvteacher87
        This is a great activity.  I like how you've taken something simple that may be overlooked.  Also, I like how the activity is ongoing throughout the seasons.  As far as tracking the shadow throughout the day and then throughout the year, students could use iMovie or Animoto to store the pictures and by the end of the year you would have a video.  (controlled variable- the time of day).
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 41
        Acorn Woodpecker
        Great use of something that can be easily seen and observed throughout the year.
    • Kandis
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Kandis+1
      As a 4-H educator, time is my worse enemy.  I am usually invited into a classroom or after school program for an hour, sometimes it is reoccurring; so often I use confirmation, structured and rarely guided inquiry in my lessons.  Most of my time is spent with elementary aged youth.  A popular series of activities that I would usually be teaching at summer camps is “Things that Fly,” over six lessons we talk about lift, drag, roll, symmetry, trajectory, gravity and much more by making paper airplanes, Alka-Seltzer rockets, water rockets and observing how they fly.  I believe the lessons are taught in a structured inquiry format, the youth are given the materials, we look at pictures of real model airplanes and rockets, youth are asked what makes these things fly.  Then youth make their own models and test them, as a group we observe them in flight, collect data by taking measurements, and then they can redesign if needed or at least talk about what they would do different if they had more time and draw conclusions.    Each part of the series is usually two, one-hour sessions, session one looking at the true model, and designing their own and the second week they test and redesign and make conclusions. Do this as a series of activities at a guided inquiry level I could pose the question, “Why do things fly?   Create a model airplane (or rocket) that can fly, incorporating concepts you find out about planes.” This would require access to computers so youth could research airplanes, a place for youth to consistently test.  Youth would be given a time frame, with a group testing at week 5 giving youth week 6 to redesign, draw conclusions and discuss concepts related to flight.
    • Smriti
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      Smriti Safaya
      I don't teach science, but instead teach physical and human geography (which includes some scientific topics leaning towards geology, climate, etc.).  However, there is just as much inquiry potential in geography as there is in science (I like to dream wide!).  The most complex project, which I would say is an 'open inquiry' type, is the extended essay project for Grade 11 students (16-17 year olds), which for geography requires students to:
      • come up with their own investigation question
      • develop a protocol or method to gather data to answer the question
      • use statistical and visual analytical tools,
      • develop their conclusions based on their results
      • evaluate their methods and determine ways to improve their studies considering any limitations or factors that impacted their investigation process.
      Students would have the experience earlier in the year to carry out a structured inquiry field experience with an umbrella research question provided ("What is the pattern of urban stress in Sham Shui Po, in Hong Kong?") - students are expected to create their own specific question that they will test using a plethora of methods of their own choosing (based on what is most appropriate for the urban stress factors related to their question).  The field work, data entry and data discussions are done in groups, though the specific question and subsequent data analysis is presented individually in a field report.  This is a significant undertaking over a 6-week period, but students would have had experience doing structured inquiry in an interdisciplinary geo-science field trip about coastal biodiversity and marine waste in Grade 9 (14-15 years old), so this wouldn't be an insurmountable leap in terms of skills and confidence.
    • Deanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      DeannaW
      Alka Seltzer rockets. After showing a rocket explode without any instructions, the students discuss how it occurred. They usually quickly realize that some chemical reaction occurred as we had just finished that unit. My question is how can we make the rocket go higher. After much thought, the students come up with around 10-15 ways they can change the rocket to make the rocket travel further. Although this guided inquiry allows for their own design and testing, I give them them the investigative question, help them with data charts, analysis, and conclusion. I think that I can modify the lesson with the control experiment as a teacher modeled investigation with the data chart and graph. Then the students would have a model to use when they chose what variable they are going to change on the rocket. They would be able to design a data table and chart based the control experiment. After testing and analyzing their data, they can communicate to others their results and then debate which variable affected the rocket the most ---which will lead to more questions. Can various changes be combined to make the rocket go even higher i.e. adding more alka seltzer and increasing the temperature of the water? Perhaps allow them to choose 2 variable and test them-- explain why/why not the combination made the rocket go higher than changing one variable
      • Allison
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        allisonmurphy
        You have some wonderful ideas! I do Alka Seltzer rockets during camps or whenever we need a "fun" experiment during programs. I often find that the kids don't quite understand or just don't care about the chemical reaction on paper, but just enjoy the colorful explosions! I think helping them think about the experiment and changing the controls is an incredible way to help them think about the reaction going on in the rocket. Thank you for the tips!
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      MIFRANKO88
      I teach high school biology (PA Keystone Biology Standards). At the beginning of the school year we have a goal that focuses on designing and doing science investigations. For this goal, we do an activity called “Designing Investigations with PIll Bugs.” The students work in small groups and are given a group of 6-8 pill bugs. The activity falls under structured and guided inquiry. The students begin with structured inquiry because the question and procedure are given to them. The main goal of the activity is to allow students to practice the skills of observing, collecting data, categorizing and communicating by going through specific scenarios. To begin, the students are asked to simply observe the pill bugs, then they move into gathering specific observations (such as, how fast can a pill bug run?) Beyond these skills, we focus on guiding the students through a process of designing and carrying out an investigation based on which habitat the pill bugs like more. We give the students a set of options to pick from: Do pill bugs prefer… dark or light habitats, dark or light surfaces, sand or soil, warm or cold environments, fish food or apples? The students are now doing guided inquiry for the second part of their activity. I could modify the second part of the activity in a few different ways to allow the activity to be more of an open inquiry activity:
      • I could simply ask the students to design an investigation to see what type of environment pill bugs prefer without giving them a set of questions to choose from.
      • I could display the materials that are available for students to use. Then the students can decide what materials they would like to use to design their investigation.
      Modifying the activity would allow the students to have a very active role in designing the investigation. They would have the opportunity to decide on a question, design and carry out the investigation then communicate their results. Overall, the specific results that are found are not looked at in detail. The main goal is to have the students actively engaged in the process.
    • Kinta High School
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      KintaZoology
      The vast majority of my lessons, unfortunately, do not involve inquiry.  Most of the lessons I teach simply give required information [core corriculum] and test my student's ability to memorize the material.  My students learn 'stuff' not the process of how to learn. However, since I am learning in this class, I hope to change that. For the seventh, eighth, and ninth grade science classes I need to get some raisins, soda, cups materials and teach more process of science instead of facts of science.  I also plan to incorporate materials learned in this class in these younger classes as well. Since we are a small school with limited materials such as microscopes, triple beam balances, virtually no lab materials the world outside the classroom window is the most practical route to "open inquiry". To describe how I will move to a more open inquiry, that is what I am learning now.
      • Deanna
        Participant
        Chirps: 22
        DeannaW
        I know I was there-- but now "we" have moved to more (stage 2/3) inquiry but not full due to time constraints... One way we changed is by starting with a phenomena and almost all the time the students come up with questions that were the ones that we needed to based on the curriculum. (It always amazes me.) Then we go into guided inquiry about how are we going to answer the question. I still have so much more to do but this simple start helps. Good luck.
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 41
        Acorn Woodpecker
        Kinta - I think there are some common core activities that can be adapted.  Kudos for you to doing more for the students. They are worth it.
    • Dianne
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      dhaley1
      In the activity, Melting Ice with Salt, students explore the physical changes of melting and freezing.  Students will use salt to melt ice by demonstrating and observing the effect that salt has on the freezing point of water.  Students will develop their understanding of science topics and practices such as states of matter, properties of matter, physical changes ( freezing & melting), elements & compounds, mixtures (solutions) through scientific inquiry.  Students are given two cups of ice and to one cup they add salt.  Every five minutes they measure how fast the ice melted by measuring the amount of water at the bottom of the cup.   I believe the level of scientific inquiry is confirmation, because I provide the question, procedure and students know the solution, in advance.  To modify this activity, first I would change the name of the lab to provide more of a challenge, How Can We Make Ice Melt Faster?   I think adding another material to the lab besides salt will provide more inquiry.  I think adding something like such as another white crystal substance such as, sugar, students will have to predict, gather data and provide results and reasoning.  Other science practices this may support is the melting point, the temperature at which the solid turns to a liquid.
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      michelle_quezada
      During a unit on Forces students worked on finding a relationship between force and mass. The question and method were provided for them. Students kept the acceleration the same in the procedure by using the same ramp and starting spheres of different masses at the top and measuring the distance the sphere would move an empty cup once it was hit by the sphere at the bottom of the ramp. Students were working at the second level of inquiry since they were given the question and method and had to explain the results using data. The science practices they engaged in were carrying out investigations, collecting and interpreting data, and constructing explanations. One way I could modify the lesson to make it even more inquiry based is by having students create "what if" and "I wonder" questions and sharing within their groups to choose one. After choosing one they could take time to create their own procedure to test their question and then gather data to come up with an explanation. Throughout the process I would assist in reviewing their procedure to guide them towards one that will help answer their question. The science practices of Asking questions and Planning and Carrying out investigations would be supported with the adjustment as students were not involved fully in these practices in the first iteration of the activity.
      • Dianne
        Participant
        Chirps: 31
        dhaley1
        Michelle, I like adding the 'What If' or 'I Wonder' questions and having the students share within their groups. It provides more thinking and reasoning to the activity.  Nice job, Dianne
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      alrichardson
      One of the extension lessons in our sound unit is making kazoos.   Prior to this activity we would have done some lessons and investigations that focus around our essential question for this unit:  How do different materials affect the type of sound that is made?  Students are given a empty toilet paper roll (punched with a hole),  wax paper, and a rubber band.  They build their kazoo with the materials, blow into it, and we discuss how sound is made and relate that to what we have learned in previous lesson.  I think that this particular activity falls into the confirmation level of inquiry.  The science practices that the students develop through this activity are: develop and use models, analyze & interpret data, and construct explanations. This lesson can be modified to fit both the structured and guided levels of inquiry.  Students will still be presented with the same question: How do different materials affect the type of sound that is made?  The goal will to be to make a kazoo type instrument but they will be able to ask more questions, plan their own investigation, analyze the data, construct explanations, and engage in arguments using evidence they have obtained.  Instead of a few materials being given to them, they will have different types of cylinder tubes (cardboard, plastic, metal, card stock to make their own tube), different types of materials to cover the end (cloth, foil, wax paper, plastic wrap, tissue paper), rubber bands, tape, paper and paper punchers of different sizes.  Since we would have previously made a kazoo they would already know the procedure and would still be presented with that same question.  This time they would be able to ask more questions such as how can I make a louder sound or how does the use of different materials affect the sound?  They would develop a plan and construct a model, analyze and interpret the data they are collecting, and make changes when needed.  Students would be able to construct an argument to support their discoveries, communicate with their peers, and compare their results to their classmate's investigations.
      • Michelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        michelle_quezada
        I like how you added an extension to the initial project. Since students would already have experience with creating a Kazoo, it turns the extension into a challenge. I can see your students really enjoying this.
      • Nini
        Participant
        Chirps: 32
        Ninich
        Your description of making kazoos and further experimentation into other materials and the sounds they make led me to consider how to guide students to making a model of a bird's syrinx.  This has been a question I have been posing as I listen to the complexity of the winter wren's call.
      • Jessica
        Participant
        Chirps: 27
        jmckenna
        Great extension to build on their knowledge obtained throughout your unit. This kind of activity really showcases which students really understood and internalized what was taught.
    • Johanna
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      jdelwood
      I began by reviewing the steps of the scientific method in class.  As a class, we conducted an experiment together following the steps of the scientific method.  This worked more as a Structured Inquiry.  I worked with the class to develop ideas for their experiment guiding them through questions.  While I was guiding the class discussions, the group progressed through the steps of the scientific method designing their experiment, carrying out their experiment, collecting data and drawing conclusions.  This did not place any of the responsible on individual students. Following completion of the class experiment, I assigned projects in which students were responsible for completing their own science experiment from developing questions to communicating conclusions.  Some of the students began to struggle at this time in developing their own ideas for experiments.  I wanted this to be student-generated projects, so I encouraged them to observe their natural surrounding and begin asking questions about what they were observing.  We discussed that many scientific discoveries were made from individuals studying their surroundings then asking questions to find answers for why things are as they are. When I assigned students their own science projects to develop based on their own questions, the students were working with the highest level of inquiry, Open Inquiry. Having completed the process together as a class, I believed the students had the tools they needed to conduct their own inquiry.  While working on their own science projects, students were developing skills in observation, developing questions, recording data, and communicating results.  Some of the students took their projects to an area science fair and were able to practice their written and oral communication skills. Some of my students struggled in developing their own ideas for a science projects even though we had worked through this as a class together.   I encouraged many times that they take time to observe the natural world around them or consider things they had questioned in the past. This article has led me to wonder if we would have had a different experience when we arrived at individual experiments if I had spent time with the lower levels of inquiry before jumping into Open Inquiry.  Even taking more time for Guided Inquiry may have given students more confidence when they began working in Open Inquiry.  Taking all classes through introductory activities to reinforce prior learning may be important to prepare students for Open Inquiry activities.
      • Dianne
        Participant
        Chirps: 31
        dhaley1
        Johanna, Thanks for sharing your activity.  I agree that for most of my students I would need to spend time in the lower levels of inquiry before heading into Open Inquiry.  I often find students saying, 'Did I do this right? or 'Was it suppose to look like this?'.  They want to do it right the first time, even though I encourage them to experiment, try it out.  It may have to do with their level of confidence.  Thanks, Dianne
      • Kathleen
        Participant
        Chirps: 41
        Acorn Woodpecker
        This is wonderful and looks like students have freedom to explore.  Thank you.
    • Vanessa
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      CPAWS-Education
      Students are given the question, procedure. Students are asked how many birds (and species) are in their neighbourhood, how they will collect the data (bird watching). Through the procedure, they are able to collect data and then analyze it and draw a conclusion of how many birds and species live in their neighborhood. Students are able to use a question, come up with a hypothesis, collect the data and then use that data to create a conclusion. Give students a topic and allow them to create their own question/make the question more open ended. Confirmation/Structured
      • Johanna
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        jdelwood
        I like that your activity engages students in observing their natural surroundings!
      • Mark
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        maroberts64
        I love that this activity takes place in the students' own environment. I wonder if they notice nests, bird preferences to trees or other habits when they go on their hunt?
    • Elisabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      evhartman
      While we don't teach lessons in the traditional sense, a very basic informal activity we do with children during educational programs is to have them determine what an animal eats, the area where it might nest or den, how it catches it food based on the appearance of the animal (size, coat, teeth, eyes, ears and so on). The level of inquiry is structured as we provide the questions, and give them procedures (look at teeth, look at eyes) and they then give explanations/answers based on what they discover while looking at the animal. The science practices of posing questions and sharing verbal results as a group helps develop confidence and practice in learning about experiments. To modify to move toward a guided inquiry, we will still provide the questions above but encourage them create methods to test their questions, to seek out other options such as perform literature searches in reference materials and analyzing data, this would provide them other resources to answer questions and draw their conclusions.
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      LauraYoung
      We do a seed growing activity -- students place seeds in cotton, add water, and put seeds in sunlight and in a dark closet to see if the seeds grow. I think this is confirmation inquiry, because students are provided with the question and the procedure. Through this activity, students develop experience in conducting investigations and collecting and organizing data. To modify this lesson to make it guided inquiry, I would make the question more open ended -- what are the best conditions under which plants can grow? This would support students in designing their own procedures to test their theories.
      • Elisabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        evhartman
        Great idea! Making the question more open ended I think would be very useful in what we do also to advance the inquiry level to more of a guided inquiry. We could use a question maybe like- how does this animal survive in the wild? And that would begin their journey on the investigation allowing them begin to create their procedures and methods.
      • Amy
        Participant
        Chirps: 24
        alrichardson
        Hi Laura, The lesson that you described reminds me of an activity we do called "Growing Sideways."  We place a cup with a planted lima bean into a shoe box that has a hole at the top.  We close the shoe box and the only light is through that hole in the top.  We also grow a lima bean in the windowsill with full light to compare to the one growing in the show box.  The kids just love it and enjoy "peeking" into the shoe box every few days to record our observations. I liked your idea on how to take this lesson to the guided inquiry level.  I think you are right when you stated that this will give students ownership through the individualized procedures that they design.  I wonder if you provided them with different types of seeds to experiment with (which ones grow quicker in sunlight or how do they differ when compared to other seeds that grow in the dark) if it would lead to some interesting discussions.  It would also be interesting to have some students test their investigations with natural sunlight versus artificial light like lamps.  I bet they love this lesson!  Teaching science and watching their minds think and create is so fun!
      • Mark
        Participant
        Chirps: 25
        maroberts64

        @Amy I did an activity similar to this when I was in elementary school, but I put a couple partial wall inside the box to make a sort of a maze. I remember how cool that experiment was even today, so many years later! I might have to steal your shoebox idea :)

      • Alana
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        C.cyaneus

        @Amy What a wonderful twist to the experiment. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

    • Taylor
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      TSimon95
      One of the lessons I did with a Kindergarten class was a vinegar and baking soda eruption experiment. The question and the procedure were provided to the students, but the solution was not so students had the opportunity to provide their theories and hypotheses to the class. This would be the structured level of inquiry, because I did provide the students with the question and procedure instead of having students formulate their own questions and procedures. Through this experiment, students were able to learn about the scientific process and learn about formulating hypotheses and theories about what they thought the solution would be. I think that this experiment could easily be made into a guided inquiry lesson in which I could pose the question about what happens when you mix the substances, and allow the students to figure out how they want to proceed in the experiment. Although Kindergarteners are young, their natural curiousity and openness to learning allows them to figure out a lot of interesting ways of completing tasks that adults may not even have thought of! By allowing the students to figure out their own procedure, they would have developed a deeper understanding of how procedures are formulated in the scientific process.
      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        NRGregory
        Sounds like fun! I think Kindergartners may need to have that structured experience early in the school year and still have the experience of pondering the outcome as a group (or in pairs). That's a fun demo to get them "hooked on science" and engage in valuable language development for this age. The proceeding guided inquiry lessons will flourish with this structured experience as a base.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      NRGregory
      Beautiful Birds is a 45 minute program I teach each spring with Kdg-2nd gr. students. We are a field trip destination with no prior experience with each particular group of children.  After a brief intro, students are placed in groups of 4-5 and given a paper plate with "bird food"( pasta, beans, pompoms, paper clips and pennies). They are then each given a tool that can be associated with bird beaks            ( tweezers, spoon, toothpick, tongs and fork).  Each group is asked to collaborate in order to predict what tool would be best for each type of food and construct an explanation as to why they have chosen that match up.  Subsequently, group members try to collect all the food they can with their given tool within a short 60 seconds. We wrap up the inquiry with an accounting of food collected and a discussion as to what worked, or did not work as planned, for each food type and why. I then show specimens of real birds and we discuss the correlation of their beak adaptation to their diet. Students are able to apply the finding from their experimentation and see how some beaks are very similar to the tools they used. (If time, we relate the beak/food preference to migration.) This is a structured inquiry since the question and procedure are provided but the students generate the explanation of the results supported by the evidence from their experimentation. One way to further this lesson, and lead it into a guided inquiry, would be for the teachers to use the supplemental (post-trip)materials. These materials encourage the group to set up a bird feeding station outside the classroom/at home and to observe and  record data as to birds feeding and their choice of seed type/location of feeders.
      • Alana
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        C.cyaneus
        What a wonderful way for young children to explore the association between bill shape and diet, all the while approaching it as a fun game!
    • Carlos Eduardo
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      jumabita
      "Nesting parasitism of Molothrus bonariensis in Zonotrichia capensis" -The activity that consists of several stages, begins with the observation in the field of the nests of Zonotrichia capensis and obviously the bird species mentioned; As they are Molothrus bonariensis and Zonotrichia capensis, they are analyzed, apart from this the nests are identified and differentiated. The existing theoretical information of the two mentioned species is reviewed. In the classroom with data collection, analyze the observation examples and expose the hypotheses of the students. Collecting all the information and turning it into common information. -The scientific practices that develop with this process are observation, identification, drawing questions, investigating, drawing conclusions and developing hypotheses. -Review other research related to the topic directly to make a comparison with the conclusions drawn from the hypotheses. Make computer graphics to compare and evaluate statistics that evaluate more truthful and scientific conclusions.
    • Liz
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      lsiepker
      1. Chemical reactions lab using four types of chemical reactions and it would be a structured inquiry lab. 2. The science practices that students engage in during this lesson would be asking questions, carrying out an investigation (they wouldn't necessarily have designed/planned it though), analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematics, constructing explanations, and communicating their information via a lab report format. 3. To make it more inquiry-based I would provide students with a list of chemicals and equipment and let them combine reactants after they've researched the chemicals. Instead of telling them the reactants, I would let them pick based on properties we would have already discussed. By doing this, it would give students the opportunity to actually plan their investigations and argue from evidence about why certain chemicals were chosen as reactants over others available.
    • Holly
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      hrdevault
      I would like to do a demonstration in the classroom illustrating 3 things plants need to grow: sunlight, water and soil. This would be a confirmation inquiry. The control group is 4 plants in potting soil placed near a window and watered as needed. The light group would be 4 of the same kind of seedlings in potting soil placed in a dark place and watered as needed. The water group is 4 of the same kind of seedlings in potting soil placed near a window but not watered. The soil group would be 4 of the same kind of seedlings with wet paper towels around the roots placed near a window and watered to keep the paper towel wet. Regular measurements of plants height and other observations are made. The students would then make conclusions about what a plant needs to grow. Following this inquiry, students could then do a structured inquiry where a similar process with seedlings is done with more specific plant needs tested such as comparing how plants respond to natural sunlight versus different types of artificial light, or several different soil mixtures. Next students could do a guided inquiry with the research question about plant needs that the students would have to create, test and explain.
    • Andrew
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      acatt1920
      I teach environmental education at an elementary school through an afterschool program though I do work with teachers to begin incorporating outdoor education into the classroom. We've achieved numberous certifciations through our schoolyard habitat program and sustainability initiatives. My approach has been traditional teaching of inforamtion with "hands-on" work. This re-thinking to the way of inquiry is a new adventure for me. We have an upcoming project of growing plants in hydroponic bays. We will record data on growth and will monitoring nutrient and pH levels and record how that affects growth. I can see how using a confirmation inquiry level would best benefit our students invovled as they would new to data collection and we would be teaching them this skill. Hopefully, as this is a several month project, we would be able to transition to a more structured level, allowing students to make thier own predictions in the outcome of adjusting pH levels and how varying water quality affects plant growth.
      • Sara
        Participant
        Chirps: 30
        SaraPi
        I'm new to inquiry-driven learning too and it's definintely an adjustment - but such a gooood one! Your project sounds great for teaching students how to collect data and discussions of what affect plant growth. I think you could easily expand this to a more student driven inquiry by asking students how water quality, pH, light availability, etc affect plant growth. What a great extended learning program!
    • Clara
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      RedHawkBud#1
      I work at an outdoor science camp. Our site is COSA certified and teachers select the 2.5 hour activities that they would like their students receive. One of the options teachers can request is our "Wonders of Water" program. Each session of the program consists of approximately 21 students, 3 chaperones and the naturalist instructor/guide. The concepts reinforced and/or introduced to the students during this program are the water cycle & watershed, wetland and creek and pond macro-invertebrate collection and water testing (which includes pH testing, temperature, plankton netting, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and bottom dreging to understand how natural and human processes can affect the water quality of our pond and creek. Ultimately trying to answer the question "Are the pond and creek healthy habitats?" The water cycle portion is mostly review and having students discuss how human activities can affect water quality.  Students participate in a watershed model demonstration where different objects are placed on the model and then discuss what happens when it rains. Discussion includes the "what happens if" scenarios of farming with pesticide use, animal waste in creeks, and human activity along different areas of the watershed. This portion is basically 1st level or confirmation inquiry.  Students experience conducting an investigation. Approximate time is about 20 minutes. In the wetland portion students participate in discussion on what is a wetland, how is it important and how does it factor in water quality. In this portion of the program students hike through different features of our campus that help with water quality of our creek and pond. We have bioswales in the parking lot, water retention basin, grey water recovery and reuse and storm rain collection tanks. Students discuss how these features help the creek and pond. After this short hike and reading about and taking notes about the adventures of  "Drip" the raindrop through these different pathways on our educational signage students play the Wetland Mystery Game. Students work in groups of 3 or 4 students and reach into a bag where they pull out an object (picture of a bed, a coffee filter, a sponge etc) They are given 5 minutes to brainstorm and discuss how that object relates to the function of a wetland. Groups then present their ideas to the entire group and other can agree, disagree or ask for more information and evidence from the notes taken during the hike. This stage of the program is mostly structured inquiry with some open inquiry for scientific reasoning and cognitive demand from students. Approximate time 40 minutes. In the next phase we introduce macro-invertebrates and how some organisms are more sensitive to environmental factors (dissolved oxygen, pesticide runoff ect) through playing a tagging game. Three to 4 rounds are played and students are asked to make observations of outcome of each introduced factor and what does that mean in a real habitat. This stage is mostly 2nd level with some communication of scientific reasoning. Aproximate time 20 minutes. In the collection and testing portion students are given nets and trays to collect macro-invertebrates they work as team in their cabin groups with their chaperones assisting with reading instructions for equipment use as they rotate through different sites around the pond. The naturalist rotates as well answering any question about equipment use and demonstrating if needed. Students record observations and record ideas. This stage is also mostly structured inquiry but with elements of the 4th stage open inquiry. The students carry out investigations and record results. Approximately 60 minutes. There is a 10 minute discussion of what the recorded results tell us about the health of the pond and compare to the tests performed at the creek . Discussion is not ended with an answer but with another question Could it be healthier and what other things could we measure that might give us more information? This is guided inquiry but without the ability to actually perform more investigation due time constraints. Possibles changes would be to layout the equipment and allow students to choose which tests they think are most relevant to their definition of "what is a healthy pond /creek? This would allow students to design their own investigations  but we have found that most of our students are still in the 2nd and 3rd level upon arrival to camp. Our students come with diverse range of skills and our goal is to have as many students as possible learn to observe, record observations and explain what they think that data means. Our camp is only one week out of their school year and the biggest concept that I like to see our students realize is that science is not hard we are scientists from the moment we are born we just need the tools to practice being effective scientists and open to changes in our thinking.
      • Liz
        Participant
        Chirps: 15
        lsiepker
        What an excellent outdoor activity! For the last part, I think it would be fun for students to also be able to do water quality testing. Maybe that is already part of the open inquiry but parameters of a water quality testing could be used to help answer the question of "what is a healthy pond / creek?"
      • Deanna
        Participant
        Chirps: 22
        DeannaW
        Love the program. I know how you are quickly trying to assess where the students are with outdoor ed, trying to expose them to all of the knowledge, and trying to have them experience environmental ed. It seems that perhaps an quick last culminating finale could be more of a stage 4 inquiry -- by going to a new setting, perhaps a different part of the water and ask-- how can we determine the health of the watershed?--- laying out all of the tools that they learned to use, perhaps posters to remind them of what they learned to look for (habitat analysis). 15 minutes to analyze whether it is a healthy or not and then have a debate. Hmm... I think I will do this when we go to stream next time.  It may reveal what they learned and how they connect other concepts like erosion in their analysis.
      • Sylvia
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        Sylvia_Qualls
        I have done many of these activities with my students, and thinking about how to create a structured inquiry experience for wetlands seems doable. It definitely takes some knowledge development to support students in understanding what different macro-invertebrates or the variety found indicate about the health of water. I have often used the Macro Mania activity kit to help my students build background knowledge of macro-invertebrates, before we get into the field. I think it is a wonderful experience for kids to be able to spend a week in nature exploring  opportunities to better understand what gives us a larger picture of the health of a body of water.
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