Viewing 6 reply threads
    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      What are some challenges you’ve faced in leading and assessing inquiry-based activities, and have you tackled them? Share your experiences and suggestions in the comments section below.
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Bill
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      wbondi83
      The courses I teach leave a lot of room for inquiry and I have been trying to build the amount of inquiry students use as they progress through the program (I have the same students from 10th grade-12th grade). My goal is that by their senior year, they are able to carry out an independent research project of their choice and write a journal article summary of their findings. This has proven difficult because I have realized with my seniors that I have not built enough of these opportunities in the past (often due to time constraints) and students are not fully equipped to do this. They do fine with the research portion, but coming up with a solid hypothesis and procedure is difficult for them. I typically break it up into chunks where they come up with a question and we review it independently, then they do research and propose a hypothesis, then they write the introduction, the begin to design the experiment and collect data. This has worked better than doing it all at once, but one thing I am missing is good rubrics. I plan to create rubrics for each step of the project to help students self-evaluate, and I would also like to incorporate more peer review. This year, this plan has been mostly abandoned due to COVID, but it is definitely a process I would like to improve on. (as a side note: I completely agree that I feel like and English teacher as well as a science teacher! Students struggle a lot with writing grammatically correct scientific papers!)
    • Christine
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      christinelamont
      Reading the the article made me think about the argument driven inquiry project I attempted earlier this year with my 6th grade skill class. The Questions was "How can you make an Action figure jump higher? They were given an action figure, 100g of clay a ruler and pencil to make a teeter totter with and the objective was to make the figure jump high. I had them play with the materials for a little while, then formulate a claim. From their claim I had them identify their independent and dependent variables and things that needed to be kept constant. They had to explain how they would change their independent variable  and what data they would collect. I tried to scaffold it as described, but the 4 day cycle and 44 min classes made this very hard. It was a very educational process for me, We did gallery walks on out claims and did a very good job on positive comments and refining the claims. The variable identification was good too, but when we came to collecting data and being critical of its quality, things headed down hill.  I think I scaffolded the procedure well, but didn't put enough emphasis on data quality and repeatability. I think I should have done some activity on this before we started. I'm wondering now if the lemon observation activity we read about might have been a good thing to insert before, making them think more about quality of observations.  I have also requested that next year I have the students alternate days for a shorter period , the long cycle length made keeping enthusiasm about the project hard.
    • kristin
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      kangello
      I have to agree with the observation made in the reading about how much time is devoted to teaching writing.  Students will frequently get frustrated with me saying things like "This isn't English class, why are you taking off points for sentence structure?"  I explain to them that a huge part of science is sharing your ideas and findings, and if you can't communicate your ideas and findings then it's almost like you didn't even do the work at all! I was fortunate this year to have a great administrative intern in my building who was an ELA teacher (I've tried to work with English teachers in the past but since I teach multi-grade classes it doesn't work too well).  She presented me with several ideas.  One of the ones I liked best was giving the students examples of excellent lab reports and have them work to identify what made the reports good.  Then I gave them examples of not so great reports and had them edit them. We spent about 3 class days on this, but I will say that the lab reports I got from that point forward were drastically improved.  Students were now producing lab reports that clearly explained how and why they manipulated data, and now had strong links between conclusions and their data (evidence)
    • Adam
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      sweeney718
      In my class, students prepare typed scientific reports based on a set rubric.  In my experience students are unfamiliar with getting out of the cookie cutter labs that are the most efficient (but not very effective) ways for teachers to complete experiments with limited time.  The rubric for scientific reports establishes where the points are coming from in general and provide students a checklist to make sure they are fulfilling all of the requirements.  Individual experiments then have rubrics attached to their lab worksheets which in most cases takes the place of instructions.  The general scientific report rubric allows my students to practice the way they share their findings in a manner that can be repeated and understood by others and the individual experiment rubric allows them to tailor their report to the specific experiment.  I like the idea of having my students do peer reviews on their reports and plan to implement that next year.
    • Aaron
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      asirtoli
      Inquiry based activities have been challenging for me to assess given the fact that students can take them in so many different directions.  It has been a challenge for me to assess these types of activities because student projects tend to vary greatly in content and direction.  The rubric format in this lesson is a good idea.  Using a checklist rubric will help guide students as they conduct their studies, and would be an effective tool for assessment.  I also like the idea of having students peer review other student work.  Also, having two adults proof read work is a good idea; it is important for students to get ideas from other peoples perspectives. Leading inquiry-based activities can also be challenging because students work at different paces especially when conducting inquiry based activities.  I find that having a well thought out checklist and schedule before such activities is crucial.  It is also good to have follow up activities ready to go in case students or groups of students finish their work before others. I recently thought of a good distance learning online inquiry project.  Students can look at water quality in a local stream of pond near their house (if they have access to such a place).  I was thinking of using water clarity as a means of determining quality (since we won't have access to any instrumentation).  Students could take pictures of water samples they collect, and describe the location.  We could see if there is a correlation between water clarity and human development around the water source.
    • Anna
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      AnnaEndreny
      My challenges have been freeing myself from the "content" to do inquiry.  One thing that inquiry requires is coaching students on struggling and not always having the answers right away.  Students learn a lot from the discussions with others.  When I started this on-line course I thought Citizen Science would be a perfect way to get kids outside and doing true inquiry.  We would no longer be hindered by "the bell".  Right now what I am finding is that with on-line learning my students are become very "black and white" and there is not a great way to coach them through their confusion.  If we were in person, I could do it.  It is impossible to do via email! In a few weeks, I would like to create a separate citizen science google classroom for students who want the extra challenge.  And/or I might find a way to incorporate some aspects to all my students.
Viewing 6 reply threads