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    • 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.
    • kristin
      Chirps: 11
      I feel that I am able to present lessons in Guided Inquiry well, but Open Inquiry seems diffiuclt for me to attain.  I think it's a combination between getting students to be observant in their world and be forthcoming with questions, and also having the freedom in my curriculum to allow students to explore their questions. I think the best lesson/project that I do is what I call "Wiring a House".  Students are tasked with installing four electrical "appliances" in a cardboard box.  The appliances must operate independently of each other.  Students must learn how to create circuits so that lights can stay on in one "room" when they are turned off in another "room".  They also must learn about electrical laws so that they keep from damaging equipment.
    • Adam
      Chirps: 12
      One interesting lesson I do on batteries involves students investigating how to make a battery from fruit and vegetables.  A battery uses zinc galvanized nail and copper strips to power a light or clock.  In this activity I demonstrate how putting the nail and copper strip into a lemon can cause a LED light to glow.  I then allow students to work in small groups and experiment with different fruits and vegetables to determine which would could be used as a battery.  I provide students with a graphic organizer to record their thought and observations.  After the activity groups share our their thoughts and conclusions.  I would rate this lesson between a 2 and 3 on the inquiry spectrum.  I could increase the level of inquiry here by allowing students to pose their own questions and experiment with the fruit instead of a demonstration.  I could also allow the students come up for themselves what they would like to investigate instead of asking them to determine which items make the best batteries.
    • Bill
      Chirps: 12
      One of the most fun lessons I teach that falls along this spectrum is the lesson where students test "mind over muscle". In this lesson students are given the question "Does coaching actually allow an individual to overcome muscle fatigue?". Before this lesson, students are given the background on muscle physiology and the interaction between the nervous system and muscle control. For the lesson itself, students are given materials to measure muscle strength and electrical impulses within the muscle itself using computerized sensors. For the first round, students test their muscle strength by squeezing the sensor, without looking at the live data on the screen, for a full two minutes and their partner "coaches" them by providing encouragement for the last 20 seconds. Students record the data they generated to analyze later. For the second round, students have a choice of a variable they would like to test. For example, they can look at the screen while squeezing the sensor, they could compete with another group, or they could use coaching from another person or a different length of time. Afterwards, they have to analyze their data and see if the coaching or other variable could help them overcome the muscle fatigue and help them increase the grip on the sensor. Since I am laying out the materials, and question, but also allowing them to collect their own data and extend it with their own variables, I would say this is between a 2-3 on the inquiry spectrum. To increase the inquiry, I could have students develop their own questions using the materials provided and allow them to develop their own procedure to answer this question.
    • Anna
      Chirps: 14
      I just finished a unit from BSCS called "M'Kenna, Medical Mystery".  The students are given a scenario where a girl has symptoms like weight loss and fatigue.  They try and figure out what is wrong with here.   In the process they get more evidence (endoscope pictures and report) and they discover that all her villi are flattened.   This actually takes a month (and 4 months if you do it like they tell you to do it) because there are lessons on, nutrient and body molecules,  absorption, cells, tissues, digestive system and other systems embedded in the unit.   All the activities are either structured inquiry or confirmation.  For example, when students are learning about absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract through the villi to blood, they do a confirmation lab with starch/iodine and dialysis tubing.  They confirm that it is iodine travels across the cell membrane and that starch does not.  They then see pictures of each molecule and explain the reason the iodine travels (it is smaller) than the starch.   Lastly they connect this movement to the idea that food molecules must be broken down in order to be small enough to move across cell membranes and into the blood. Students used the following practices-they collected data from the lab, they wrote a CER (Claims, Evidence and Reasoning) to explain why the iodine moved across the membrane.   Then they modeled the absorption process through drawing how the food molecules break down and move from digestive tract, to the blood.  They made a model of someone with healthy villi and compared to someone with flat villi. I do not think I would modify these lessons because they did a good job of teaching the content embedded in with an inquiry.  However, they never got to a guided or open inquiry process.  I think that after the unit is done and perhaps in conjunction with a ELA teacher, they could create a question related to another set of symptoms or disorder and research it using the practice of obtaining and evaluating information.  Another idea is that maybe I could give them a set of data, like on obesity or some other public health problem, and they can design a question and way that they will look at the data to answer the question.
    • Christine
      Chirps: 14
      - I'm rating this as a 2ish, Structured inquiry. The activity is having 6th graders plan how to make an action figure jump higher, ( based on an argument driven inquiry lesson) he is placed on a teeter totter made from a ruler and a pencil. They are allowed to use up to 100g of clay, dropped from varying heights and with varying positions for the fulcrum. Their objective is  to make a claim about what variable makes him jump higher them collect evidence to test their claim. - I think Im having them practice measuring, observing, designing solutions on how to measure, determining reliability in their data collecting method, presenting evidence and discussing their ideas with groups with different ideas - I could provide more supplies (more options), while still trying to limit them to the concept of potential to kinetic energy I use this activity to investigate.  
    • Aaron
      Chirps: 15
      I recently taught a lesson on enzymes.  We studied the enzyme catalase, and learned about its role in the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in the liver.  We learned how catalase is present in many organisms, including potato roots. I demonstrated how hydrogen peroxide reacts with potatoes.  The next part of the lab involved students asking questions about how different conditions influenced the rate of reaction between the catalase enzyme in the potato and the peroxide.  Students had the ability to change conditions such as pH, temperature, and concentration. Students were asked to make predictions about how changing these variables would influence the rate of reaction.  Students then were asked to conduct tests to see how changes in these variables influenced the reaction rates. Students had to determine how to record data, and had to use their data to answer their questions.  Students then determined whether or not their predictions were confirmed or rejected by their data. I believe this activity falls into the category of guided inquiry, since students were provided the question, and had to come up with a procedure to test the question. Some science practices that students learned included writing a procedure, carrying out a procedure, obtaining and analyzing data. To increase inquiry, I could modify the lesson by demonstrating the reaction to students, and having students ask their own questions about the reaction.  After watching the reaction, students could write “I wonder” questions about the reaction. Students could choose a question to test, create a procedure, conduct the test, and obtain data.  The science skills of asking questions, making observations, and creating an investigation would be supported by these changes.
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