Teaching scientific enquiry
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Teaching Scientific Enquiry. Objectives: To provide the department with some useful strategies for delivering Scientific Enquiry/Ideas and Evidence. To work out a plan of action as a result of this meeting. Scientific Enquiry includes: 1. Ideas and Evidence

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Teaching Scientific Enquiry

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Teaching Scientific Enquiry


To provide the department with some useful strategies for delivering Scientific Enquiry/Ideas and Evidence.

To work out a plan of action as a result of this meeting.

Scientific Enquiry includes:

1.Ideas and Evidence

  • Understanding the meaning of science.

  • Understanding that scientific ideas need to be supported by evidence and new evidence may lead to scientists changing their ideas.

  • How religious views, political intervention, complexity of ideas or poor communication channels can affect scientific developments.

  • The importance of argument and controversy to test ideas.

2.Enquiry skills

  • Surveys and correlations.

  • Identifying and classifying.

  • Predictions with Scientific reasoning.

  • Devising and carrying out fair tests.

  • Analysis of results and devising conclusions.

  • Evaluating the tests taking into consideration reliability, accuracy, improvements.

Why teach Ideas and Evidence / Enquiry skills?

  • helps to motivate students because it brings out the human aspects of science.

  • Students are motivated by carrying out practical work which provides the evidence to ‘re-discover’ ideas.

  • Teaching these skills explicitly helps to arm pupils with skills which can be applied to a variety of situations and in adult life.

  • Improves thinking skills so that pupils become better learners.

  • Greater proportion of test marks are derived from I & E. National tests show there is room for improvement.

  • Much higher priority in KS4 2006 science POS.

How can we teach Ideas & Evidence?

  • Tell stories about scientists to bring in the human element.

  • Devise spider diagram with a key question in the centre linking to evidence statements.

    eg. Smoking is bad for you because ….evidence.

  • Use evidence cards to explore what constitutes ‘Evidence’.

  • I & E past questions (see ‘Improving pupil responses to exam questions’ sheet)

Evidence cardsExercise is good for you

Evidence cardsThe Earth rotates on its axis

Evidence cardsMatter is made of particles

How can we teach Enquiry Skills?

  • Enquiries should be about something that students don’t know the answer to. Following rigid instructions in order to arrive at a desired result doesn’t develop enquiry skills.

  • Using the large‘Enquiry posters’ to scaffold investigations helps to develop enquiry skills.

  • Relate learning objectives to the Scientific Enquiry YTO’s rather than to knowledge and understanding.

    eg. LO: to recognise the difference between the reliability of evidence/results and accuracy of equipment

Use the Enquiry cycle

  • Ice in a beaker

  • Bungee!!

    Next visit

  • Ice and butter

  • Tea bag rocket

  • Lavoissier’s work on burning

What do

you think?

Do you still

think that


Why do

you think that?

Scientific enquiry

How could

you find out?

Put the Ice in a beaker!

Watch and write a sentence about what you see on the outside of the beaker.

Where has the water come from?

What do you think?

Write a sentence.

Why do think that?

Write a sentence or two.

Try to use the key ideas.

What do other people think?

In the class?

What do other people think?

Further afield?

I think that the water from the air around the jar has condensed on the jar.

The water vapour from the air has condensed on the jar

The melted water has diffused through the jar.

Which idea do you think is correct?

Write a sentence to explain why.

How could you find out?

Briefly decide on a plan to test your idea using the equipment that you can see in the lab.

Do you still think the same?

Say why your idea has been proved or disproved.

What could you do differently?

  • Bungee!!

  • To ensure that all aspects are covered, map the skills into schemes of work using ‘Moving Forward with teaching scientific enquiry and intervention’ CD ROM.

  • Be aware of ‘Procedural demands Vs. Conceptual demands’

  • Scaffold investigations and use writing frames where appropriate.

  • Lessons 13-18 from Booster Kit pack

  • The Little Giant book of Science Experiments

    ISBN 0-8069-9715-X

  • Faber book of science

    ISBN 0-5711-7901-0

  • Concept Cartoons in Science Education

    ISBN 0-9527-5602-7

  • Horrible Science - suffering scientists

    ISBN 0-439-01211-2

  • Science for Public Understanding textbook.

    ISBN 0-435-65466-7

  • Science Investigations on CD ROM ( Focus Ed.)

What next?

Any other questions?

Discuss plans and agree action points.

Arrange review meeting to discuss progress.

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