Designing & Conducting Inquiry-Based Scientific Investigations

Instructor: Amanda Robb
In this lesson you'll be exploring the exciting world of inquiry-based learning in science. If you're ready to have your students lead the lessons and create their own questions about the world, this is the place to start.

What Is Inquiry Learning?

Do you remember asking questions as a child? Why is the sky blue? Why are trees so tall? Now, imagine high school. You probably remember an adult telling you the answers to these questions. What if you could bring that natural desire to learn back to your high school students? This is every teacher's dream, and it can be achieved in a strategy called inquiry-based learning.

In inquiry-based learning, learning is driven by students. Teachers provide a framework about the topic, and students take the lead asking questions they are interested in. The teacher then guides them in creating an investigation to answer those questions. After students have collected data, they make conclusions. Teachers can then introduce the scientific concepts that apply to what the students have discovered, or continue the inquiry cycle. The result is a high interest lesson that sticks with the students for years to come.

In inquiry learning experiments teachers are only there to guide students not tell them what to do
inquiry learning

Inquiry learning is amazing for all science disciplines, but for today, we'll be looking at an experiment in biology about animal behavior.

Observations and Asking Questions

Although inquiry-based learning might seem overwhelming, it's actually a great activity for all times of the school year. This experiment is one that can be used on the very first few days of school and can easily catch students' attention.

To begin, you'll need to get some banana slugs, although you could use other living organisms. After giving a clear warning about how to treat animals in the classroom, give each group a slug in a dish. Expect some shouting here.

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