Inquiry and Literacy:

An Unquestionable Connection

"Inquiry involves finding evidence and answers to questions about the world." (Gallenstein, p. 192)

Incorporating inquiry leads to a learner-centered process vs. teacher-directed.

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The Scientific Method

There's no one right method for inquiry, but they all tend to include:

1. Questioning

2. Observation

3. Collection and organization of data

4. Construction of models, theories, and explanations

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  • The notion that people build their own knowledge and representations of new information from their own experiences.
  • Knowledge is most effectively acquired by evoking personal meaning in the learner.
  • Knowledge is constructed through the steps found in the scientific method.
  • Teacher's duty? "Facilitating inquiry lessons or activities that address children's questions about the natural world." (p. 190).
  • Emphasizes on thinking, not telling children what to think.
  • Teachers must incorporate critical thinking into their classroom.
Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Relationship of Science and Literacy

  • Connecting science to literacy can promote positive attitudes in children.
  • Story and pictures in trade books can trigger science conceptual understanding.
  • Literacy skills are reinforced through hands on science activities.
  • Language skills are strengthened through discussion.
  • Writing skills are practiced when student created science books and journals are utilized.

Process Skills in Science are Also Present in Literacy

Trade Books in the Inquiry Classroom

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Students should research their chosen topic prior to beginning investigation in order to...

  1. ...evaluate their results and explanations.
  2. their ideas to accepted ideas.
  3. ...base their final conclusion on their findings in addition to their evaluations.

Inquiry Models

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Inquiry Training Model

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Why would I want to teach this way???

  1. Students tend to perform better on standardized tests than their peers in more traditional classes (Bass et al., 2009).
  2. Students with learning disabilities and ELL students can successfully engage (Duschl, Schweingruber, & Shouse, 2007).
  3. Springboard for growth in verbal fluency and literacy (Lapp, 2001).

In Conclusion

"Inquiry instruction is an approach to teaching that focuses on understanding the world by questioning, investigating, observing, and explaining the order of the world around us (Bass et al., 2009). As mentioned, research indicates that there are numerous positive benefits for students who engage in inquiry learning. Additionally, teaching as inquiry provides many opportunities for teachers to interact with their students and to develop the abilities and attitudes children need to inquire on their own (Bass et al., 2009, p. 25)."