Bringing Inquiry to Education

On April 28th COSEE-NE and the CIRES ReSciPE project co-sponsored the workshop Scientific Inquiry in the K-12 Classroom, held at WHOI. More than 20 researchers and educators from numerous institutions participated in the workshop, led by facilitators Sandra Laursen and Lesley Smith from CIRES Outreach at U. of Colorado.

The workshop was geared toward researchers looking to meet the requirements by funding agencies to demonstrate the broader impact of their research, as well as those wanting to address important science education needs.

The phrase “inquiry-based science education” is often used, but what does it really mean? The workshop examined scientific inquiry – how scientists “do” science – and focused on helping researchers learn how to bring their natural expertise in inquiry to education activities. Discussions about the essential features of classroom inquiry, how to teach it and why it’s relevant, were interspersed with hands-on activities as well as a video depicting a classroom presentation by a researcher. Participants were also given an overview of the national standards for inquiry-based K-12 science education.

The research base behind inquiry teaching and learning was also discussed, as was how to apply inquiry to individual outreach and education activities.  ``We’re interested in helping scientists help students more effectively,’’ said Sandra. ``There’s research on this, and this mode of learning works.’’

Workshop announcement (PDF)