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Inquiry Based Learning in Science

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Stimulating Science Inquiry using Common Classroom Objects

In this session, we will demonstrate inquiry methods using many common, classroom objects to facilitate discussion.  For example, we will turn a film canister into a foghorn. We will demonstrate creative uses for popsicle sticks, metal coat hangers, PVC pipe, recycled CD discs and kite string to help students visualize various science concepts. Participants will learn how to safely “shrink wrap” students using a garbage bag made from fluorescent Ooblek! The participants will also perform “chemistry in a Ziplok baggie” experiments.  Teachers will make and take several devices with some of the materials used during this session, including a packet illustrating uses for each experiment modeled during the session.

Using the “Magic” of Discrepant Events to Generate Science Inquiry

In this session, we will begin by modeling the use of discrepant events using simple “magic” illusions to initiate student curiosity and stimulate new avenues of student inquiry. In conjunction with teacher audience participation, we will execute several experiments as we, in a roundtable discussion, brainstorm ideas to incorporate these events in a typical classroom environment. Finally, each participant will be awarded a take-home packet covering all events discussed including possible adaptions to these demonstrations ready for personal use in the classroom.

Enhancing Science Inquiry Using Virtual Simulations

In this session, we will investigate several internet applications used to actively engage students while enhancing the learning of various science topics. Participants will define parameters and collect data using virtual experiments as simulations for direct application to the classroom. We will conclude the session by sharing how these virtual simulations can be further used to develop additional lessons, specific to participants’ needs. Finally, each participant will be awarded a take-home packet including several presenter lessons.

Using Standard Classroom Technology to Stimulate Science Inquiry

In this session, we will demonstrate two different methods of stimulating student inquiry in the science classroom using common use technology, such as cell phones and personal computers. For example, teachers will use easy-to-snap and capture pictures and video clips to stimulate student discussion by submitting and briefly explaining a still photo highlighting a particular science phenomenon. Teachers will also take motion video clips, importing the video to a computer and analyzing the data to demonstrate a particular physical science concept. Lastly, each participant will be awarded a take-home packet incorporating both ideas, including several practical activities for direct application in the classroom.

Using Simple Toys and Equipment to Make Science Fun

In this session, we will begin by demonstrating how students can independently design and conduct original labs, including several inquiry-type labs using typical CPO and Vernier equipment. Additionally, we will model several pre-designed experiments around simple toys with fantastic results! Participants will gain valuable hands-on experience using traditional science equipment as well as several ideas that can be directly and immediately applied to the classroom.

Science Assessments can be Fun! (Using Collaboration and Competition to Initiate the Engineering Design Process)

In this session, we will discuss various assessment models used as stimulating educational activities for all students. Assessments are structured as competitions, rather than isolated or individual events, with the caveat that some form of award (or grade as determined by the teacher) will be pending. The participants will practice several pre-developed activities that incorporate this competitive, yet highly educational atmosphere.  Lastly, participants will congregate into teams in an effort to reconstruct a pre-designed Lego structure using clues delivered by only one team member. Several opportunities to learn through the engineering design process will be offered and discussed for various grade levels.

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