Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Theory Supporting Inquiry

I'm leading a session this week on the topic of learning tools for a group of UAB faculty who are interested in teaching better. I wanted to refer them to some of the big ideas that support modern approaches to teaching, and as I was thinking about that, I realized that lining these approaches out for inquiry teachers would be a good as well.

(GEC Participants: Please see some comments I'm starting to post that will give you resources for specific learning tools we discussed.)


For Inquiry Teachers

For GEC Participants

How People Learn

Key Research Supporting Inquiry’s Focus on addressing student misconceptions, facts aligned with big ideas, and use of conceptual change strategies.

This is the research that framed our face-to-face session. Start at the page linked here for the key research findings, but back up to the entire document (especially chapters 2 & 5) if you want to know more.

The Private Universe and Minds of Our Own

Private Universe is a seminal video in science education because of how it communicated the prevalence and persistence of scientific misconceptions. Minds of Our Own took the same methodology and presentation style to content other than astronomy.

Assessing prior knowledge is the first step in authentic teaching and learning. These resources help you see more the power of student misconceptions by examining the blocks K-12 students face.

The 5 Elements of Cooperative Learning

Inquiry is difficult, if not impossible to accomplish, if teachers can’t manage effectively student work in small groups. Cooperative Learning, as described by the 5 Elements, defines true cooperative learning, which is very different from typical group work.

A first move many teachers make when beginning to implement authentic teaching is breaking large classes into small groups. The 5 Elements of Cooperative Learning give you a powerful way to think about how to do this successfully..

Atlas of Science Literacy (Original Version and Complete Version)

Why spend hours and hours trying to find the big ideas of science when this stellar work from Project 2061 has already done that. These maps show 100 grand ideas of science and how they should be developed across a students’ K-12 learning.

These big ideas from K-12 education give you strong examples of how big ideas can be used as a conceptual framework for learning the facts.

For a different example, you may want to review UAB School of Education’s Conceptual Framework to see how we structured assessment of professional program around 11 big ideas (click the links there for rubrics).

Educating the Net Generation

Today’s K-12 students grew up with the Internet. They have no idea what life and learning are without it. This resource helps teachers understand how today’s students are different, not deficient.

Traditional-age undergrads and grads are used to learning with the WWW at their fingertips. The Introduction from this resources gives you powerful ways to understand these students, the challenges they face, and the strengths they bring to the learning environment.

Other Inquiry Resources

I’m always collecting inquiry resources and posting them to this page. The first part of the page gives curriculum resources; the second give more general resources.

Inquiry is a model of authentic learning specific to science instruction. If you’re interested in learning more, start with the 5 Essential Features of Inquiry.


Lee said...

Found a couple of resources on concept mapping: is a nice overview of concept maps, including different kinds. is an on-line concept mapping tool that has been referred to me by teachers. Your students could use this to create concept maps. On-line teachers, this might be the best way for you to see what your students come up with (rather than them having to scan in a hard copy).

Lee said...

Still hunting around for some other resources, but I need to head out and help The Chef with her catering. Here are a couple of reminders of sites we quickly visited yesterday:

Lee said...

Took a quick stab at something for essential questions, and this looks pretty good:

(Now, I really gotta go help The Chef before she starts glaring at me.)

Beth Barstow said...

Lee- from the geriatirc scholars course. The lesson that I would choose to enhance is the eye anatomy series. My students are online and returning students who have not been in formal education for years. Although it is online, I believe that I could institute cooperative learning. I could assign students to groups of varying levels of expertise. They could be assigned specific eye structures to become "expert". Then using the Wimba platform they would present the information in their words to the rest of the class. The most important thing that I have found is that students are very good at teaching each other. I at times realize that what is common knowledge to me is not to them. I know the topic too well. Students teaching each other would assist them with their learning and allow me to see how they learn best.

Beth Barstow