ERIC Number: ED477308
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Mar
Inscriptional Practices in Inquiry-Based Classrooms: How Do Seventh Graders Construct and Interpret Data Tables and Graphs?
Wu, Hsin-Kai; Krajcik, Joseph S.
This study characterizes the inscriptional practices demonstrated by 7th graders, particularly their use of data tables and graphs, in an inquiry-based learning environment. Drawing on a naturalistic approach, we examined two seventh grade classes during an eight-month instructional unit that emphasized water quality and relevant concepts. We collected and analyzed multiple data sources. The analysis shows that constructing and interpreting graphs and tables provided students with opportunities to discuss, review, and clarify questions about concepts and inquiry process. The level of students' participation in constructing and interpreting practices increased over time. At the end of the water quality unit, students were capable of fully participating in designing a more complicated inscription and interpreting new inscriptions. The analysis also suggests that four features of the learning environments promoted the development of inscription practices: (1) embedding the use of inscriptions in students' science inquiry; (2) providing scaffolds to support students' inquiry process; (3) sequencing tasks and the inquiry process; and (4) engaging students in science inquiry in an iterated manner. This study provides insight into the design of a learning environment in which students can develop competent and authentic scientific practices. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (Philadelphia, PA, March 23-26, 2003).