ERIC Number: EJ1032638
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Reference Count: 7
Any Questions? Want to Stimulate Student Curiosity? Let Them Ask Questions!
Weiss, Tarin Harrar
Science and Children, v50 n9 p36-41 Jul 2013
Of the eight scientific practices highlighted in "A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas," the first is for students to develop abilities to ask questions and define problems (NRC 2012). Constructing a range of questions about an object or phenomenon validates not only what students have been doing since they were young, but models what scientists do with initial discoveries. Scientists do not ask a single question that leads to a prescribed method for solving a problem, but construct multiple questions, define problems, and conceptualize solution pathways. They eventually design an investigation in light of obvious constraints, such as background knowledge, funding, equipment, competition, and research that is considered "acceptable." If students are to become proficient in science, they need many opportunities to construct questions and practice visualizing solution pathways. But, how can teachers more fully and sustainably incorporate student questioning into their units? How can they change the dynamic of teacher-led questions still dominating science teaching? This article describes a lesson in which the author begins with an introductory questioning lesson which serves as a model for how to incorporate students' questions into the curriculum by using authentic observable items related to standards. For example, within the disciplinary core concept "Earth and Space Science" (NRC 2012), a focus is on Earth materials and systems. Students in K-2 learn about materials and resources in the environment, while grades 3-5 students look more deeply at materials and processes and how they are affected by interacting Earth systems. Materials such as soil, sand, rock, grasses, trees, and water are common and familiar to most students, and can serve as the launching point for their own observations and questions within a unit on Earth materials and systems. This introductory lesson is an intense effort to (1) support open-ended student questioning; (2) explore and code the variety of questions asked about an object; and (3) promote conceptual thinking about solving problems. This lesson ends with students brainstorming ideas about how to answer a favorite investigable question through an investigation.
Descriptors: Questioning Techniques, Scientific Concepts, Scientific Literacy, Teaching Methods, Introductory Courses, Science Instruction, Investigations, Lesson Plans, Problem Solving, Observation, Science Activities, Educational Practices, Critical Thinking, Cluster Grouping, Problem Sets, Student Developed Materials, Elementary School Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A