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ERIC Number: EJ921122
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8148
Lose the Recipe
Owens, Theresa A.; Martin, Chanda
Science and Children, v48 n7 p40-43 Mar 2011
When learning about plants, elementary students are typically given set directions on how to plant seeds and make their plants grow. To enable their class of first-grade students to build their own knowledge and encourage constructivism, the authors decided to take this set of prescribe activities and make them more inquiry-based. In traditional "cookbook" experiments, students are told the outcome of an experiment and are expected to follow directions that do little more than confirm the outcome. Inquiry science ranges from limited inquiry, in which teachers provide much of the direction, to open inquiry in which students design experiments around their own questions. In this case, the goal was to meet the standards regarding the needs and life cycles of plants. The authors used limited inquiry when planting the seeds because they wanted to be sure all students had plants, but once the seeds had germinated, they used less structured inquiry to allow students to take control of the plants' growth by determining factors such as how much sunlight, water, and space they would provide. This lesson was taught over the course of several weeks, one day per week for about an hour each day; it could be broken down into smaller increments if necessary. In addition, extensions and some assessments were done on different days. The class learned not only about the needs of plants, but also how variables work. Students were able to construct their own knowledge and were engaged throughout. As a result, they learned more. (Contains 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A