Article Responses

Article 1: What Kindergarten Students Learn in Inquiry-Based Science Classrooms

The authors, Ala Samarapungavan, Helen Patrick, and Panayota Mantzicopou, share what the role of inquiry is in elementary science in their article titled, “What Kindergarten Students Learn in Inquiry-Based Science Classrooms”. The goal is for the students to develop a functional understanding of the processes of inquiry. “We posit that inquiry is shaped by the unique content of the specific models constructed in different disciplines including theoretical models, as well as data and investigation models (Chinn& Samarapungavan, 2008; Suppes, 1960, 1962; Woodward, 1989)”. The authors explained that a key challenge in designing guided inquiry for young children is finding investigative frameworks that allow them to generate meaningful knowledge (page 419). They came to the conclusion that the guided inquiry approach replicates the constructive features of science as a set of cultural practices for young learners. I agree with that finding, because it’s really beneficial for children to learn in these inquiry based science classrooms at a young age. It’s not only tapping into science at the service, but digging deep and relating it to a set of cultural practices for young learners. This framework also allowed teachers to encourage the students to take an active role in making decisions about investigative activities and also predictions. Having the pre-inquiry and post-inquiry activities, and then the follow up is also a good way for the children to learn and absorb the material being taught. Also, since they’re doing it in Kindergarten it will only help them moving forward.

Article 2: Where did the leaves go?

The authors, Jennifer Donze and Sissy S. Wong, demonstrate that the role of inquiry science is important within the classroom. Having the students do an experiment, with preparation with prior knowledge and I enjoyed reading about their lesson on the decomposition of leaves. Starting off with a section of engagement for the children is important, and I highly agree with it. Making sure they are on the same page about certain definitions is really important, and guides with the lesson going smoother. Then having the explore phase, with students going into groups creating hypothesis is another great idea. I remember doing this when I was in elementary school. Having the students come back to the plants to make observations during the experiment is such a good way for them to start learning how to chart activity. In the end, having them explain their hypothesis, findings, methods, results, and a discussion helped them evaluate the experiment as a whole. “if students need more guidance, the teacher can provide more information, instruction, or identifying specific factors for students to collect data. “If students are ready for more open-ended inquiry investigations, a teacher may give the option for students to investigate decomposition with a preapproved method and materials of their choosing” (page 102). I like how this exercise with the class can be tailored to fit any student’s needs. For students that need more guidance, the teacher can provide more information and vice versa.

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