The Inquiry Science Institute has just completed a second successful summer program with over 60 teachers participating in either Introduction to Inquiry (for those new to their school’s iTEAM or who were unable to attend last summer) or Advanced Inquiry.
We asked the Advanced Inquiry teachers, “What have you done differently as a result of last summer’s program.” What follows is, in their own words, what several of our fantastic iTEAM teachers have done differently.
“My entire approach to teaching has changed as a result of last summer’s program. Now I am a facilitator of learning, where I provide opportunities for students to practice science. Gradually throughout the year, I released the learning responsibility to the students. Instead of sticking to ‘cookbook’ labs and activities, I allowed students to explore and investigate questions that they created. By the end of the year, students were designing their own controlled experiments, recording and analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. I also added science journals, used Project WET lessons, and covered additional topics compared to the previous year.” (Tina Frum, Kohn Elementary)
“I’m letting the kids make mistakes and ask questions – I became a facilitator. They researched and inquired about things. For instance: They would ask questions about the effects of different size wheels on a car. I would say, ‘I don’t know, try it – do some tests.’ It was so much fun, watching them.” (Humberto Rodriguez, Tonti Elementary)
“I have allowed my student to explore more. I have given them less direction and more opportunities to make their own scientific discoveries. I have developed focus questions for each investigation or I have helped my students form the focus question. I have focused more on the process to getting the ‘answers’ in science. I also believe my students understand there is usually more than one answer and sometimes we may not know the exact answer or solution.” (Erin Roberts, Pershing East, Kindergarten)
“I have had students collect their data and when summarizing or writing reports use the data as the evidence to support their findings. Also when reading in the content area of science, students were to make sure to connect the evidence with their assigned writing task.” (Marva Anyanwu, Green Elementary)
“I have used science journals and learned to step back to allow the students to lead, and for me to facilitate . . . not giving all the answers.” (Rachel Sarauw, Langford Elementary)
iTEAM teachers range in experience from a second year teacher to a teacher with over thirty years in the classroom, but each has incorporated new ways of teaching into her or his classroom practice.
As one of our teachers said this summer, “The most important thing about inquiry is it gets students involved in their own learning.” Teachers too!
What will you do differently this year in your classroom?