Inquiry Based Science Instruction Using Science Fair Projects

Decent Essays
Problem Statement In order to fully develop critical thinking skills necessary to function in the world of science, and the world in general, science teachers must incorporate more robust authentic inquiry activities, as part of their overall science curriculum. However, in my experience as a science teacher (18 years) and a science program director (3 years) in inner-city high schools in Boston, students do not have the opportunity to engage in robust authentic inquiry activities. Using my years’ experience in the public education system, it is clear to me that factors, such as teachers’ inadequate content knowledge, lack of motivation to implement inquiry, pressure to teach to high stake standardized tests, lack of experience…show more content…
(Carlton, 2008) Similarly, western gender stereotypes have biased historical research of gender studies in the south (Fennell and Arnot, 2008); thereby rendering such research limited in its historical significance and material use. Thus, exposing students to authentic scientific inquiry via science fair projects is not only necessary to the student’s academic success, it is, in my opinion, a vital component of the development of critical thinking skills necessary to separate authentic scientific data and research results from potentially questionable results; like the superiority/inferiority of different races and other biases. Teacher Beliefs and Experience Teachers’ actions in the classroom tend to reflect their own belief systems. This holds true both in my own experience working in the field of education, and other academics. For as Wallace and Kang note in their article “An Investigation of Experienced Secondary Science Teachers’ Beliefs About Inquiry: An Examination of Competing Beliefs Sets”, “what a teacher actually does in the classroom is representative of her beliefs.” (2004) Additionally, in conducting research for their article “White Male Teachers on Differences: Narratives of Contact and Tensions”, Jupp and Slattery note the comments of one of the participants in the research project as stating “…teachers are certainly biased against certain children, especially if they don’t know
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