Creating Inquiry-Oriented Laboratory Exercises

The National Science Teachers Association’s Position Statement on Scientific Inquiry says:

Scientific inquiry reflects how scientists come to understand the natural world, and it is at the heart of how students learn. From a very early age, children interact with their environment, ask questions, and seek ways to answer those questions. Understanding science content is significantly enhanced when ideas are anchored to inquiry experiences.

To this end, these resources will assist you in either creating inquiry activities from scratch or converting commercially available activities to reflect an inquiry approach.

How to Make Lab Activities More Open Ended
This one-page article provides concrete guidance on how to gradually convert the activities you already use to a more open-ended format, allowing for more student-centered inquiry, .

Rethinking Laboratories
This journal article describes an inquiry analysis tool and adaptation principles to help teachers evaluate and adapt laboratory instructional materials to be more inquiry-oriented. A set of questions can help teachers decide how much the instructional materials reflect an inquiry orientation. The article was originally printed in the September 2003 issue of The Science Teacher. NSTA members have free access; nonmembers are charged 99 cents for access.

Un-cooking the Lab: A Guide to Constructing Inquiry-based Labs in Biology
This four-page article contains sections titled: Features of an Inquiry-based Lab; Examples of Approaches to Labs; Inquiry-based Labs: Constructing a Framework; Inquiry-based Labs: Flow of Activities in the Classroom; Scientific Teaching: and References.


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