Teachers in elementary schools often encounter the problem of how to plan and further implement inquiry instructions. Indeed, it is a primary agenda to establish a specific framework in which students could progress in their inquiry abilities. Banchi and Bell (2008) challenge the idea that students should be projecting scientific investigations “from scratch,” thus defending the idea that children in elementary schools cannot simply design their investigation, as they might not have the necessary abilities for that. Therefore, the concept of an inquiry scale, or “continuum” (Bell et al., 2005, p. 33), was coined to show certain levels that children can progress through. This scale comprises four stages, which students are expected to go through during the study year.
Personally, I believe that the introduction of such methods, or “levels” (Banchi & Bell, 2008, p. 26; Bell et al., 2005, p. 31), might be indeed relevant in terms of teaching, as far as further assessment showed up to be successful. Indeed, the authors claim that students performed the given tasks efficiently, underpinned by logical reasoning. Undoubtedly, the results can be objectively assessed only after implementing a range of similar open inquiry investigations. Yet, it is already evident at this stage that the children of elementary school have the potential to develop their abilities further.
These articles made me think about the crucial necessity both to create the best framework for children to develop their understandings and skills further and to monitor the process and recognize their responses properly. Indeed, as Furtak and Ruiz-Primo (2005) mentioned, it is crucially important to acknowledge what the students say during class conversations (p. 24). Therefore, I believe that great expectations are imposed not only on children but also on teachers in elementary schools.
Banchi, H., & Bell, R. (2008). The many levels of inquiry. Science and Children, 46(2), 26.
Bell, R. L., Smetana, L., & Binns, I. (2005). Simplifying inquiry instruction. The Science Teacher, 72(7), 30-33.
Furtak, E. M., & Ruiz-Primo, M. A. (2005). Questioning Cycle: Making Students’ Thinking Explicit during Scientific Inquiry. Science Scope, 28(4), 22-25.