Teaching about the Great Lakes involves using many levels of inquiry methods. On our first full day of work at Stone Lab, the wind and waves of the lake continued to crash against the island’s cliffs outside. Inside, our focus turned to teaching lessons using ideas reflected in the article, “The Many Levels of Inquiry” written by Heather Banchi and Randi Bell (Science & Children, 2008). As teachers, we experienced the different inquiry practices. Banchi and Bell explained “As students experience the multiple levels of inquiry they will develop the abilities and understanding of the scientific inquiry.” Different levels of inquiry can be implemented in the classroom at different levels of complexity to challenge students. This improves student comprehension helping them to develop a deeper understanding of science content through their investigation.
The How well do know the Great Lakes? activity reinforced previously learned ideas about the size and location of each lake, water volume and annual fish harvest in the Confirmation Level of Inquiry though collaborative conversations.
The Structured Level of Inquiry engaged us in collecting data and generating explanations through the activity, What happens to heat energy reaching the Great Lakes?.
Guided Inquiry occurs when the teacher provides the research question and the students design procedures to test the question. How does water move through the Great Lakes watershed? and Fish Dissection were two activities that highlights this method.
On the pitching and rolling dock, we learned how to use the Hydrolab, a tool that collects water quality data. In the lab we learned two different ways to find out if plastic microbeads are in personal care products using coffee makers and mason jars. These activities will kick off our discussions and planning for the final level of enabling scientific thinking in students, Open Inquiry.
As the sun sets on day one, we anticipate more learning and collaboration tomorrow.
Submitted from the island by Dave Murduck and Marcy Burns