Three-Stage Inquiry Learning Cycle

Inquiry CycleScience Classroom

Open Inquiry

  1. Teacher Exploration of student thinking
    • Teacher encourages discussion around possible questions for investigation
    • Teacher probes students to determine student thinking
  2. Student Exploration of phenomenon
    • Student engages with the phenomenon
    • Student identifies variables and determines a question for focused exploration
Data Collection

Student Developed Inquiry

  1. Teacher collects data on
    • How students are Working together
    • What students are thinking and Thinking Questions to ask as students are working
    • How to improve the investigation environment
    • How well students are doing with collecting & organizing data
  2. Student designs an experiment and gathers data about the physical phenomenon or question

Conceptual Inquiry

  1. Teacher creates opportunity for students to evaluate the areas of teacher data collection and facilitates a discussion on how the individual investigations illuminate the question that was investigated to identify areas of confusion and new questions.
  2. Student analyzes data to make a finding. The student organizes and displays the data as a tool to illuminate the question and then communicates their investigation and findings.

Modified from Making Science Mentors by Bernie Zubrowski, Vivian Troen, and Marian Pasquale (NSTA Press, 2007) by Fiona McDonnell and David Burgess.