Changing Emphases/Changing Emphases to Promote Inquiry

CHANGING EMPHASES
The National Science Education Standards envision change throughout the system. The science content standards encompass the following changes in emphases:
LESS EMPHASIS ON
MORE EMPHASIS ON
                     

Knowing scientific facts and information  

Understanding scientific concepts and developing abilities of inquiry 

Studying subject matter disciplines (physical life, earth sciences) for their own sake   

Learning subject matter disciplines in the context of inquiry,technology, science in personal and social  perspectives, and history and nature of science 

Separating science knowledge and science process

Integrating all aspects of science content 

Covering many science topics   

Studying a few fundamental science concepts 

Implementing inquiry as a set of processes   

Implementing inquiry as instructional  strategies, abilities, and ideas to be learned

CHANGING EMPHASES TO PROMOTE INQUIRY

LESS EMPHASIS ON
MORE EMPHASIS ON

Activities that demonstrate and verify science content     

Activities that investigate and analyze science questions

Investigations confined to one class period

Investigations over extended periods of time 

Process skills out of context    

Process skills in context 

Emphasis on individual process skills such as observation or inference       

Using multiple process skills--manipulation, cognitive, procedural 

Getting an answer

Using evidence and strategies for developing or revising an explanation

Science as exploration and experiment

Science as argument and explanation

Providing answers to questions about science content

Communicating science explanations 

Individuals and groups of students analyzing and synthesizing data without defending a conclusion

Groups of students often analyzing and synthesizing data after defending conclusions

Doing few investigations in order to leave time to cover large amounts of content     

Doing more investigations in order to develop  understanding, ability, values of inquiry and knowledge of science content 

Concluding inquiries with the result of the experiment    

Applying the results of experiments to scientific arguments and explanations

Management of materials and equipment  

Management of ideas and information

Private communication of student ideas and conclusions to teacher        

Public communication of student ideas and work to classmates

  

Reprinted with permission from National Science Education Standards. Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. Courtesy of the National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 

National Science Education Standards: http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses


National Science Education Standards Terms