Scientific inquiry allows us to develop the ability to think,
ask questions, plan investigations, gather data, think critically,
and communicate scientific arguments. This is the process
used by scientists to investigate the universe. The resources
in this section allow us to practice inquiry while investigating
interesting questions and topics.
Be sure to look at the different
set of resources listed at the Student/Learner webpage
for this topic.
See Interactive Investigations
for additional outstanding examples of ongoing inquiry projects.
This online adventure allows learners to explore the geography
of the Ecuadorian Amazon, learning about the rainforest and
the Quichua people who live there. Activities include learning
about the interaction between decision-making, the environment,
and economic forces through either directing a community-based
ecotourism project or designing a crop rotation plan for small
plots of land.
Trouble in Earthquake Country
This is a Science Education Gateway project from the Lawrence
Hall of Science. It offers online earthquake hazard maps and
geological information so that learners can assess likely
hazards to life and property from earthquakes of various magnitudes.
These real-time collaborative data projects use the power
of the Internet to reach groups around the world. Try "Down
the DrainHow Much Water Do You Use", or the "Noon
Day Project". These are wonderful interdisciplinary projects.
Some may require some word changes to avoid references to
middle schools and to parents.
Online Classroom Data Projects
The Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education
has a marvelous collection of classroom data projects. These
inter-disciplinary projects all use real world applications
based on data from the Internet. The project descriptions
include connections to the National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics standards and to the National Science Education
Standards. Try The Gulf Stream Voyagean Investigation
of Ocean Currents.
This organization has produced many creative web adventures
that encourage inquiry. Many of these activities, however,
have been produced for the JASON Project, and those have subscription
costs. This is the index of the science-related sites.
Is there ice on Venus? This inquiry project from the Science
Education Gateway allows learners to investigate answers to
Classroom of the Future-Exploring the Environment
The NASA Classroom of the Future project "
engages students in doing real science by presenting them
with problems currently being investigated by practicing scientists
and by having students manipulate the actual data relevant
to those problems." In other words, these are great examples
of problem-based learning and constructivist classrooms. (The
teacher pages include tips and information for implementing
"Exploring the Environment" is a series of seventeen
web-based learning modules that explore real environmental
dilemmas around the world. Students use NASA online imaging
data to investigate these problems. Each module starts with
a situation, such as the imminent eruption of a volcano near
a major population center. Using Internet links and other
information, the students explore options and make decisions.
Other modules include tracking a live hurricane, investigating
the shrinking habitat of the mountain gorillas, and examining
issues about temperate rainforests. There is a teachers
section for which one may request a free password in order
to gain access.
This website is the online information resource for NOVA,
the PBS television science program. For each of the televised
programs (which one need not have seen in order to take advantage
of the resources), one will find teachers guides, hands-on
activities, "Hot Science" sections, suggestions
for investigations, and additional information. Good examples
of these activities, which call for simple materials, include
Sliding Away" from Avalanche, and "Overflowing
the Banks" from Flood. Some Nova websites are described
in other parts of the Teacher/tutor resources.
for Ice and Snow
Learners are asked to be part of an Earth task force for
drought prevention. Learners construct ways to find frozen
reservoirs of water on Earth by using NASA Space Shuttle images.
This activity provides practice in using geographical concepts
and tools, as well as data acquired from Internet resources.
Lost Treasure--Who, What, Where?
"You have been hired to help curators at the Museum
" Thus begins an investigation involving
the identification and classification of artifacts. This website
is a companion to an NOVA program that followed an archaeologist
investigating a shipwreck in the South China Sea. There are
complete lesson plans, data collection sheets, and materials
for four boxes, each containing drawings of artifacts. Learners
are asked to do research and make inferences about these "objects".
This activity is of short duration, so it is especially appropriate
for adult literacy programs.
ThinkQuest provides a collection of educational websites
that have been designed by participants in the ThinkQuest
Contests. ThinkQuest encourages learners of all ages to create
online project-based inquiry activities with links to additional
Internet resources. This ThinkQuest Library of Entries provides
a searchable database; search
by keyword or by the index here.