|Science Friday: Modelling the scientific method using inquiry-based experiments in a 7th grade classroom|
|Brooke K. Woelber, Carrie L. Hall. University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, United States
Middle school science competencies stress the importance of students successfully implementing the scientific method in a variety of contexts. Specifically, students need to develop questions and hypotheses, investigate problems, and recognize patterns in data while using evidence to support their conclusions. However, the ability to transfer and integrate abstract knowledge to novel examples is often challenging for students. We developed and implemented an inquiry-based “Science Friday” curriculum that allows 7th graders to engage in the scientific method, while we investigated the development of their science self-efficacy. Specifically, students participated in 3 scaffolded inquiry-based experiments which emphasized ecological concepts using 3 model systems including bacterial cultures (biodiversity), Winogradsky Columns (nutrient cycling), and Nicrophorus burying beetles (parental care behaviors). During each experiment students constructed their research question, hypotheses and predictions based on variables they were interested in manipulating. Here we discuss the Science Friday curricular development, implementation, and information regarding student learning.