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Developing Extended Scientific Inquiry Projects in Secondary Science Courses


Course Description:

Participants will design a unit of study that allows students the opportunity to independently design and carry out extended inquiry projects. The projects will require students to:
• Formulate testable questions associated with various phenomenon
• Design an inquiry that identifies an independent variable (manipulated variable ), dependent variable ( responsive variable ), a control, and variables to keep constant
• Generate a directed, supported hypothesis that addresses the relationship between the dependent and independent variable
• Collect, record, present, and analyze data
• Draw conclusions that determine whether the data is inconclusive, supports the hypothesis, or refutes the hypothesis.
Participants will have an opportunity to design and carry out extended inquiry projects that can be used as examples for their students and to test the feasibility of various projects.  Participants can choose from any of the following phenomenon to study or they can suggest a phenomenon related to the science course that they teach.   Factors affecting each of the following phenomenons have been investigated by students in the chemistry and physics classroom. The principles associated with the following can be applied to biological systems and earth / space systems.

• Bioluminescence of Sea Fireflies
• Chemiluminescence
• Fluorescence of Quinine
• Fluorescence of optical Brightners
• Phosphorescence of glow in the dark materials
• Thermoluminescence associated with Irradiated Salt
• Triboluminescence associated with wintergreen mints
• Plasma Ball – Fluorescent Tube Interaction
• LED, Compact Fluorescent, Incandescent Bulb Comparisons
• Various Color of LEDs
• Digital Photography
• Cyanotype Photography
• Photovoltaic Cells
• Thermoelectric Generator
• Guided Inquiry associated with electric circuits – parallel, series, combination
• Electromagnets
• Electromagnetic Induction
• Ability of sodium polyacrylate to gel various solutions
• The thermal conductivity of sodium polyacrylate
• Sodium polyacrylate gel consistency as a function of the water used to make the gel
• Sodium polyacrylate gel as a shock absorber
• Starch and water suspension as a shock absorber
• Guided Inquiry associated with reflection, refraction, diffraction
• string resonance
• Open End Tube Resonance
• Closed End Tube Resonance

Course Outcomes:

• Participants will learn how to incorporate extended inquiry projects into their units of study
• Participants will develop inquiry scoring guidelines
• Participants will develop inquiry scoring rubrics
• Participants will develop extended inquiry projects
• Participants will develop guided inquiry lessons
• Participants will be encouraged to share their best practices with fellow participants
• Participants will implement their unit in the 2011-2012 school year and present student examples of extended inquiry projects to the class at a date to be decided on during the week of the course

About the Instructor

Tim Ziegler teaches college preparatory chemistry, college preparatory physics, AP Physics, and independent science courses as Stowe High School.  He has taught in Stowe for the past 16 years and has 27 years of teaching experience.  He earned a Master of Science in Science Education from Montana State University in 2002 with a course emphasis in learning by inquiry.  He has participated in two University of Vermont’s Summer of Science Teacher Internship Programs and one year long investigation with two high school students in the University of Vermont’s High School Outreach Programs in the past six years.