Create the scientists of the future with enquiry based learning

Adam Little

28th April 2016 at 10:15

Why you should use enquiry based learning in your classroom

Changes to the Science curriculum along with the introduction of the new GCSEs have provided a fantastic opportunity for teachers to use enquiry based learning to help students take ownership of their development. Time constraints and the pressure to cover everything in the programme of study can often lead to investigations taking a back seat to content, meaning students miss out on building the skills which will help create the scientists and engineers of the future.

Through training and development you can encourage your students to identify and create their own questions and give them the opportunity to acquire the requisite knowledge in a much more personal manner. This will make it easier for them to retain the knowledge gained through real world experiences and see the applications of this knowledge.

By allowing our students to learn in this manner, whether it is through problem based learning, investigations or projects which involve research and evaluations, we help them build their skill base and become lifelong learners who will ask important questions. Teacher feedback will also help them realise that making mistakes is ok as well as being a vital part of the learning process.

The benefits of enquiry based learning

When you, as a teacher, become a facilitator for students to take responsibility for what and how they learn, we are helping them gain a deeper understanding of the work they are covering, as well as building and developing skills required for tackling issues that will arise in the real world. You are also allowing them to reach a point where they are not just investigating what they have been asked to do, but they are able to research their own areas of interest and utilise that knowledge and apply it to real world contexts. This would be an ideal chance to use SOLO taxonomy with your students.

Students also engage more in the work and the subject as they take more ownership of their learning. They get to see the work as more relevant to their needs, which will enthuse and inspire them to apply themselves more in lessons. It also allows students to work at a pace suited to their ability, allowing for differentiated learning to take place more easily and allowing students of all abilities to demonstrate progression.

Group work also helps students see other points of view and build skills such as communication and working with others, which are vital when it comes to employability later in their lives.

Develop your teaching practice

In our teacher Professional Development course, Teaching the new science curriculum: Physics, we will help you develop your teaching practice by showing you some examples of how you can use enquiry based learning with your students, and how this can be easily adapted to use across all the sciences.

We want our students to be enthused and engaged as well as hopefully offering ideas of a career linked to Science and this is a major step in getting them to follow this path.  

Useful science resources

From TES Institute

Teacher professional development courses:

From STEM Learning