difficult, continual tasks. This standard focuses on the work that teachers do as they implement the plans of Standard A in the classroom.
Teachers of science constantly make decisions, such as when to change the direction of a discussion, how to engage a particular
At all stages of inquiry, teachers guide, focus, challenge, and encourage student learning.
student, when to let a student pursue a particular interest, and how to use an opportunity to model scientific skills and attitudes. Teachers must struggle with the tension between guiding students toward a set of predetermined goals and allowing students to set and meet their own goals. Teachers face a similar tension between taking the time to allow students to pursue an interest in greater depth and the need to move on to new areas to be studied. Furthermore, teachers constantly strike a balance among the demands of the understanding and ability to be acquired and the demands of student-centered developmental learning. The result of making these decisions is the enacted curriculum—the planned curriculum as it is modified and shaped by the interactions of students, teachers, materials, and daily life in the classroom.
[See Content Standard A (all grade levels)]
FOCUS AND SUPPORT INQUIRIES. Student inquiry in the science classroom encompasses a range of activities. Some activities provide a basis for observation, data collection, reflection, and analysis of firsthand events and phenomena. Other activities encourage the critical analysis of secondary sources—including media, books, and journals in a library.
[See Teaching Standard E]
In successful science classrooms, teachers and students collaborate in the pursuit of ideas, and students quite often initiate new activities related to an inquiry. Students formulate questions and devise ways to answer them, they collect data and decide how to represent it, they organize data to generate knowledge, and they test the reliability of the knowledge they have generated. As they proceed, students explain and justify their work to themselves and to one another, learn to cope with problems such as the limitations of equipment, and react to challenges posed by the teacher and by classmates. Students assess the efficacy of their efforts—they evaluate the data they have collected, re-examining or collecting more if necessary, and making statements about the generalizability of their findings. They plan and make presentations to the rest of the class about their work and accept and react to the constructive criticism of others.
At all stages of inquiry, teachers guide, focus, challenge, and encourage student learning. Successful teachers are skilled observers of students, as well as knowledgeable about science and how it is learned. Teachers match their actions to the particular needs of the students, deciding when and how to guide—when to demand more rigorous grappling by the students, when to provide information, when to provide particular tools, and when to connect students with other sources.
[See Program Standard E and System Standard E]
In the science classroom envisioned by the Standards, effective teachers continually create opportunities that challenge students and promote inquiry by asking questions.