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Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning
inquiry-oriented science curriculum programs (see Appendix C). These science programs, complete with student and teacher guides and materials for student activities or laboratories, are now available through commercial publishers. [See Appendix B for guide to materials selection or Selecting InstructionalMaterials: A Guide for K-12 Science (NRC, 1999b).] Many districts that have adopted these programs operate a centralized district materials center and loan the materials to teachers. Some districts supply a certain number of kits per grade level that are housed at school sites, with consumable supplies being replenished as needed by the district. Where districts have not adopted such programs, individual teachers and schools have developed a variety of mechanisms to provide needed materials and supplies. Some teachers develop a list of common household materials and supplies and have students collect them from home and bring them to school. Often, a group of teachers at a school will collaborate on a project so they can share materials.
If inquiry is to be the norm rather than an exception, schools must realize that materials are an essential element of teaching and should devote adequate resources and organizational structures to purchase and support use of appropriate materials. Teachers should not be expected to supply the essential supplies of teaching. Chapter 8 discusses strategies for supporting an inquiry-oriented program in more detail.
Where can teacher educatorsobtain inquiry-oriented programs to use in preparingteachers?
Many teacher educators use curriculum materials developed for use in K-12 classrooms to help prospective students experience and learn to use inquiry-based materials. In addition, there are materials that can be used by teacher educators, at both the preservice and inservice levels, that are designed to use for teacher learning. Appendix C contains lists of inquiry-based materials for K-12 students and for use with teachers, both prospective and practicing.
What barriers are encounteredwhen implementing inquiry-oriented approaches?
In addition to the external barriers teachers face, their beliefs and values about students, teaching, and the purposes of education can impose obstacles to inquiry-oriented approaches. Research demonstrates many of the predicaments that teachers face when considering new approaches. In a cross-site analysis of schools that had successfully initiated new approaches to science and mathematics instruction,