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Science Inquiry Skills and Education Essay example

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The stages of scientific enquiry have been developed and refined over time, to add consistency of approach and structure to systematic investigation. These processes; stimulus, curiosity, enquiry, initial investigation/observation, initial perception, initial hypothesis, experimentation, observation and recording, drawing conclusions, evaluation of initial hypothesis, formation of new hypothesis and re-experimentation, are perceived as a sequential flow of enquiry. However, in reality they are less well defined, due to sub-sequences and adaptations necessary to accommodate changing requirements. The extent and depth attainable within the stages are governed by the capabilities of the individuals involved. If the procedure of scientific enquiry is too prescribed, Children will follow the process, but do not necessarily learn.
To advance learning, it is essential that children are capable of contextualising scientific concepts. Piaget’s constructivist conjecture establishes that children learn and develop cognitive knowledge by independent exploration of their milieu.
Social constructivist ideas facilitate children to create independent erudition through active learning, enabling focus, investigation and discovery by intervention with objects and experiencing phenomena in different contexts:
‘Practical experience … shows that direct teaching is fruitless. A teacher who tries to do this usually accomplishes nothing but empty verbalism, a parrot like repetition of words by the child, simulating knowledge of the corresponding concepts but actually covering up a vacuum.’ (Vygotsky. 1962:83)
Vygotsky’s concept of ‘Zones of Proximal Development’ (ZPD) defines that a child can develop their ability in collaboration with an adult or ...


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...ncept Exploration Project (SPACE) (Osborne, J. et al., 1992). Misconceptions were elicited through pictures, discussion, writing and drawings, within different classroom contexts. The results confirmed that in order to transform preconceptions, children need to be challenged to modify, amend and on occasion replace their current thinking, by leveraging the processes of scientific enquiry. One resultant of the SPACE project were the Nuffield Science Teachers ‘Guides (1995) that promote a range of practical elicitation strategies.
In conclusion, at primary level, science enquiry skills have evolved over time to encompass a flexible structure that allows children to explore, discover and acquire cognitive knowledge. Constructivists have influenced and advanced children’s learning, and teaching techniques, allowing misconceptions to be identified and readily adjusted.


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