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When is Inquiry Problem Solving and When is Problem Solving Inquiry?


When is Inquiry Problem Solving and When is Problem Solving Inquiry? ... You take time out to examine something or learn about it. Inquiry. Elem. Education Major ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: When is Inquiry Problem Solving and When is Problem Solving Inquiry?

When is Inquiry Problem Solving and When is
Problem Solving Inquiry?
  • Panelists Marcia Fetters, Western Michigan
    University, Caroline Beller, University of
    Arkansas, Paul Hickman, Northeastern University

Questions to ponder
  • Inquiry is .
  • Inquiry is Not
  • Problem solving is ..
  • Problem solving is Not

Talk to your neighbor!
  • What are the similarities and differences between
    these terms?
  • Offer a definition of each term?
  • Inquiry
  • Problem Solving

What prompted the exploration?
  • PhysTEC 3rd annual meeting Audience of
    Physicists Physics educators, Science educators
    and Teachers-in-Residence (mostly high school
    physics teachers)
  • Same language used, but clear (for some of us)
    that different meanings and applications used for
    key terms such as Inquiry problem solving
    cooperative learning evidence research
    concept laboratory work etc..

Context and Quandary
  • Audience energy was around building connections
    and community so differences in language were not
    addressed (congeniality/collegiality environment
  • Was this mismatch real and is it critical to
    collaborative efforts between education and
    content specialists or is it just the nature of
    large collaboratives and does not influence the
    work and progress of reform?

Context/Historical Perspective
  • If a single word had to be chosen to describe the
    goals of science education during the 30-year
    period that began in the late 1950s, it would
    have to be inquiry (DeBoer, 1991, p. 206).

  • Started collection of personal definitions of
    problem solving and inquiry from a range of
    audiences and sources undergraduate science
    students, elementary education students,
    secondary science education students, middle
    grades science education students, physics
    faculty, science education faculty,
  • Lit. Review of common definitions collected.
  • Asked AETS members to judge statements.

Our challenge to you
  • Given the statements around the room -- how would
    you categorize these statements?
  • red problem solving
  • green inquiry
  • yellow neither
  • blue problem solving and inquiry

Statement Intent Interpretations
  • First slide of each set -Authors intent
  • Second slide of each set - AETS member

Statement 1
  • The process of starting from your own
    observations to develop an understanding of a
    concept. The most open kind of this _____
    would start out with deciding what concept you
    wanted to explore. To ask a question to figure
    out what observation you need to make to answer
    the question, to interpret your observations to
    create models that not only explain what you saw
    but predicted something else you might see.
  • Inquiry
  • Scientist

Statement 1
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 2
  • _____ is the curiosity of the mind in action.
    The ability to question...
  • Inquiry
  • MS Education Major

Statement 2
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 3
  • Addressing a situation, occasionally having to
    determine what the outcome needs to be, but
    usually with that defined, and determining how to
    achieve that outcome. This usually involves
    comparing the situation to previous experiences,
    identifying similarities and differences.
  • Problem Solving
  • Scientist

Statement 3
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 4
  • Using whatever tools one knows how to use in
    order to implement a solution to a given
  • Problem Solving
  • MS Education Major

Statement 4
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 5
  • When you look into something. You take time out
    to examine something or learn about it.
  • Inquiry
  • Elem. Education Major

Statement 5
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 6
  • Exploring some event or idea and trying to
    understand it.
  • Inquiry
  • Physics Major

Statement 6
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 7
  • _________ as a teaching strategy embodies most of
    the techniques and learning skills science
    educators consider important when learning
    science by investigative methods.
  • Problem Solving
  • Science Educator (Methods Text)

Statement 7
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 8
  • To take a systematic approach to a task.
  • Problem Solving
  • Elem. Education Major

Statement 8
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 9
  • Trying to fix something, or some situation.
  • Problem Solving
  • Biology Major

Statement 9
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 10
  • Doing hands on things. Getting messy in science.
  • Inquiry
  • Geology Major

Statement 10
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 11
  • In school science, _________ refers to how
    students attempt to develop knowledge and
    understanding of scientific ideas. Through
    activities, students learn how scientists go
    about studying the world, communicate with one
    another, and, through consensus, propose
    explanations for how the world works.
  • Inquiry
  • Science Educator (Methods Text)

Statement 11
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

Statement 12
  • _____ is taking systematic approach to exploring
  • Problem Solving
  • Geology Major

Statement 12
  • AETS
  • PhysTEC

From the literature.
  • Oxford English Dictionary
  • Inquiry 1.a The act of seeking, esp.. (not
    always) for truth, knowledge, or information
    concerning something search, research,
    investigation, examination.
  • attrib. and Comb., as .. problem-solver, one
    who finds solutions to difficult or perplexing
    questions or situations hence problem-solving
    n., the action of finding solutions to such

  • National Science Education Standards -Pg 23
  • Inquiry is a multifaceted activity that involves
    making observations posing questions examining
    books and other sources of information to see
    what is already known planning investigations
    reviewing what is already known in light of
    experimental evidence using tools to gather,
    analyze, and interpret data proposing answers,
    explanations, and predictions and communicating
    the results. Inquiry requires identification of
    assumptions, use of critical and logical
    thinking, and consideration of alternative

From a Methods Text
  • Problem solving is also an important strategy for
    constructing and negotiating meaning.
  • Learning to Teach Science A model for the 21st
    Century(J. V. Ebenezer S. Connor 1998) pg.

Methods text.. continued
  • In general, inquiry is finding out about
    something. It centers around the desire to answer
    a question or to know more about a situation.
  • Science Instruction in the Middle and Secondary
    Schools (Chiapetta, E. L. and Koballa, Thomas R.
    2002) pg 91

Documentation of quandary
  • Problem solving is often used synonymously with
    inquiry and science process skill reasoning
    (Helgeson, 1989, 1994).

Implications in Science Education
  • Shared language differences between disciplines
    in how terminology is used as part of pedagogy
    and content for
  • Arts and Sciences and Education
  • Pre-service and Faculty
  • Teachers and K-12 students
  • Implications for instruction in content courses
    education courses and K-12 settings
  • Reform Efforts
  • Implications for how language is used in relation
    to state and/or national testing

Questions to be pondered
  • Does the difference in how people use these terms
    create a real barrier to collaboration or does it
    provide a platform for conversation that
    facilitates the collaboration?
  • If the difference is real and significant what
    effect does it have on programs and reform
    efforts that call for collaboration across
  • How can or when should discussion about the
    difference occur to maximize the potential of
    reform efforts? How do you do this without
    jeopardizing the partnerships?

Next Steps
  • Challenge to audience Would any one like to
    join us in gathering additional definitions?
  • What other words/phrases have shared meanings?
  • What other words/phrases to we use as a project
    that should be examined in this way?
  • Is there a difference between disciplines (i.e.
    biology, chemistry, physics, earth science,
    mathematics)? Our sample is currently small and
    these distinctions cannot be made with current
  • What is the role of past experiences of
    participants? Prior science courses and
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