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Converting Existing Cookbook Laboratory Experiments to Inquiry Format Wed-09:45-W-01 & Wed-01:00-W-09 Jeff Bigler jcb@alum.mit.edu mrbigler@mrbigler.com

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What is Inquiry? Learning by questioning/experimenting. Knowledge is built step-wise and through relationships with existing knowledge. Methods are student-driven.

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Questionably Effective Ways of Teaching Inquiry Figure it out if you want to pass. Decide what you want to find out (with minimal guidance), but be sure to make a good decision.

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Teaching Inquiry Gradually Disclaimers: This is how I develop my students inquiry skills. If youre doing something different and it aint broke, you dont need to fix it. I dont pretend that there is a one right and true way to teach inquiry. You might decide to borrow a couple of ideas and implement them differently, or you might decide that what Im doing wont work for you at all. If this workshop doesnt turn out to be a waste of your time, we all win.

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Teaching Inquiry Gradually 1.Teach students to fill in gaps. Teach techniques before experiment. Give students a crude procedure that guides them through the outline of the experiment, but requires them to use techniques without procedural details.

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2.Gradually widen the gaps. Require students to string multiple techniques together Give an outline of the experiment orally (but not in written form) and expect them to remember/figure it out. Teaching Inquiry Gradually

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3.Remove the scaffolding. Give students the objective and have class create experimental plan through Socratic discussion. Gradually eliminate the class discussion and require students to create the experimental plan on their own, given only an objective. Begin introducing the question of What might be some possible experiments? [For a given experiment], what would the objective be? Evaluate student objectives compared with teacher-directed objectives for relevance and testability. Teaching Inquiry Gradually

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4.Use student-generated objectives Start with a Socratic class discussion of possible experiments and evaluate the objectives. Have students prepare all solutions and materials for their own experiments. Gradually eliminate the class discussion until student groups are designing and performing their own experiments. (This will require the ability for lab groups to be able to perform different experiments simultaneously.) If your school has a Science Fair, encourage students to string a series of related experiments together to create a project. Teaching Inquiry Gradually

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Guiding Questions for Teaching Students to Plan Experiments 1.What quantity or relationship do you want to find? 2.Can you measure it directly? (The answer to this should be nootherwise there would be no experiment.) If not, how can you calculate/determine it?

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Guiding Questions for Teaching Students to Plan Experiments 3.What do you need to measure in order to perform the calculation/determination in step #2? 4.How can you measure these quantities in an experiment?

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Guiding Questions for Teaching Students to Plan Experiments 5.Can your experiment differentiate between results? If you are investigating a relationship, can your experiment determine whether or not the relationship is causal? If you are calculating a quantitative result, can your experiment resolve data precisely enough?

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Problems With This Approach Students are explicitly taught a method for problem-solving, which may discourage other, more outside-the-box methods. The process is slowit can easily take two years for students to progress from filling in gaps in a crude procedure to full inquiry.

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Plan for Todays Workshop 1.Form groups. Because of the format of todays workshop, there needs to be a minimum of 3 people per group, and an even number of groups.

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Plan for Todays Workshop 2.Choose one of the following cookbook experiments: Molar Mass of a Volatile Liquid Using the Dumas Method Kinetics of HCl + S 2 O 3 2 SO 3 2 + S Equilibrium for Fe 3+ +SCN Ý FeSCN 2+ Strong Acid-Strong Base Titration

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Plan for Todays Workshop 3.Decide what stage of inquiry you are adapting the lab for: a.Beginning: Assume students have already been taught necessary lab techniques. Write a crude (outline-level) version of the procedure. Leave out details of lab techniques.

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Plan for Todays Workshop 3.Decide what stage of inquiry you are adapting the lab for (contd): b.Developing: Assume students have already been taught necessary lab techniques. Talk through the crude procedure with your students. Allow them to jot down brief notes, but do not let them write down everything you say word-for-word.

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Plan for Todays Workshop 3.Decide what stage of inquiry you are adapting the lab for (contd): c.Approaching Proficiency: Assume students have already been taught necessary lab techniques. Give students the objective, but let them formulate their own experimental plan. Use your judgment about how much support they will need to evaluate, fine-tune, and implement their plan.

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Plan for Todays Workshop 4.Prepare your lab materials (handout and/or presentation)15 minutes. 5.Find another group to partner with.

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Plan for Todays Workshop 6.Perform each others experiments (45 minutes): a.At any given time, at least two of the people in your group will be students performing the other groups lab. Role play accordingly pretend you are confused and ask for help with anything that you think would confuse your own students.

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Plan for Todays Workshop 6.Perform each others experiments (contd). b.At any given time, at least one person in your group will be the teacher of the lab that your group prepared. The first teacher will need to tell the other lab group what stage of inquiry the lab is designed for, and to communicate the objective (and possibly crude procedure) to the other group.

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Plan for Todays Workshop 6.Perform each others experiments (contd). c.Within your group, decide how often to switch roles, ensuring that everyone gets a chance to be both teacher and student. (I recommend switching at least once every 10 minutes.)

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Plan for Todays Workshop 7.At the conclusion of the experiment (and clean-up), each pair of groups should discuss the experimentwhat went well and any recommended changes. (15 minutes)

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