Inquiry Strategies
for the Journey North Teacher

Exploring What Scientists Do

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Tuning in to Scientists

As students read about scientists' studies, watch them in action on video clips, and interact with them online, help them think about the processes and values that characterize science inquiry. Here's how:

  1. Model the kinds of questions listed below.
  2. Consider selecting some questions to include on an age-appropriate response sheet to go along with a reading or video clip.
  3. When students read a story or watch scientists in action, stop at certain points to ask what next steps the scientists (or the students) might take, or to explore some of the questions you selected.

Questions That Help Students Tune in to Scientists

  • What did the scientists wonder? What are their main research questions?
  • What had they observed and/or what did they know that shaped their research questions and hypotheses?
  • What steps did they take to answer their questions? (Or, How would you go about answering the questions?)
  • If they set up an experiment, how did they keep it "fair" (test only one variable)? What variables did they consider?
  • What kinds of data did they gather? How did they decide what was useful? How did they deal with unexpected/unusual findings?
  • Did they find any interesting patterns or relationships in the data? What were they? Any surprises?
  • Did they have to revise or abandon their question, setup, or hypothesis at any point? Why?
  • Do you think their explanation was plausible? Why or why not?
  • What other factors (besides the ones they were exploring or controlling) might have affected their findings?
  • Did information they gathered help answer the original research questions? Why or why not? What new questions did it raise?
  • If their hypothesis wasn't supported by their research, what did they learn? What new questions/possible explanations did they pose?
  • What do you think they should do differently if they were to repeat this study?
  • What are the implications of their findings? Who might be interested in them?

Exploring What Scientists Do Links