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Middle school science inquiry

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Title:
Middle school science inquiry connecting experiences and beliefs to practice
Creator:
Johnson, Karen Elizabeth
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
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Language:
English
Physical Description:
xxii, 285 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Inquiry-based learning -- Case studies ( lcsh )
Science -- Study and teaching (Elementary) -- Case studies ( lcsh )
Inquiry-based learning ( fast )
Science -- Study and teaching (Elementary) ( fast )
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Case studies. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Case studies ( fast )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 277-285).
Thesis:
Educational leadership and innovation
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Karen Elizabeth Johnson.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
57587774 ( OCLC )
ocm57587774
Classification:
LD1190.E3 2004d J63 ( lcc )

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Full Text
MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE INQUIRY:
CONNECTING EXPERIENCES AND BELIEFS TO PRACTICE
by
Karen Elizabeth Johnson
B. S., Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, 1988
M. .A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1998
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
In partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
2004
nr
1 5 S
l. \:


2004 by Karen Elizabeth Johnson
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Karen Elizabeth Johnson
has been approved
by
Michael P. Marlow
Linda Damon
Ellen Stevens
3
Date


Johnson, Karen E (PhD., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Middle School Science Inquiry: Connecting Experiences and Beliefs to Practice
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Michael P. Marlow
ABSTRACT
A major education reform effort today involves the teaching and learning of
inquiry science. This case study research examined connections between
background experiences and teacher beliefs and the role they played in the
implementation of scientific inquiry within four middle school classrooms. The
research questions guiding this study included: a) identifying how teachers
background and experiences related to the use of scientific inquiry-based practice,
b) identification of teacher self-reported characteristics of scientific inquiry, c)
identification of the ways in which teachers self-reported beliefs related to the use
of scientific inquiry-based practice, d) determine the extent that self-reported
teaching scientific inquiry behaviors were consistent with observed behaviors in
practice and e) identify how teachers implemented a scientific inquiry-based
approach into their instructional practice.
Across the cases, the findings revealed four major experiences that
influenced teacher beliefs regarding inquiry-based teaching: a) opportunities for
doing science, b) influences of the teacher education program primarily with respect
iv


to positive science role models, c) teaching experiences and school expectations and
d) the personality of the individuals.
Major themes regarding teaching beliefs regarding characteristics of inquiry-
based practice, reported by the participants, included: a) student-centered
instruction, b) learning by doing, c) real world applications, d) integration, e)
collaboration and f) communicating scientific ideas. Findings also revealed that
teacher beliefs and practice aligned except in the area of communicating scientific
ideas. Participants did not identify communication as a belief regarding inquiry-
based practice, but observed practice found communicating scientific ideas played a
minor role.
Implications from the findings are significant as science educators continue
to understand the influence of background experiences and beliefs on inquiry-based
practice. Opportunities for teachers to do science and promoting teacher
leadership and role models in the area of inquiry-based teaching would foster
inquiry-based teaching practice.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
Michael P. Marlow
v


DEDICATION
I dedicate this dissertation to the 163 students and four teachers who
participated in this study.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
As with any major endeavor within ones life, it is important to have a
supportive family, and the guidance of mentoring professors. I wish to thank them
all for their patience, support, and guidance throughout the completion of this
dissertation.
My husband, Keith, encouraged and supported my work throughout the
entire process. His patience, understanding and feedback were of great value,
especially when I needed a listener. Our children, Kasandra, Tristan, Paul, Mary
and Valorie deserve a huge thank you for the support they provided during this
process. My parents, Ken and Ellie, have always guided and encouraged my goals
and I thank them for believing in me.
I thank my advisor, Mike Marlow, for his undying support and dedication to
science education and teacher development. His words of wisdom, generosity and
professional development opportunities have molded me into the science educator
and leader that I am today. Linda Damon believed in me throughout the entire
process. I appreciate her thought provoking questions and always asking why to
challenge my thinking and understanding. Sue Giullian has been a valuable asset
with her encouragement and guidance. I thank her for the numerous conversations
and words of advice. I am deeply grateful for Ellen Stevens and her insightful
questions and wealth of information that she so willingly shared.


CONTENTS
Figures.......................................................xx
Tables........................................................xxi
CHAPTER
1. THE RESEARCH PROBLEM........................................1
Introduction.............................................1
Background and Significance of the Problem...............3
Conceptual Framework.....................................6
Teaching Practice.................................8
Attitudes and Beliefs.............................9
Experiences......................................10
The Research Questions..................................10
Operational Definitions.................................11
Overview of Methodology.................................13
Structure of the Dissertation...........................14
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE...................................16
Introduction............................................16
viii
Scientific Inquiry,
16


Constructivism in Instructional Practices............17
Definition of Inquiry-Based Teaching.................18
Components of Inquiry Learning and Teaching..........19
Teaching Practice and Inquiry..............................21
Teachers.............................................21
Technology...........................................22
Diversity............................................23
Students.............................................24
Philosophy of Teaching Related to Practice.................26
Factors Affecting Practice.................................26
Teaching Attitudes and Beliefs.......................26
Does Teaching Practice Reflect One's Beliefs?..............28
Other Factors AflFecting Practice..........................30
Personal Experiences.................................30
Academic Experiences.................................31
Inquiry Practice and Teacher Professional Development..31
Summary of the Literature Review...........................33
3. RESEARCH METHODS...............................................34
Introduction...............................................34
The Case Study Design......................................35
Research Sites and Participants............................36
IX


Description of the Sites............................38
Description of the Participating Classrooms.........45
The Researchers' Role...............................47
Ethical Considerations..............................49
Data Collection Methods....................................49
In-depth Interviews.................................50
Observation.........................................50
Artifact Collection.................................51
Instrumentation.....................................52
Data Analysis..............................................54
Data Management.....................................54
Data Analysis Procedures............................55
Dissemination of the Research to Participants..............57
Summary....................................................58
4. CASE STUDY OF JULIE: THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
PROJECT.......................................................59
Introduction...............................................59
Description of Julie.......................................59
Background Experience and Inquiry..........................60
Opportunities for Doing Science.....................60
Project-Based Science Experiences...................62


Interactions With Students............................63
Teacher Education Program Expectations................64
International Baccalaureate Expectations..............64
Personal Learning Style...............................65
Self-Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry.................66
Characteristics of Inquiry............................67
Big Ideas and Guiding Questions................67
Learning By Doing..............................68
Connections....................................69
Integration of All Content Areas........70
Background Knowledge....................71
Student Centered Instruction............71
Communicating...........................73
Collaboration..................................74
Assessment.....................................74
Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry............:.............75
Major Goals for Students..............................76
Teacher's Role........................................77
Constraints of Inquiry Teaching.......................78
Benefits of Teaching Inquiry..........................79
Implementation of Inquiry....................................80
XI


Description of the Inquiry Project: Teaching the Scientific
Method.....................................................81
Assessment Driven Instruction.......................83
Student's Background Knowledge......................86
Students Doing Science..............................87
Making Connections..................................88
Student Centered Instruction........................90
Release of Teacher Control..........................90
Differences Between Classes.........................93
Do Practice and Beliefs Match?.............................96
Summary....................................................98
5. CASE STUDY OF ANGELA: THE RADIUS PROJECT......................100
Introduction..............................................100
Description of Angela.....................................100
Background Experience and Inquiry.........................101
An Expectation of Science..........................101
Opportunities For Doing Authentic Science..........102
Teacher Education Program Expectations.............105
Teaching Experiences and School Expectations.......106
Personal Learning Style and Perceptions............107
Self-Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry..............109
xii


Characteristics of Inquiry............................110
Hooking Students on Science....................Ill
Student Centered Instruction...................112
Organization............................113
Real World..............................114
Integration of Literacy........................114
Using Resources................................115
Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry..........................116
Major Goals for Students..............................117
Teacher's Role........................................117
Constraints of Inquiry Teaching.......................118
School and District Expectations...............119
Promoting Student Success......................119
Personal Constraints...........................120
Benefits..............................................120
Implementation of Inquiry....................................121
Description of Inquiry Project: The Radius: Investigating and
Understanding Research Project...............................121
Assessment Driven Instruction.........................124
Doing Authentic Science...............................126
Real World Examples............................126
xiii


Data Gathering Through Observation..........129
Technology and Tools for Science............130
Communication...............................131
Collaboration...............................132
Integration.................................133
Fostering Student Success..........................134
Do Practice and Beliefs Match?............................138
Summary...................................................141
6. CASE STUDY OF TAMMY: THE AFRICAN CICHLID
PROJECT......................................................143
Introduction..............................................143
Description of Tammy......................................143
Background Experience and Inquiry.........................144
A Natural Curiosity and Love of Nature.............144
Opportunities to do Authentic Science..............145
High School and College Experiences.........145
Work Experiences............................147
Teacher Education Program Expectations.............148
Pre-Service Teaching Experiences............149
Teaching Experiences...............................152
Self-Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry..............154
xiv


Characteristics of Inquiry.................................154
Motivating Students.................................155
Doing Science................................156
Real World...................................156
Student Centered Instruction........................157
Integration of Other Content Areas and Technology..159
Technology...................................159
Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry........................160
Major Goals for Students............................161
Teacher's Role......................................162
Constraints of Teaching Inquiry.....................162
Benefits of Inquiry Teaching........................163
Implementation of Inquiry..................................164
Description of the Inquiry Project: African Cichlid
Investigations.............................................165
Developing Background Knowledge.....................168
Prior Knowledge..............................168
Real Life....................................168
Student Centered Examples....................170
Doing Authentic Science.............................171
Real Life....................................171
XV


Collaboration...............................172
Student Initiated Investigations............173
Developing a Question for Investigation. 173
Procedures............................174
Data Gathering........................174
Analysis..............................175
Communicating.........................176
Integration........................................177
Literacy....................................177
Mathematics.................................178
Social Studies..............................179
Technology..................................180
Fostering Student Success..........................181
Do Practice and Beliefs Match?.............................184
Summary....................................................186
7. CASE STUDY OF LISA: DISCOVERY BOXES..........................188
Introduction..............................................188
Description of Lisa.......................................188
Background Experience and Inquiry.........................189
Teaching Role Models...............................189
Extended Classroom Experiences.....................191
XVI


Teacher Education Program Expectations...............193
Teaching Experiences.................................196
Student Inquiry Projects......................196
Meshing Philosophy and Practice...............197
Self-Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry................199
Characteristics of Inquiry...........................199
Student Centered Instruction..................200
Collaboration Through Relationship Building ....203
Real World....................................204
Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry.........................205
Major Goals for Students.............................205
Teachers Role.......................................207
Constraints of Inquiry Teaching......................207
Benefits of Inquiry Teaching.........................209
Implementation of Inquiry...................................210
Description of the Inquiry Project: Discovery Boxes.........211
Student Centered Instruction.........................213
Opportunities for Exploring With Science.............214
Doing Authentic Science.......................214
Data Gathering................................215
Communicating Ideas About Science....................216
xvii


Questioning and Guidance...........................217
Do Practice and Beliefs Match?............................221
Summary...................................................222
8. CROSS-CASE ANALYSIS, DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS,
AND RECOMMENDATIONS..........................................225
Introduction..............................................225
Background Experiences Across the Cases...................227
Opportunities To Do Science........................229
Teacher Education Program..........................231
Teaching Experiences and Expectations..............233
Personality........................................235
Role Models........................................236
Cross-Case Analysis of Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry ....237
Goals for Students.................................238
Teacher's Role.....................................240
Constraints of Inquiry.............................241
Benefits of Inquiry................................242
Cross-Case Analysis of the Self-Reported Beliefs About
Characteristics of Inquiry and Implementation.............243
Definition of Inquiry..............................245
Student Centered Instruction.......................245
xviii


Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation.245
Learning By Doing..............................247
Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation.247
Integration....................................249
Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation.249
Collaboration..................................251
Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation.251
Communicating Scientific Ideas.................253
Implementation...........................253
Do Practice and Beliefs Match?........................255
A New Conceptualization of Inquiry-Based Practice.....256
Summary of the Findings, Discussion and Implications..257
Limitations of the Study..............................258
Recommendations for Further Research..................261
APPENDIX
A. SELECTION PROTOCOL................................264
B. DATA COLLECTION PROTOCOL..........................270
C. DATA ANALYSIS.....................................275
REFERENCES..................................................277
XIX


FIGURES
Figure
1.1 A Dynamic Model of Teaching Practice....................................8
1.2 Scientific Inquiry Cycle................................................13
4.1 Julies Teaching Cycle for the Scientific Method........................93
5.1 Angelas Teaching Cycle for the Scientific Method......................138
6.1 Tammys Teaching Cycle for the African Cichlid Investigation...........184
7.1 Lisas Teaching Cycle for Discovery Boxes..............................220
8.1 A New Conceptualization of Inquiry-Based Practice......................257
XX


TABLES
Table
3.1 Demographics of Participating School Sites......................39
3.2 Percentage of Students Proficient and Advanced, Spring 2003.....40
3.3 Science Goals and Strategies for Trailside Middle School.......41
3.4 Science Goals and Strategies for Rocky Mountain Middle School. .42
3.5 Science Goals and Strategies for Aspen Grove Middle School.....43
3.6 Science Goals and Strategies for Cottonwood Middle School......44
3.7 Demographics of Participating Classrooms........................45
3.8 Number of Students Proficient and Advanced for Participating
Classrooms......................................................47
3.9 Data Collection Planning Matrix.................................49
3.10 Number of Days Observed at Each Site...........................51
4.1 Calendar of Events for Julie.....................................82
4.2 Examples of Student Differentiation with Inquiry Projects........84
4.3 Science Experiences for Julies First Hour Class.................92
4.4 Science Experiences for Julies Eighth Hour Class................95
4.5 Julies Beliefs and Practice.....................................97
4.6 Integration of Julies Experiences, Beliefs and Practice........99
XXI


5.1 Calendar of Events for Angela................................123
5.2 Science Experiences During Angelas Class....................137
5.3 Angelas Beliefs and Practice................................140
5.4 Integration of Angelas Experiences, Beliefs and Practice....142
6.1 Calendar of Events for Tammy.................................167
6.2 Science Experiences During Tammys Class.....................183
6.3 Tammys Beliefs and Practice.................................185
6.4 Integration of Tammys Experiences, Beliefs and Practice.....187
7.1 Calendar of Events for Lisa..................................212
7.2 Science Experiences During Lisas Class......................219
7.3 Lisas Beliefs and Practice..................................222
7.4 Integration of Lisas Experiences, Beliefs and Practice......224
8.1 Cross-Case Analysis of Background Experiences................228
8.2 Cross-Case Analysis of Beliefs Regarding Inquiry Teaching
Practice.....................................................238
8.3 Cross-Case Analysis of the Self-Reported Beliefs About
Characteristics of Inquiry...................................243
8.4 Cross-Case Analysis of the Implementation of Inquiry.........244
C. 1 Table of Coding..............................................275
xxii


CHAPTER ONE
THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
Introduction
A major education reform effort today involves the teaching and learning of
science from the perspective of scientific professionals, advances in technology, and
the increasing demands to educate all students in the areas of mathematics and
science (Yager, 2000). One result of the reform movement was the establishment of
educational standards for K-12 curriculum (National Council of the Teachers of
Mathematics, 1989; National Research Council, 1996). In addition, scientific
inquiry standards were developed to promote critical thinking about, and
understanding of, science (National Research Council, 2000). While many educators
have striven to incorporate these scientific inquiry standards into their classroom
practice, a variety of challenges have kept them from successfully promoting
scientific inquiry with their students. High stakes assessment, time, and increasing
demands for teaching content knowledge hinder the promotion of critical thinking
and understanding skills of students that promote scientific inquiry. Although
research has focused on varying aspects of scientific inquiry teaching and learning,
there continues to be a lack of research on teacher attitudes and beliefs regarding
scientific inquiry and teacher practice (Ediger, 2002; Nelson, 2000; Souza Barros &
1


Elia, 1997). This lack of research may be related to challenges associated with the
variety of implementation strategies employed by teachers. None-the-less, attitudes
and beliefs are key components in change efforts. This area deserves further
exploration.
The purposes of this study were to determine:
How teachers background and experience relate to the use of
scientific inquiry-based practice?
Self-reported characteristics of scientific inquiry teaching found in
selected middle school classrooms reported as promoting scientific
inquiry-based practice.
How teachers self-reported beliefs relate to the use of scientific
inquiry-based practice?
How middle school teachers implemented a scientific inquiry-based
approach into their instructional practice?
The relationship between self-reported teaching scientific inquiry
behaviors and observed behaviors in practicing inquiry-based
classrooms.
2


Background and Significance of the Problem
The National Science Teachers Association, National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics, and other national education groups have called for standards based
education (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1998; National
Research Council, 1996; Spillane & Callahan, 2000). Connections between
learning science, learning about science, and learning to do science are the major
goals of these science standards (National Research Council, 2000). The national
science standards were developed to address not only science content but also
inquiry (National Research Council, 1996; National Research Council, 2000).
Scientific inquiry as defined in these standards, refers to the variety of ways in
which scientists and students study the natural world and propose explanations
based on the evidence derived from their work. Scientific inquiry helps students
develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas and the work of scientists
(National Research Council, 2000). This development of knowledge and
understanding of scientific ideas are important goals for students, but questions
remain about strategies educators use to incorporate scientific inquiry into their
practice.
The National Science Teaching Standards include scientific inquiry as a
central part of science teaching. Teachers of science need to plan, support,
3


encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry (National Research Council,
2000). Teacher roles vary while incorporating scientific inquiry into the classroom,
dependent upon the needs of the students and the type of inquiry presented. Guided
inquiry, structured inquiry and student-initiated inquiries are a few examples of
ways in which teachers implement inquiry into classroom practice and will be
discussed in more detail in Chapter Two.
Instructional models have been developed that help teachers organize and
sequence scientific inquiry experiences within their classroom (National Research
Council, 2000). Although there are a number of ways promoted to successfully
teach scientific inquiry, there are similar components that all effective models
display (National Research Council, 2000). Most will begin by having students
become engaged with a scientific question, event, or phenomenon. This
engagement helps students make connections with what they already know, creates
dissonance with their own ideas, and motivates them to learn more. Students then
commonly explore ideas through hands-on experiences, formulate and test
hypotheses, solve problems, and create explanations for what they observe. This
stage may be followed by student analysis and interpretation of data, synthesis of
ideas, building models, and clarifying concepts and explanations with sources of
scientific knowledge. Students may extend their new understanding and abilities by
applying what they have learned to new situations. Finally, students become
4


involved in having their peers and teachers, review and assess what they have
learned and how they have learned it.
Although scientific inquiry has a defined role in national education
standards, many teachers are unable to effectively achieve scientific inquiry
standards within their classrooms. Teachers need to have an understanding of
scientific inquiry in order to effectively teach it (National Research Council, 2000).
Unfortunately, most teachers have not had opportunities to learn science using this
method or to conduct science inquiries themselves. Yet, the National Science
Education Standards (1996) and the standards for professional development of
science teachers call for teachers to better understand scientific inquiry based
teaching.
Within the standards are four major categories for professional development
of teachers of scientific inquiry. These include learning science through inquiry,
learning to teach science through inquiry, becoming lifelong inquirers' themselves,
and building professional development programs for inquiry-based learning and
teaching (National Research Council, 2000). Many science educators struggle with
learning and teaching inquiry, which leads to the major questions addressed in this
study.
Teacher attitudes have a direct influence on classroom practice. Souza
Barros & Elia (1997) studied secondary science teachers and determined types of
teaching attitudes, which included a lack of confidence about subject content,
5


resistance to curricular and methodological innovations, a lack of coherence
between classroom practices and expressed educational beliefs, and a lack of
commitment towards good learning.
A few studies have focused on pre-service teacher attitudes and scientific
inquiry (King, Shumow & Lietz, 2001; McGinnis, Kramer, Roth-McDuffie &
Watanabe, 1998). Damnjanovic (1999) found that in-service teachers held more
positive views regarding the process of scientific inquiry and scientific inquiry
teaching than did pre-service teachers. Keys and Bryan (2001) proposed that more
research is needed in the areas of teachers' beliefs, knowledge, and practices of
inquiry-based science, as well as student learning. Because the efficacy of reform
efforts rest largely with teachers, their voices need to be included in the design and
implementation of scientific inquiry-based curriculum. The current study will
attempt to address issues related to teacher experiences, beliefs and implementation
of scientific inquiry based practice in middle school classrooms.
Conceptual Framework
A model of teaching practice, as depicted in Figure 1.1, will be used to
understand scientific inquiry practice. This model can be used to examine any
aspect of teaching practice but for the purposes of this study, refers to scientific
inquiry based teaching practice. Teaching practice is influenced by individuals
beliefs and attitudes. Teachers beliefs and attitudes are also influenced by various
6


experiences encountered by the individual. Experiences, for the purposes of this
study, may reflect family experiences, academic and teaching experiences, and
professional development experiences. Although circular in design, each factor in
the model can influence other factors in the model. For instance, professional
development opportunities available for teachers may or may not play a role in the
attitudes or beliefs a teacher holds. These beliefs affect the individuals teaching
practice.
Figure 1.1
A Dynamic Model of Teaching Practice


Teaching Practice
Teaching practice, and for the purposes of this study, the practice of
scientific inquiry, lies in the center of this model. To better understand scientific
inquiry and how it looks in the classroom, teaching practice must be examined
(Brooks & Brooks, 1993; Gil-Perez et al., 2002; Simpson, 2001). An individuals
teaching practice is directly related to his or her philosophy of teaching and
learning. Inquiry-based practice has been characterized as promoting a
constructivist view of teaching and learning.
Constructivism, based on the earlier writings of major theorists such as
Dewey (1910/1997), Vygotsky (1929, 1978, 1987) and Piaget (1973) lies at the
heart of scientific inquiry-based classroom practice. Constructivist classrooms
foster students' construction of meaning and acknowledge the importance of
personal values, beliefs, and experiences as building blocks for practice. The social
aspect of learning is also emphasized (Brooks & Brooks, 1993; Lambert, Walker,
Zimmerman, Cooper, Lambert, Gardner & Slack, 1995). To better understand
scientific inquiry and how it looks in the classroom, teaching practice must be
examined. A close look at a teachers philosophy regarding teaching and learning
of others and themselves is important (Galbaith, 1999).
8


Attitudes and Beliefs
Building a framework that aids in understanding relationships between an
individuals teaching beliefs, attitudes, experiences and professional development
opportunities and the role these play in their teaching practice involves an
understanding of a sociocultural perspective. Vygotsky (1929, 1978,1987) brought
to the forefront an emphasis on the social environment as a facilitator of
development and learning. He believed that the integration of social factors with
personal factors produced learning.
Teacher beliefs and attitudes have significant importance within a classroom
setting (Lee & Houseal, 2003; Nespor, 1987; Pajares, 1992). Professional
development experiences, institutional policies, and the culture of a school,
influence classroom practice. Sociocultural theorists believe that it is not possible to
live aculturally or think or act independently of culture (Cole & Wertsch, 1996;
Wells, 1999). Vygotsky (1978) believed that higher mental functions are culturally
mediated. Cole and Wertsch (1996) stated implications of this belief: a) artifacts
facilitate, shape and transform mental processes, b) all psychological functions are
culturally, historically, and institutionally situated, c) objects and contexts develop
together in a bio-social-cultural process of development, and d) development of
higher psychological functions are influenced by biological, the cultural mediational
artifacts, and the culturally structured environments of which individuals are a part.
9


Experiences
Individuals experiences influence their teaching practice. Personal
experiences including family experiences also influence what teachers think about
teaching and learning (Ball, 1988; Lortie, 1975; Stuart & Thurlow, 2000).
Academic experiences include those experienced as a student and begin in very
early childhood and continue through a persons schooling. Institutional policies
directly affect an individuals teaching practice and decisions that are made in the
classroom. Professional development experiences are experiences that individuals
have that pertain to teaching and learning in order to provide growth or new
understandings in a particular area. The culture of a school influences the
happenings inside a classroom.
In order to effectively study how teachers backgrounds and experiences
play a role in the development of beliefs about teaching and how beliefs influence
classroom practice, a case study approach was used. This approach allowed the
researcher to examine relationships between teachers experiences and self-reported
beliefs and the implementation of scientific inquiry within middle school
classrooms.
The Research Questions
This study will address the following research questions:
10


How do teachers background and experience relate to the use of
scientific inquiry-based practice?
How do teachers self-reported beliefs relate to the use of scientific
inquiry-based practice?
What are self-reported characteristics of scientific inquiry teaching
found in selected middle school classrooms reported as promoting
scientific inquiry-based practice?
How do middle school teachers implement a scientific inquiry-
based approach into their instructional practice?
What is the relationship between self-reported teaching scientific
inquiry behaviors and observed behaviors in practicing inquiry-
based classrooms?
Operational Definitions
Although there are numerous definitions of inquiry from various fields, in
this study, scientific inquiry will be described as a cycle of engagement, exploration,
explanation, application, and evaluation (Bybee, Buchwald, Crissman, Heil,
Kuerbis, Matsumoto & Mclnemey, 1989). Figure 1.2 displays the components of
questioning, determining and collecting evidence, formulating explanations,
connecting scientific knowledge, and communicating explanations. For the
11


purposes of this study, the terms inquiry and scientific inquiry will be used
interchangeably.
Figure 1.2
Scientific Inquiry Cycle (Bybee, Buchwald, Crissman, Heil, Kuerbis, Matsumoto &
Mclnerney, 1989).
Questioning (Engagement)
Communicates reasonable / explanations [/ (Evaluation) l INQUIRY LEARNING Determines and collects evidence (Exploration)
Connects scientific knowledge Formulates explanation
and resources (Explanation)
(Application)
In this study, self-reported teaching inquiry beliefs refer to instructional
practices identified by the participants on the Attitudes and Beliefs About Inquiry
Questionnaire (see Appendix A) utilized in this study. This questionnaire, described
in Chapter Three, was developed and piloted by the researcher and measured beliefs
about teaching inquiry and confidence in teaching inquiry. Self-reported beliefs
also refer to responses from participating teachers in regards to interview questions
related to individual beliefs about teaching, learning and students.
12


Overview of Methodology
This study used a multiple case study approach (Creswell, 1994; Yin, 1994)
to examine environments and teacher beliefs within inquiry-based classrooms.
Individuals who use an inquiry-based approach to teach science courses in middle
schools were the main criteria for inclusion. Subjects were determined by
individual responses on the Attitudes and Beliefs About Inquiry Questionnaire that
the researcher developed and piloted. This measure determined the confidence level
that individuals felt regarding teaching and learning of scientific inquiry. Only
teachers reporting high levels of confidence and positive attitudes toward inquiry-
based teaching were considered. In addition, initial interviews and observations of
classroom teachers assisted in selecting individuals that reported student initiated
inquiry experiences as a characteristic of their practice.
This study included the collection of data from a variety of sources. In-
depth audio taped teacher interviews, field notes of classroom observations, and
documents served as data sources for this study. Data were transcribed, organized
and coded, using constant comparative analysis (Hutchinson, 1988; Miles &
Huberman, 1984), which led to generating categories, themes and patterns and
evaluation of these themes and patterns. Open coding (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) was
incorporated throughout this process.
13


Structure of the Dissertation
In Chapter One, I described the purpose and significance of the problem, and
present the research questions. A conceptual framework was established to set the
context for the study and a brief overview of the methodology was included.
In the Review of the Literature in Chapter Two, I review the literature that
encompasses the historical perspectives of constructivism and ties to science inquiry
practice and design. Literature on the characteristics of scientific inquiry will be
described, as well as literature on teachers attitudes, beliefs and instructional
practice related to inquiry teaching will follow.
In Chapter Three, Research Methods, I describe in depth, the case study
design and methodology for this study. Next, I report the procedures for site
selection and provide a description of each site. Then, I address data collection
procedures, and describe the methods used in data analysis. I conclude the chapter
with a description of how the research was disseminated to the participants.
In Chapters Four, Five, Six and Seven, I present the findings of the research
questions posed in Chapter One. Each case will be separated into its own chapter to
better capture the rich detail and dense descriptions necessary to answer the research
questions.
Chapter Eight provides a cross-case analysis and discussion among the four
sites. Implications of this research will be discussed and limitations are addressed.
The chapter concludes with recommendations for future research.
14


The Appendixes provide samples of instruments used during the selection
process and data collection protocol. A table of codes used during data analysis is
also provided. Bibliographic information regarding literature cited in the study is
found in the Reference Section.
15


CHAPTER TWO
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Introduction
In this chapter, I will begin with a review of the literature related to scientific
inquiry practice, focusing on the use of constructivism in instructional practices.
Then I will describe inquiry-based teaching including a definition and components
of teaching and learning related to inquiry practice. Teachers use of inquiry in the
classroom will follow. Literature focusing on teacher attitudes and beliefs regarding
inquiry is described in the next section. The chapter will conclude with literature
describing other factors including personal and academic experiences in addition to
professional development related to scientific inquiry practice.
Scientific Inquiry
Constructivists tend to agree on general characteristics of teaching and
learning that: a) knowledge is constructed, b) cognitive structures are activated in
the process of construction, c) these structures can be transformed through
purposeful activity or from environmental or social pressure and d) beliefs lead to a
constructivist methodology (Simpson, 2001). An inquiry-based approach to
teaching science has been a major focus of education reform efforts and
16


lends its philosophy toward a constructivist and socio-cultural theoretical
perspective of learning.
Constructivism in Instructional Practices
Constructivism as a basis for instructional practice and design is found
throughout the literature. Brooks & Brooks (1993) described five major principles
of constructivism as it pertains to classroom teachers. Constructivist teachers: 1)
pose problems of emerging relevance of students in order to foster the creation of
personal meaning, 2) structure learning experiences around primary concepts and
big ideas, 3) seek and value students points of view, 4) adapt curriculum to address
students suppositions (prior knowledge and conceptions) and 5) assess student
learning in the context of teaching (authentic assessment).
Numerous studies have related these principles to science teaching (Gil-
Perez, et al., 2002; Green & Gredler, 2002; Packer & Goicoechea, 2000; Simpson,
2001). Gil-Perez, et al. (2002) suggested a teaching strategy more appropriate for
science education which included: 1) consideration of the interest and worthiness of
the situation proposed in order to provide meaning to students, allowing
opportunities for students to form ideas about a topic, 2) qualitative study of
problematic situations, 3) invention of concepts and forming hypotheses, 4)
elaboration of strategies for problem solving and experimental designs, 5)
implementation of strategies and analysis of results, 6) application of new
17


knowledge and, 7) conception of new problems. These strategies should be general
indications that display the construction of scientific knowledge.
Definition of Inquiry-Based Teaching
The National Science Teachers Association, National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics, and other national education groups call for standards based education
(American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1998; National Council of
Teachers of Mathematics, 1989; National Research Council, 1996; Spillane &
Callahan, 2000). Science standards were further developed that addressed inquiry
(National Research Council, 2000).
Scientific inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study
the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence
derived from their work. Inquiry also refers to the activities of
students in which they develop knowledge and understanding of
scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study
the natural world. (National Research Council, 1996, p. 23)
Connections between learning science, learning about science, and learning
to do science are the major goals of the science standards (National Research
Council, 1996). The National Science Education Standards are a driving force
behind improvements in science education throughout the United States. For the
purposes of this study, the term inquiry will represent scientific inquiry as it is used
in the proceeding definition.
18


Components of Inquiry Learning and Teaching
What does scientific inquiry look like in the classroom? There are a variety
of skills and abilities that are necessary to engage in inquiry. Students must be able
to ask questions, make observations, design and conduct investigations, use
appropriate tools and techniques in order to gather and analyze data, utilize critical
thinking skills, use evidence to develop explanations and predictions, and
communicate this information to others (National Research Council, 2000).
Scientific inquiry allows individuals opportunities to interact with others and create
meaning for themselves, which contributes to new understandings in areas of
scientific reasoning and scientific literacy (Black & Wiliam, 1998). Students that
develop an understanding of scientific concepts have the potential to transfer their
learning to additional situations (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999). As
described in Chapter One, inquiry can be described as a cycle of engagement,
exploration, explanation, application, and evaluation (Bybee, Buchwald, Crissman,
Heil, Kuerbis, Matsumoto & Mclnemey, 1989). But what are the essential traits of
inquiry? Hinrichsen and Jarrett (1999) describe four essential traits of scientific
inquiry as connecting personal understandings with those of sound science,
designing experiments, investigating, and constructing meaning from data and
observations.
Scientific inquiry begins by building upon what students already know and
believe, as well as, the experiences that each individual brings to the classroom
19


(Driver, Duck, Squires, & Wood-Robinson, 1994). Connections that individuals
make to the world and to their own learning enable them to become engaged and
explore the vast scientific knowledge that is available. This step is extremely
important because many students develop misconceptions about scientific concepts.
Throughout this phase of learning, students build on their own understanding and
continually question and rethink scientific ideas and phenomenon.
As students attempt to make connections between new and old learning,
questions inevitably arise. This natural wonder and curiosity can be fostered by the
inquiry approach and is at the center of inquiry experiences (Haury, 1993).
Observational techniques can be heightened due to this curiosity. Students may be
more engaged and motivated. If teachers nurture the natural questions that students
have, they may become more engaged and motivated about learning.
Designing a plan to investigate the questions that students bring to the
classroom is the next challenging step. Students must be able to write procedures,
determine materials needed, and decide on relevant data gathering techniques that
will answer the question. As students become the scientists and continually
reflect and refine their scientific skills, they engage in data collection, interpretation,
analysis and presentation of the data (Haury, 1993). Presentation can encompass a
wide range of activities and include journal notes, table and graph interpretations, or
describing variables of an investigation. The ability to communicate new
understandings is the final goal in this process.
20


Haberman (1998) suggested that expectations are being raised beyond basic
skills, to critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. If students are:
a) involved with issues they regard as vital concerns, b) involved with explanations
of human differences, c) helped to see major concepts and involved in planning,
d) involved with applying ideals such as fairness, equity, or justice to their world,
e) actively and directly involved in real-life experiences and involved in
heterogeneous groups, f) thinking about ideas that question, and relate to previous
knowledge, g) involved in redoing, polishing, or perfecting their work and
h) involved with technology of information access, then good teaching is going on
(Haberman, 1998; Jarret, 1997). Scientific inquiry practice aligns with each of
these skills but how does that look in the classroom? Teaching practice related to
the use of scientific inquiry will be discussed in the next section.
Teaching Practice and Inquiry
Literature related to teaching practice and scientific inquiry is extensive.
The following section summarizes research related to teachers, technology, diversity
and students.
Teachers
Literature focusing on instructional practices associated with inquiry-based
teaching is extensive. Several teachers have studied their own practice and
21


contributed their perceptions of implementing inquiry (Doris, 1991; Iwasyk, 2000;
Kurose, 2000; Nissley, 2000). This body of work brings to the surface an important
theme. These teachers practiced inquiry-based instruction as arising from students
own questions. Crawford (2000) studied a single specialized high school ecology
class to illustrate inquiry-based practice. Kimmel, Deek, O'Shea, & Farrell (1999)
reported that teachers were able to provide a rich description of each learner's role in
an activity, and how roles and accommodations would be compatible with those of
other students to maximize learning by all.
Technology
Technology can be used effectively in education to support inquiry learning
and teaching. One program, Model-It, engages students in science inquiry through
building models for complex systems. The Project Integration Visualization Tool
(PIViT), a flexible design program, scaffolds teachers as they design and employ
instructional plans for project-based science education (Krajcik, Soloway,
Blumenfeld & Marx, 1998). Windschitl (2000) described inquiry learning, abilities
of learners, inquiry instruction, using inquiry to facilitate modeling, and three
classes of software that supported inquiry instruction.
22


Diversity
Some research has focused on the teaching of inquiry with diverse students.
Urban teachers were more poorly prepared than had been anticipated, both in terms
of science content knowledge and instructional skills, but also with respect to the
quality of classroom pedagogical and management skills. Lessons were typically
expository in nature, with little higher-level interaction of significance (King,
Shumow & Lietz, 2001). Knapp & Shields (1990) found that effective science
teachers in urban schools provided students with opportunities for teacher/student
and student/student discussion, project-based heterogeneous groups, explicit
teaching, supplemental instructional arrangements, and classroom order.
Research on instructional strategies for students of poverty found a variety
of strategies that facilitated learning for urban students. Incorporating life
experiences (Knapp & Shields, 1990; Maeroff, 1998), emphasizing the
understanding of scientific concepts (Bowers, 2000; Knapp, Shields & Turnbull,
1995) in place of memorizing facts, and building a community of learners (Bowers,
2000; Williams & Woods, 1997) facilitates student learning and understanding.
Integrating and changing beliefs about students and their ability to leam (Haberman,
1998) and incorporating problem-based, cooperative learning activities help
students realize relevance of the topic (Arroyo, Rhoad & Drew, 1999; Bowers,
2000). Effective questioning and development of technology skills (Bowers, 2000),
helping students build confidence (Arroyo, Rhoad & Drew, 1999; Bowers, 2000),
23


utilizing a student-centered approach (Bowers, 2000; Stephen, Varble & Taitt,
1993) and allowing for student choice (Hootstein, 1996) also facilitate learning in
urban classrooms. These strategies are at the heart of inquiry-based instruction for
all students.
There are an increasing number of research studies that address special
student populations and science inquiry classrooms. Rosebery, Warren and Conant
(1992) suggest that second language learners can successfully engage and learn
science concepts using an inquiry approach. Students with learning disabilities
performed better on assessments, when participating in inquiry science (Dalton,
Morocco & Tivnan, 1997; Mastropieri, Boon, Carter & Scruggs, 2001; Scruggs,
Mastropieri, Bakken & Brigham, 1993).
Educators, classroom teachers and learning disabilities specialists, require a
deep knowledge of both the subject matter and the ways of thinking and reasoning
within that subject matter. In addition, the nature of the social support provided to
students in a classroom needs to be addresses in order to advance the learning of
students with special needs within inquiry-based classrooms (Palincsar, Collins,
Marano & Magnusson, 2000).
Students
Student images of scientists have been studied. Finson & Beaver (1985)
provided eighth grade students with university partnerships, career components,
24


field trips, speakers, and materials, which changed their image of a scientist.
Additional studies found students were able to identify perceptions of their own role
in lab type experiments (Fraser, Giddings & McRobbie, 1995; LeMaster, 2001).
Student attitudes toward inquiry have been studied. Waldrip & Fisher
(2001) found significant correlations existed between teacher interaction and
teachers' use of student outcome statements on students' attitudes. Morrell &
Lederman (1998) found a statistically significant relationship existed between
students' attitudes toward school and toward classroom science. Another study
explored the effects of student learning of earth science content and on teaching
methods. Findings revealed that inquiry-group instruction was superior in
promoting students' achievement and attitudes toward earth science, as compared to
traditional teaching methods (Chang & Mao, 1999).
The "Discussions in Science" (DiS) project used a science topic as the basis
for discussions between teachers and students. The teachers analyzed children's
thinking about science as well as variables affecting inquiry science teaching. Flick
(1990) found significant increases in attitudes toward inquiry teaching.
Teaching practice and implementation of an inquiry approach to teach
science continues to a relevant topic of research throughout the literature. Keys and
Bryan (2001) challenges current research efforts to focus on the implementation of
inquiry in order to understand how classroom teachers make inquiry their own.
25


Philosophy of Teaching Related to Practice
Developing a philosophy of teaching usually encompasses identifying a set
of guidelines for knowing the aims of instruction and the effects on learners
(Galbraith, 1999). Furthermore, beliefs, values and attitudes are the foundation for
developing a philosophy of teaching (Galbaith, 1999).
Livingston, McClain and DeSpain (1995) studied elementary and secondary
students in a teacher education program and determined a high consistency between
the expressed goals and their philosophical thought. This quantitative study looked
primarily at survey responses. It is important to take into consideration classroom
practice as well.
Factors Affecting Practice
Many educators agree that teacher attitudes and beliefs regarding science
may affect instructional practice (Nespor, 1987; Pajares, 1992). A review of
literature related to in-service teacher attitudes and beliefs will follow.
Teaching Attitudes and Beliefs
Souza Barros & Elia (1997) studied secondary science teachers and
determined types of teaching attitudes, which included a lack of confidence about
subject content, resistance to curricular and methodological innovations, a lack of
coherence between classroom practices and expressed educational beliefs, and a
26


lack of commitment towards good learning. Ediger (2002) determined that in order
to promote high quality attitudes in teaching science, teacher candidates and clinical
teacher's need to experience success in endeavors, experience meaning within
involved tasks, experience interest and challenge in endeavors, experience purpose,
experience relevant feedback, useful knowledge and skills, feelings of being capable
and responsible, adequate self concept, fulfillment of recognition and esteem,
excellence in teaching science.
Research comparing in-service teacher beliefs about inquiry teaching and
pre-service teacher beliefs about inquiry, found that in-service teachers held more
positive views regarding the process of inquiry and inquiry teaching than did
preservice teachers (Damnjanaovic, 1999).
Nelson (2000) studied four early childhood teachers through interviews and
observations to identify relationships between teachers beliefs and practices.
Interviews were coded based on behaviorist and constructivist beliefs. Factors such
as beliefs, training, past experiences and personality styles were a greater
determinant of their developmentally appropriate practice than environmental
factors such as support from colleagues and principals.
Tsai (2002) interviewed thirty-seven science teachers regarding their beliefs
about teaching, learning and the nature of science and found that the majority of
teachers expressed traditional beliefs and these beliefs are nested
epistemologies due to the close alignment between the teachers views about
27


teaching, learning and science. This was especially true with teachers of greater
teaching experience. This study brings to the surface the importance of continued
research in the areas of beliefs about science teaching and learning and challenges
further research to clarify the relationships between teacher beliefs and practice.
This body of research provides an understanding of practicing teachers
attitudes and beliefs and difficulties faced in changing these ingrained attitudes and
beliefs to reflect reform efforts in science teaching.
Does Teaching Practice Reflect Ones Beliefs?
Guskey (1986) suggested that change in beliefs follows, rather than
proceeds, change in behavior. With this in mind, it is important to take a brief look
at research related to how teaching practice reflects ones beliefs
One body of research has focused on teachers attitudes and beliefs and
practice. Research studies have found a division between theory and practice
(Popkewitz, 2002), a lack of coherence between classroom practices and expressed
educational beliefs (Souza Barros & Elia, 1997), and inconsistencies between how
teachers perceived their teaching practice, identifying a hands-on", inquiry-based
approach, and the investigator-observed expository nature of the lessons (King,
Shumow & Lietz, 2001). Levitt (2002) studied elementary teachers to ascertain
teacher beliefs regarding the teaching and learning of science and the extent to
which the teachers' beliefs were consistent with the philosophy underlying science
28


education reform. In this study teachers expressed beliefs regarding the importance
of engaging students in hands-on activities, students should be active participants in
learning science, learning science should be personally meaningful to students,
science education should foster positive attitudes toward science, and the role of the
teacher changes to accommodate a student focus.
Crawford (2000) examined the beliefs and practices of a high school biology
teacher who successfully developed and sustained an inquiry-based classroom.
Situating instruction in authentic problems, grappling with data, collaboration of
students and teacher, connection with society, teacher modeling behaviors of a
scientist and development of student ownership contributed to a successful inquiry-
based classroom.
Lumpe, Haney, & Czerniak (2000) assessed teachers' context beliefs about
their science teaching environment and found that beliefs complement a teachers
self efficacy, research in this area could assess school science programs, personal
belief patterns, and planning professional development for science teachers.
This body of research shows how teaching practice and beliefs may or may
not align. This raises the question: Why do some teachers practice what they preach
while others seem unable to do so? Many teachers say that they agree with reform
measures, such as the promotion of inquiry-based teaching, but are not able to
display inquiry teaching practice when observed in their classroom. What prevents
and promotes teachers practicing what they believe?
29


Other Factors Affecting Practice
There are a variety of other factors that contribute to a teachers decisions
related to practice. Personal experiences such as family events and experiences,
early academic experiences in school, teacher training programs and professional
development opportunities that teachers experience as practicing educators play a
role in affecting a teachers practice. This section will highlight research in these
areas.
Personal Experiences
Experiences as learners strongly influence what teachers think about
teaching and learning (Ball, 1988; Lortie, 1975). Family experiences as a young
child and most certainly experiences with family and friends as an adult impact how
teachers think about teaching and learning.
One area of literature includes teacher lore, or stories about and by teachers
(Schubert and Ayers, 1992). Teacher lore refers to knowledge, ideas, insights,
feelings, and understandings of teachers as they reveal their guiding beliefs.
(Schubert and Ayers, 1992, p. 9). Millies (1992) described the importance of
reflection regarding experiences and the relationship those experiences have on
teaching practice.
30


Academic Experiences
Academic experiences include learning situations in an academic setting.
This may include childhood academic experiences, beginning in preschool and
continuing through high school. Other academic experiences include college
academic work and student teaching experiences. Stuart and Thurlow (2000) found
that preservice teachers bring to their teacher education program beliefs about
teaching and learning that are heavily influenced by childhood academic
experiences. If these beliefs are not brought to the forefront and examined, current
practice will be maintained and innovations will be limited.
Inquiry Practice and Teacher Professional Development
How do educators help students with the process of inquiry? The process of
scientific inquiry and the teaching strategies utilized are synonymous. The National
Science Teaching Standards include inquiry as a central part of science teaching.
Teachers of science need to plan, support, encourage and model the skills of
scientific inquiry (National Research Council, 1996).
Huber & Moore (2001) presented a model as a tool for facilitating science
teachers' efforts to understand and implement the type of powerful, effective, and
manageable inquiry-based science instruction called for in the National Science
Education Standards. They developed a model focusing on: 1) pre-service teachers,
2) using discrepant events to engage students, 3) brainstorming of questions, 4) use
31


of cooperative groups to answer different questions, 5) graphic organizers to provide
support for student writing and a 6) final student product.
Stevens & Wenner (1996) found that preservice teachers often have a weak
knowledge base in science and mathematics. Background experiences and courses
need to connect with their current conceptual level and extend teacher
understanding in ways that might be meaningful for their career. A need for
reflective intervention during teacher education programs is important.
Supovitz & Turner (2000) indicated that the quantity of professional
development in which teachers participate is strongly linked with both inquiry-based
teaching practice and investigative classroom culture. At the individual level,
teachers' content preparation also had a powerful influence on teaching practice and
classroom culture. At the school level, school socioeconomic status of the student
populaton was found to influence practice more substantially than either principal
supportiveness or available resources.
Research in the area of professional development for teachers is promising
in changing ingrained teacher beliefs and attitudes regarding reform efforts in
science teaching. Professional opportunities need to provide time for teachers to
do and well as reflect upon their own practice. Again, more research agendas
focus on pre-service teachers and initial teacher training, and few studies focus on
in-service teacher professional development.
32


Summary of the Literature Review
This chapter began with a review of the literature related to scientific
inquiry practice, focusing on the use of constructivism in instructional practices and
instructional design as it relates to science education. A description of inquiry-
based teaching including a definition and components of teaching and learning
related to this practice followed. Teachers use of inquiry in the classroom and how
a philosophy relates to practice was described. Literature focusing on teacher
attitudes and beliefs regarding inquiry was a focus in the next section. Experiences
including academic, personal and professional development related to inquiry
concluded the chapter.
More research is needed in the areas of teachers' beliefs and practices of
inquiry-based science, especially related to in-service teachers. Because the
efficacy of reform efforts rest largely with teachers, their voices need to be included
in the design and implementation of inquiry-based curriculum (Keys & Bryan,
2001). The current study will attempt to close these gaps in the literature with
regards to implementation of inquiry practice in middle school classrooms. In
addition, a deeper look at how practice ties to beliefs and experiences within the
context of exemplary middle school inquiry teachers will be examined.
33


CHAPTER THREE
RESEARCH METHODS
Introduction
The purpose of this study was to examine teacher reported characteristics of
scientific inquiry, teacher beliefs, implementation and practice regarding scientific
inquiry within middle school classrooms. A multiple-case study design was used
and data were collected in four classrooms that promoted student-initiated, inquiry-
based practice. The research questions were:
1. How do teachers background and experience relate to the use of
scientific inquiry-based practice?
2. What are self-reported characteristics of scientific inquiry teaching
found in selected middle school classrooms reported as promoting
scientific inquiry-based practice?
3. How do teachers self-reported beliefs relate to the use of scientific
inquiry-based practice?
4. How do middle school teachers implement a scientific inquiry-
based approach into their instructional practice?
34


5. What is the relationship between self-reported teaching scientific
inquiry behaviors and observed behaviors in practicing inquiry-
based classrooms?
This chapter will begin with a description of the overall approach and
rationale of a case study design. Next, site and population selection procedures and
descriptions of each site will be described. Then, a description of data collection
methods, data management and data analysis procedures will follow. Finally, the
chapter will end by addressing how the research was disseminated to the
participants.
The Case Study Design
A case study design (Yin, 1994; Creswell, 1994) was used in order to obtain
a deep understanding of the participants beliefs, experiences and implementation of
scientific inquiry into their classrooms. A case study approach is well suited for
illustrating complex situations and natural environments such as these (Krathwohl,
1998). Yin (1994), defined a case study design as an investigation of a phenomenon
within its real-life context, utilizing multiple data sources. In order to identify
teacher beliefs regarding characteristics of inquiry-based teaching and the
implementation of inquiry in classrooms, a variety of data sources were necessary to
capture the essence of inquiry within classroom settings.
35


Research Sites and Participants
The sites for this study were from middle school science classrooms.
Individuals who incorporate a student initiated inquiry-based approach in middle
school science courses, were the main subjects of this study. Subjects were
determined through nominations from the district science coordinator. Then,
subjects were interviewed to determine a sample of teachers that indicated self-
reported beliefs and self-reported practice that aligned with the indicators of
scientific inquiry-based teaching identified in the definition described in the
previous chapter. Subjects also completed the Attitudes and Beliefs About Inquiry
Questionnaire (see Appendix A) that the researcher developed and piloted during
the spring of2003. The measure determined attitudes, beliefs and confidence for
teaching and learning of scientific inquiry. Subjects were selected through the self-
reporting of high levels of confidence and positive attitudes toward inquiry-based
teaching.
Two Denver metropolitan area school districts were the focus of this study in
order to view differences and possible influences between various district policies
and support for science education. In one district, the science coordinator
recommended eight middle school science teachers that she identified as using
scientific inquiry practice. The science coordinator in the second district identified
four middle school teachers. Teachers were contacted through email and all
teachers in the first district were interviewed and completed the Attitudes and
36


Beliefs About Inquiry Questionnaire. Two teachers in the second district were
interviewed and completed the questionnaire. One of the teachers did not respond
to the message, and one teacher asked for specific information regarding the study
and responded that she did not believe she fit the criteria of inquiry-based teaching.
After conducting initial interviews and collecting completed questionnaires a
common element emerged in five teachers responses. Five of these teachers
identified student initiated inquiry as a characteristic of teaching found in their
classrooms. One of these teachers was on a special assignment mentoring position
for the school year, and was not a candidate for this study. A sixth teacher
identified student-initiated inquiry as an aspect of teaching that she would like to
incorporate, but found time as a constraint in its implementation. She described a
pilot project that she was incorporating into her classroom that was inquiry based
and involved a partnership with the local museum. The remaining teachers
described inquiry as a questioning approach to helping student learn but did not
indicate that student initiated inquiry was an element of their practice. The five
teachers describing student-initiated inquiries were then contacted to determine
interest in participating in this study. All five teachers agreed to participate in this
study and arrangements were made to conduct classroom observations of student-
initiated inquiry. Four of the teachers were scheduled for classroom observations
during the fall semester. One teacher was contacted on three separate occasions but
arrangements for observational time could not be arranged.
37


Description of the Sites
Four public middle school classrooms encompassing two different school
districts, participated in this study. Each site was located within a 15-mile radius of
Denver, Colorado. Each participating school included sixth, seventh, and eighth
grade students in their population. Table 3.1 Demographics of Participating School
Sites, provides a brief overview and demographic information for each participating
school site.
Two schools, Trailside Middle School and Aspen Grove Middle School
were located in the same school district and demographics were similar. Each of
these schools had a diverse population of students with a variety of needs. Special
education issues, poverty issues and mobility issues were at the forefront of teaching
at this location.
In this district, science learning was a focus and driven by assessment.
All students were required to take a district-wide Science Performance Assessment.
The Performance Assessment included an inquiry-based investigation component
that students completed collaboratively, as well as a writing component, providing
students a forum for explaining and applying their understanding of the task. This
assessment was scored using a district-wide rubric and scores were reported in each
schools accountability report. All students in the district were required to take a
Science Level Test, a science content assessment, administered in the fall of each
school year.
38


Table 3.1
Demographics of Participating School Sites
School Trailside Middle School Rocky Mountain Middle School Aspen Grove Middle School Cottonwood Middle School
Participating Teachers Julie Angela Tammy Lisa
Location North of Denver South of Denver North of Denver South of Denver
Total Number of Students 964 1394 944 1322
Special Education 11.8% 11.0% 15.9% 11.0%
Free and Reduced Lunch 55.3% 6.5% 53.3% 3.1%
Mobility 50.0% 2.2% 34.4% 7.1%
English Language Learners 14.5% 3.0% 12.6% 1.0%
Gifted 2.8% 19.0% 1.6% 12.0%
Caucasian 44.5% 87.3% 51.9% 88.0%
Hispanic 49.8% 6.7% 36.3% 3.9%
Asian 2.1% 4.1% 6.2% 5.7%
Native American 0.9% 0.1% 2.0% 0.3%
African American 2.7% 1.8% 3.5% 2.1%
Rocky Mountain Middle School and Cottonwood Middle School were also
located in the same school district. There is little diversity within these schools.
Students were primarily Caucasian, and represented middle to upper class
socioeconomic groups. Enrichment and acceleration programs were designed to
promote student success within these schools.
At the district level science learning was a focus and driven by assessment.
A Science Standards document was available for each grade level, outlining the
content standards and core curriculum expectations. All students were required to
39


take a district-wide Science Level Test, a science content assessment, administered
each school year. All eighth grade students take the Science Colorado Student
Assessment Program (CSAP) and results were reported in the school accountability
report each year. Table 3.2 provides an overview of the percentage of students
proficient and advanced on the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) in
the areas of reading, mathematics and science. The information provided represents
each schools results during the spring of 2003.
Table 3.2
Percentage of Students Proficient and Advanced. Spring 2003
School Reading CSAP Math CSAP Writing CSAP Science CSAP*
Trailside Middle School 38% 14% 27% 22%
Rocky Mountain Middle School 88% 73% 81% 77%
Aspen Grove Middle School 41% 19% 29% 32%
Cottonwood Middle School 91% 76% 84% 79%
* The Science CSAP is administered to eighth grade students only.
Trailside Middle School and Aspen Grove Middle School reported low
scores in all areas of the CSAP. Rocky Mountain Middle School and Aspen Grove
Middle School reported high scores in the areas of reading and writing. All schools
scored higher in the area of reading and lowest in the area of mathematics. Science
scores are lower than reading and writing scores but higher than mathematics scores
in all cases.
40


Each school identified science goals, related to assessment, in their school
accountability reports. Trailside Middle School had many goals for students related
to science learning and understanding. In order to meet these goals, Trailside
Middle School implemented strategies such as developing performance assessments
and inquiry-based activities. Teachers realigned the curriculum based on CSAP
results and planned on implementing a school-wide Science Bowl to review science
content. The schools science goals and strategies for meeting the goals are depicted
in Table 3.3.
Table 3.3
Science Goals and Strategies for Trailside Middle School
Science Goals Strategies
> Trailside Middle School eighth > Performance Assessment
graders will score Proficient or > Science Inquiry Activities
Advanced on the CSAP during > Science Bowl to review
spring 2004: material for CSAP
35% overall > FOSS Kits to improve Earth
10% Special Education Science Curriculum in
10% English Language seventh and eighth grade
Learners > Realigning Curriculum
Timeline based on CSAP
> Implementation of science Item Maps
curriculum through the use of
Science Inquiry Activities with a
special focus on constructive
response.
41


Rocky Mountain Middle School implemented strategies such as
incorporating technology and literacy into the curriculum. CSAP results were used
to determine curriculum alignment issues and goals focused on success of all
students in the area of science. The schools science goals and strategies for meeting
the goals are depicted in Table 3.4.
Table 3.4
Science Goals and Strategies for Rocky Mountain Middle School
Science Goals Strategies
> By 2004, 80% of students will be proficient or above in science as measured by multiple indicators. > By 2004, gender equity will be maintained as CSAP goals increase to 80% proficient or advanced. > By 2004, no Hispanic student will score unsatisfactory, unless ELA 1 or 2. > By 2004, Anglo students will score 805 or higher on CSAP. > By 2004, all AVID students will score in the proficient range or higher and 20% of current students will score in the advanced category as measured by CSAP. > By 2004, 30% of 8th grade science students will score in the advanced range on CSAP. > Disaggregate the cluster groupings from the Science CSAP to determine curriculum alignment issues. > Evaluate current achievement levels of new students and provide appropriate programming to those students achieving below proficient level. > Emphasize research skills across core and electives classes using technology as a tool. > Embed constructed responses into daily lessons. > Practice vocabulary strategies in the context of learning. > Work on technical writing skills and constructed response skills. > Communicate consistently with parents regarding students learning experience. > Technology will be embedded into instruction and products to enhance students achievement.
42


Aspen Grove Middle School had many goals for students related to reading,
writing and mathematics with the expectation that these goals would be
incorporated into all content areas, including science. In order to meet these goals,
Aspen Grove Middle School implemented reading and writing strategies and
assessment driven instruction. CSAP released items were used to formulate
instruction and align with the district curriculum. The schools goals and strategies
for meeting the goals are depicted in Table 3.5.
Table 3.5
Science Goals and Strategies for Aspen Grove Middle School
Goals Strategies
> Decrease, by 5 percentage points, the number of students scoring unsatisfactory on the reading portion of the CSAP > 80% of all students will show one-years growth on the reading CSAP > Increase, by 10 percentage point, the number of students scoring proficient or advanced on the writing portion of the CSAP > All cores will conference with individual students to review their achievement level on the reading portion of the CSAP. Academic goals will be set to achieve a years growth, or more. > Teachers will utilize CSAP released items to formulate instruction and materials aligned with District Curriculum > Introduction, training and implementation of various strategies for reading comprehension, vocabulary building and best practices related to reading > Use a variety of texts throughout all content areas > Staff will be trained in and utilize the Six Trait writing program > Development of integrated curriculum, which focuses on Six Traits across the content areas > Focus on writing constructed responses on a variety of topics > Introduction, training and implementation of the following McRel strategies: sorting, similarities and differences, and note taking
43


Cottonwood Middle School had one major goal for students related to
science learning and understanding. In order to meet this goal, Cottonwood Middle
School implemented strategies such as incorporating technology and literacy into
the curriculum. CSAP results were used to determine curriculum alignment issues
and strategies focused on success for all students in the area of science. The schools
science goals and strategies for meeting the goals are depicted in Table 3.6.
Table 3.6
Science Goals and Strategies for Cottonwood Middle School
Science Goals Strategies
> All students will be proficient or above in Science as measured by CSAP. By Spring 2004, there will be a 3% improvement in student scores. > Provide specific school wide reading and writing strategies in each content area. > Align content area scope and sequence with state standards. > Emphasize research skills across core classes. Through research projects, literacy competencies will be strengthened with reference materials such as dictionaries, media resources and various forms of technology. > Integrate, throughout the year, timed-writing prompts for both short and extended responses. > Administer pretests to all students to determine necessity for instructional unit development needed for concept mastery. > Develop and implement Understanding by Design instructional science units.
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Description of the Participating Classrooms
One sixth-grade classroom, two seventh-grade classrooms and one eighth-
grade classroom were the sites for this study. Demographics of classrooms
participating in this study are depicted in Table 3.7.
Table 3.7
Demographics of Participating Classrooms
School Trailside Rocky Mountain Aspen Grove Cottonwood
Classroom Julie: Julie: Angela Tammy Lisa
First Eighth
Hour Hour
Grade Level gm W' yUl yUl 6m
Male 16 13 16 9 25
Female 14 22 12 8 28
Special Education 2 0 0 2 7
English Language 7 4 0 2 0
Learners
Gifted 0 35 1 1 0
Caucasian 8 22 27 10 45
Hispanic 22 9 0 6 3
Native American 0 1 0 1 4
African American 0 1 0 0 1
Asian 0 2 1 0 0
Julie taught four science classes every day. Two classes consisted of general
population students and two classes consisted of gifted students enrolled in the
Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).
Both classrooms were observed in order to gain insights into inquiry-based
instruction with different groups of students. Angela taught four science classes
45


every day. She identified that her practice did not change between classes and
students represented the typical demographics of the school. One class was
observed in this environment. Tammy taught four science classes each day and one
class of Academic Extensions. This extensions class was mandated by the district
and required that teachers incorporate literacy into their content area. Upon meeting
with Tammy, she identified the extensions class as a more appropriate environment
to observe inquiry-based instruction. This class represented the general population
of Aspen Grove Middle School. Lisa taught two science classes and two math
classes each day. Observations encompassed both science classes, which consisted
of general population students.
Assessment results for each of the participating classes, is depicted in Table
3.8. In each school, classroom proficiency on the CSAP aligned with school
proficiency. Julies classroom was the only exception. Her first hour class, which
was more representative of the school scored lower than the eighth hour class of
students enrolled in the IBO program. Angelas and Lisas classes consisted of
more students proficient and advanced, which aligned with their school assessment
results.
46


Table 3.8
Number of Students Proficient and Advanced for Participating Classrooms
Assessment Reading CSAP Math CSAP Writing CSAP
Trailside Middle School: Julies First Hour Class 1 0 1
Trailside Middle School: Julies Eighth Hour Class 35 32 35
Rocky Mountain Middle School: Angelas Class 22* 21* 22*
Aspen Grove Middle School: Tammys Class 5** 3** 2**
Cottonwood Middle School: Lisas Class 47 45 49
This data represents information for 25 students. No data was available for three
students.
**This data represents information for 14 students. No data was available for three
students.
The Researchers Role
In order to negotiate entry and maintain access to these classrooms,
communication was a key component. I discussed data collection needs and set up
the initial interview and classroom observation times, based on the convenience of
the participants. Informal conversations about curriculum, decisions, and situations
that arose took place weekly. I was cognizant that participants were volunteers and
were not gaining personal benefits by aiding in this study, so awareness of when to
pose questions and appropriateness of time constraints was key.
One of the strengths of this study was that of building trust with individuals.
I was clear about my needs and the needs of the individuals involved while
47


conducting this study. Participants were reassured that I would not be evaluating
their performance or judging their teaching in any way. I also communicated on a
daily basis to allow the participants to ask questions about the research. Informal
conversations regarding the initial findings were scheduled with the participants
throughout the data analysis and to check that the findings are true to the beliefs
of the participants.
I approached the research as an observer and outsider to these environments.
I was aware that students would be curious about the presence of an additional adult
in the classroom. Each participant provided me with time for introductions and
explanations about the study, to their students. I also met with the principal at each
site to describe the study, answer any questions, and provide copies of student and
parent consent forms for their review.
Researcher bias may affect coding based on personal experiences and
understanding of scientific inquiry. All attempts were made to code and analyze the
data in a variety of ways to avoid and restrict researcher bias. Utilizing a case study
approach through collecting data from interviews, classroom observations,
documents, and field notes allowed for triangulation and restricted researcher bias to
a degree.
48


Ethical Considerations
Human Subjects approval was obtained from the University of Colorado,
Denver campus as well as each school district that participated in this study. I
clearly communicated the research plans to the individuals involved as well as the
principal in each school. In addition, parent and student consent forms were
obtained from individuals in each classroom that participated in the study. A
separate informed consent document was signed by students, parents, and teachers,
and maintained by the researcher.
Data Collection Methods
Primary data collection methods consisted of in-depth interviews,
observations, and collection of artifacts. Secondary methods such as the initial
survey and audiotaping were also used to create multiple data sources. The creation
of a data collection matrix (LeCompte & Preissle, 1993) aided in data management
procedures through the course of this study. Table 3.9 depicts the planning matrix,
which describes the questions under investigation, the kind of data collected to
answer the questions, the sources needed to gather data and the analysis of the data.
A description of each data source follows.
49


Table 3.9
Data Collection Planning Matrix
What do I need to know? What kind of data will answer the questions? Which sources possess the data? How was the data analyzed?
What teacher background and experiences relate to inquiry-based teaching practice? Interviews Field notes Audio taped observations Teachers, events Interviews, audio taped observations and field notes were transcribed and coded using constant comparative analysis. Patterns and themes were generated and compared to additional data sources.
What are self-reported characteristics of scientific inquiry found in selected middle school science classrooms reported as promoting scientific inquiry-based practice? Interviews Audio taped observations Documents Field notes Teachers, events Interviews, audio taped observations, documents, and field notes were transcribed and coded using constant comparative analysis. Patterns and themes were generated and compared to additional data sources.
How teachers self-reported beliefs relate to the use of inquiry-based teaching practice? Interviews Teachers Interviews were transcribed and coded using constant comparative analysis. Patterns and themes were generated and compared to additional data sources.
How middle school teachers implement a scientific inquiry- based approach into their instructional practice? Interviews Audio taped observations Documents Field notes Teachers, events Interviews, audio taped observations, documents and field notes were transcribed and coded using constant comparative analysis. Patterns and themes were generated and compared to additional data sources.
What is the relationship between self-reported teaching inquiry behaviors and observed behaviors in practicing inquiry-based classrooms? Interviews Audio taped observations Documents Field notes Teachers, events Interviews, audio taped observations, documents and field notes were transcribed, and coded using constant comparative analysis. Patterns and themes were generated and compared to additional data sources.
(Adapted from LeCompte & Preissle, 1993, pp. 51-53)
49


In-depth Interviews
Each teacher participated in three interviews, which were audiotaped and
followed a semi-structured format. The first interview took place after a week of
classroom observations and dependent upon the time constraints of the participant.
The first interview focused on the background experiences of the teachers. The
second interview focused on the beliefs that teachers held regarding teaching and
learning and students. Interview questions were adapted from the Teachers
Pedagogical Philosophical Interview (Richardson & Simmons, 1994; see Appendix
B). Other interview questions focused on the documents collected and specific
information regarding assignments teachers gave students, lesson plans and
classroom decisions that were made. The third interview took place after the
transcription of the previous interviews and focused on providing clarifying
information for the study.
All interviews were audio taped and transcribed by the researcher verbatim.
In addition, field notes were recorded throughout the interview to aid in
clarification. Informal conversations occurred as needed, and were recorded in the
form of field notes.
Observation
Each classroom was observed during a unit of study that the teacher
identified as incorporating student initiated inquiry. Individual classrooms were
50


observed on a daily basis for approximately a month during the fall semester. The
length of each unit varied for each teacher. Table 3.10 displays the number of days
of observation for each of the four sites. Field notes contained detailed descriptions
of classroom events and were dated and audio taped in order to capture all
classroom events and exact language of the teacher. Field notes were typed and
detail was added each evening. Comments, questions and reflections were written
in the margins.
Table 3.10
Number of Days Observed at Each Site
Classroom Julie Angela Tammy Lisa
Number of Days Observed 22 28 30 16
Artifact Collection
Artifacts were collected from each participant throughout the observation
time period. Artifacts included class assignments, homework assignments, unit and
lesson plan outlines, pre and post unit tests, and teacher-developed rubrics. I also
received a copy of each schools accountability report. Each document was
numbered, dated and filed. In the case of Julie, in which I was collecting artifacts
within two classrooms, each artifact was numbered with the appropriate classroom
the artifact was used. Some of the artifacts were common to both classrooms and
51


some of the artifacts were only used in one. A table was created for participants that
listed and described each artifact collected throughout the process.
Instrumentation
The initial survey utilized a Likert-item questionnaire and was administered
to all teachers identified by district science coordinators to determine attitudes and
beliefs of inquiry teaching, beliefs about their teaching, and beliefs about students.
The Attitudes and Beliefs About Science Questionnaire was used. This
questionnaire was developed by the researcher and based on the Revised Attitude
Scale (Bittner, 1994), the Belief Scale (Risacher & Ebert, 1996) and the SWEPT
Pre-Survey (OERL, 2002).
The Beliefs Scale (Risacher & Ebert, 1996) is a 32 Likert item measurement
of mathematical beliefs. This survey was easily adapted as a science belief scale by
slightly changing questions (e.g. Students construct meaning as they learn
mathematics was changed to students construct meaning as they learn science). Of
the original 32-item scale, 19 questions remained that were specific to science
teaching. Questions dropped were specific mathematical teaching beliefs (e.g.
Mathematical ideas should be examined in terms of a basic formula or standard
equation).
The Revised Science Attitude Scale (Bitner, 1994; Thompson & Shrigley,
1986) is a 22 statement, Likert-type science attitude scale for pre-service elementary
52


school teachers. The Standardized Item Alpha for the 22 statements was .88
(Thompson & Shrigley, 1986) and .90, .88, and .89 (Bitner, 1994). The purpose of
this survey was to measure the attitudes of teachers toward the teaching of science.
Subcomponents of this survey consisted of the level of comfort-discomfort of
teaching science, the time required to prepare and teach science, the handling of
science equipment, and the basic need students have for science. In order to
develop a similar survey that would measure scientific inquiry in these areas, I
slightly changed each question to make statements relevant to inquiry methodology
(e.g. I fear that I will be unable to teach science adequately was changed to I fear
that I will be unable to teach inquiry adequately. Four questions were removed
from the original scale items that measured comfort/discomfort. Although the
original survey was intended to measure pre-service teachers attitudes toward the
teaching of science, inquiry-based teaching may be unfamiliar to in-service teachers.
The subcomponents of this measure are relevant in understanding attitudes
regardless of teaching experience.
The SWEPT Pre and Post-Teaching Survey (SWEPT Multi-site Advisory
Committee) was administered to students in National Science Foundation funded
science and math courses. The purpose was to gather altitudinal information about
science, math, and teaching before and after a course. Funding sources included the
National Science Foundation and Collaboratives for Excellence in Teacher
Preparation. This measure contained sixteen Likert scale (strongly disagree to
53


strongly agree) items and twelve demographic questions, which were
administered at the beginning of the semester. Taken together, the final version of
the Attitudes and Beliefs About Science Questionnaire contained fifty-one Likert-
scale items, 5 short response questions and one question related to teaching
background. Content validity was established through a review by an additional
expert of science inquiry. The alpha coefficient of reliability was calculated to be
.77.
Data Analysis
Data Management
This study included the collection of data from a variety of sources. In depth
audio taped teacher interviews, classroom observations, documents, and field notes
provided a wealth of data. Miles and Huberman (1994) indicated that data
management is a crucial aspect of qualitative research. Data was organized first
chronologically, then thematically. Data was placed in color-coded folders by
participant, which allowed for easy access. All interviews and classroom audio was
taped and transcribed by the researcher and placed in dated folders according to site.
Data was stored in a file cabinet in my home.
54


Data Analysis Procedures
Data were transcribed, organized and coded, using constant comparative
analysis (Hutchinson, 1988; Miles & Huberman, 1984), which led to generating
categories, themes and patterns and verification of these themes and patterns.
Individual classrooms were treated as separate entities during initial stages of data
analysis.
Before coding could begin, data needed to be transformed into typed text.
Every evening, after an observation session, field notes were typed and placed into
files, artifacts were numbered and also filed. A table of documents was developed
for each participant, indicating the document number, title and brief summary of the
relevance of the document. Interviews were transcribed, verbatim, and also placed
into files. Artifacts were numbered and filed. Each data piece was written into text,
filed by participant and stored on a laptop computer.
Data displays were created throughout the process. First, I created a table of
events that displayed classroom events, chronologically (Miles & Huberman, 1994).
This allowed for a general overview of the core events during the inquiry unit.
Throughout the coding process, data displays were incorporated in order to organize
and identify patterns and themes among the codes.
The first step in the coding process began by using an open coding strategy
described by Strauss and Corbin (1990). Miles and Huberman (1994) suggested
that qualitative researchers begin with a start list of codes based on the research
55


questions guiding the study. A start list of codes was generated, and represented
codes common to the studys research agenda. Coding began with the interview.
After five pages of coding using the start list, I found that this process was not
comfortable. I questioned whether this particular process forced certain codes upon
data. I decided to start over and used open coding. (Strauss and Corbin, 1990).
Words and phrases were chunked and given a code. Each chunk was organized
into a list and codes were placed at the beginning of each chunk. Once the
interview was coded in this manner, a copy of the file was made and placed in a
second file. This original coded data, organized by date, remained intact in order to
identify patterns and themes within the data. This file represented first-level codes.
The second file of coded data was organized by code. This allowed for second level
coding.
The next step consisted of determining patterns within each of the first level
codes. A list of codes was generated and re-organized into larger patterns and
themes. This allowed for data reduction and laid the foundation for cross-case
analysis used later in the process. The theme codes were then reorganized into a
list, displaying the first-level codes and second level codes. This process allowed
for future reference while coding additional data and provided a visual display of
relationships among the codes.
This process of first-level coding and pattern coding was incorporated
throughout the process. Individual case studies were coded as separate entities, and
56


began with the interviews. Coding continued with the class audiotapes, then field
notes and concluding with the artifacts.
Verification of the themes were confirmed in two ways. During the coding
process, participants were asked to review the themes that emerged from the coding
and provided feedback regarding the accuracy of the themes. The second method
consisted of verification among the multiple sources of data.
In order to establish reliability within the coding scheme, a second individual
was given ten pages of data, previously chunked, and a list of codes to test for
inter rater reliability. Inter rater reliability was found to be .81 accurate. Passages
that were in disagreement were evaluated.
This study incorporated a muhiple-case approach. The final step of data
analysis consisted of identifying common patterns and themes that emerged across
all four cases. A table was created that displayed all four cases and major themes.
These themes were coded, displayed and checked among previous data. Themes
and patterns represented the similarities among the cases.
Dissemination of the Research to Participants
Two opportunities were provided for each participant to review the results of
the study. First, as mentioned previously, major themes and patterns were shared
with each participant. In each case, participants validated the findings. Upon
57


completion of each case, participants were given their chapter for review. In all
cases, participants validated the conclusions of the study.
Summary
This chapter began with a description of the overall approach and rationale
for this study. Site and population selection was described in detail. A dense
description of each site, and the individual classrooms participating in the study
followed. The chapter continued with a brief description of the researchers role
throughout this study. Data collection methods, data management procedures, and
data analysis procedures followed. The chapter concluded by describing how the
research was disseminated to the participants.
58


CHAPTER FOUR
CASE STUDY OF JULIE:
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD PROJECT
Introduction
This chapter is the first case study of selected middle school inquiry-based
classrooms. The chapter will begin with a description of the teacher and classroom.
A description of the teacher and how background experiences influenced inquiry
teaching will follow. The next section will address teacher beliefs about inquiry and
how Julie described characteristics of inquiry. The chapter will continue by
describing the implementation of inquiry within this classroom environment and a
short discussion of similarities and differences among Julies beliefs and teaching
practice. The chapter will conclude with a brief discussion of the integration of
Julies background experiences, beliefs and practice.
Description of Julie
Julie had been teaching for three years, all at this site. She began her career
as a sixth grade educator, teaching mathematics and science, on a two-person team.
This year was her first year teaching eighth grade science on a team of four teachers.
She taught four science classes every day. Two classes consisted of general
population students and two classes consisted of gifted students enrolled in the
59


Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).
Trailside Middle School had been participating in the Middle Years Programme for
the past three years and Julie had been a teacher in this program since its
conception.
Background Experience and Inquiry
As indicated in the conceptual framework guiding this study, background
experiences of individuals play a role in teaching practice. Major themes emerged
relating Julies background experiences and relevance to inquiry teaching practice.
Opportunities for doing authentic science and project-based science experiences,
working with middle school students, expectations of the teacher education program
and IBO training, and the personal learning style of Julie had led to understandings
and beliefs about inquiry-based instruction.
Opportunities for Doing Science
Julies background was filled with opportunities for doing science,
especially during elementary school. Julie identified her third grade teacher as
someone who did science every Friday afternoon and was open to student interests
(Transcripts, 11/4/03). Julie passionately recalled her fifth grade teacher who was
insane.
60


He built his room to be like Nautilus, like 20000 Leagues Under the
Sea. He had tables built out that were octagons; there was a
terrarium that was like ten by five (feet). And there was a computer
center. We were the only classroom in the whole district that had
computers. And he had like simple machine things, where we built
machines and a whole science library of books ... and by the end of
the year you would have a five inch notebook full of labs with
almost everything, math, science, everything through science. So
.. .1 got to play a lot. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
Middle school and high school experiences also influenced Julies
involvement in science. Julie recalled her 7th grade science class as doing labs
everyday with physical science stuff. (Transcripts, 11/4/03). She had numerous
opportunities throughout high school, through participation in the Colorado Science
and Engineering Fair, a program that sent students to the international science fair
(Transcripts, 11/4/03). Julie participated in this program during each of her high
school years and studied removing heavy metals from water using bakers yeast.
Each year built upon the knowledge she gained from previous years. This
opportunity also provided a forum for communicating the investigations to others.
Julie traveled to various states for presentations including Wyoming, North
Carolina, Boston, Maryland and Denver (Field Notes 1/29/04). A pattern of doing
science was ingrained throughout her academic schooling experiences.
These experiences and patterns of doing science influenced Julie as she
began her undergraduate degree in chemistry with a minor in environmental issues.
Julie identified the four years of lab experiences, research, and field studies as
important aspects of developing her understanding of chemistry. One class in
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particular influenced Julies learning and emphasized the importance of doing
science.
Before you could graduate you had to take a six week field session
which was synthesis and prep and they would give you, here is a
chemical, you have a week to make it go. Here, you have to make
iron, go find it. They gave us the here's the name, here's the
resources,.. .when you are done you have such an accomplishment
and I learned so much more chemistry than I did reading a book,
because I had to do it. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
Proiect-Based Science Experiences
Throughout her undergraduate studies in chemistry, Julie also identified
project-based experiences as influencing her current teaching practice. One course
in particular, Engineering Practices Introductory Course sequence (EPIC) consisted
of a series of project-based experiences completed throughout the course of the four
years.
Every year you were given a project you knew nothing about, and
you had to design, or build, or do that project. So the first year, they
don't make it relate to a major at all, it was just whatever topic, so
the first year, we built solar ovens. We had to design it and the do
all the autoclave and build the prototype. You do a big poster
presentation. The second year we did it, we did a feasibility study on
all the chemical, coal mines and water instability, all the way where
6th Avenue runs from C470 and Highway 93, you can't expand it
anymore, if you expand it, you get old mine shafts on either side. So
we had to do a feasibility study why they couldn't build the road.
(Transcripts, 11/4/03)
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were identified as gifted and talented. The school made the decision to pilot a sixth
grade Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization and
Julie was hired as the science and mathematics teacher on the team. Julie
participated in required trainings of this program. She identified these experiences
as changing her teaching practice.
I think getting to teach IB was really good. My first year I went to a
couple, three day trainings on the IB curriculum and it was a lot of
high school teachers. We did a lot of project-based learning and so
they did more like really long term labs and stuff, which I don't
really think it fits with our curriculum, but I think it gave me
permission to start playing with that. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
Later in the interview, Julie expanded on her IB training and her beliefs about
teaching and project-based learning.
Teaching in the IB program has helped a lot. It's given me a license
to say, I'm doing these projects, and they are important, and I
guess a lot of times people feel that they have to get through the
whole curriculum and I don't. Doing IB based, you do things in
depth, depth not breadth. And I think that was good, that has given
me permission to teach how I want to teach. If I would have come in
teaching a regular classroom, I wouldn't have started these patterns
and now this year since I'm not teaching IB all day, I have regular
education students, it doesn't scare me to do it with regular kids.
(Transcripts, 11/4/03)
Personal Learning Style
A pattern that emerged throughout the data was the influence of Julies
personal learning style on her teaching of inquiry. Julie made comments such as, I
65


like to play. I want my kids to play. Julies beliefs about the influence of her
personal learning style is apparent in the following statement.
Im kinesthetic and verbal. We do a lot of reading, writing and
talking in my class because if you cant explain it, you may
understand it but if you can't verbalize it or explain, it doesn't do you
any good ... you have to express yourself somehow. (Transcripts,
11/4/03)
Background experiences shape and influence what individuals believe about
teaching and learning. Julies background experiences consisted of opportunities
for doing science, problem-based activities with science and interactions with
students, which contributed to her understanding of science content. As Julie began
teaching, experiences such as the expectations of the teacher education program and
International Baccalaureate trainings that she received, allowed her to build on those
experiences and shaped her teaching. Julies kinesthetic and verbal learning styles
also played a role in her teaching.
Self Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry
One of the major questions driving this study involved understanding teacher
reported beliefs regarding inquiry. Patterns emerged within the data regarding
Julies beliefs about inquiry. This section will describe these patterns, beginning
with Julies definition and characteristics of inquiry. Julies beliefs regarding her
goals for students, roles for teachers, and constraints and benefits regarding inquiry
will also be described.
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Characteristics of Inquiry
Julies definition of inquiry was based on her definition of science. Julie
believed that science is, Figuring out why things work the way they do, and how
they work. Science is the answers... Inquiry is the process of figuring it out whats
going on... inquiry is the getting there piece. (Transcripts, 11/5/03). When asked
to elaborate on this definition, she stated,
Inquiry is the kids investigating an idea to come to the bigger
understanding of whats going on and why. Its them getting hands
on with stuff and figuring out how it works. Making them have an
experience with something. Inquiry is the thought process.
(Transcripts, 11/5/03)
There were numerous patterns that emerged regarding Julies beliefs about
characteristics of inquiry. Julie believed that science teaching should foster the big
ideas of science and the use of guiding questions to drive instruction. Learning by
doing through hands-on experiences, exploration and designing experiments was
a second major theme. A third theme included fostering connections through
background knowledge, real life experiences and project-based activities. Julie also
believed that instruction should be student-driven, allowing for student choice and
based on student needs. Communication about science, collaboration with others,
and assessment were additional themes that Julie identified as characteristics of
inquiry teaching.
Big Ideas and Guiding Questions. Julie began the development of each unit
she taught through the creation of a big idea or concept, in the form of an open-
67


ended question. Her next step was the development of guiding questions that led
her classroom instruction. Julie described her view of guiding questions.
The guiding questions are the big nugget. You are not teaching the
content you are teaching the big overall world piece or worldview on
it. My idea of a guiding question is that there are no yes/no answers,
there are thirty answers out there to that question and it doesnt
matter which answer the kid has, they are all right, as long as the kid
can support their answer. (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
Julie described an example of guiding questions and the role they played in
her classroom in the following excerpts.
... (guiding questions) are even bigger than the standards. They are
more. One person I took a class from said, You have two kinds of
guiding questions. You have a technical question and a
philosophical one. I like philosophical ones. When I do models,
like atomic theory, we'll do, How do models change how we think
about the world? That will be our guiding question. That fits for
any class, you can use it, it's more an overarching world question, it's
not just content not science driven, person driven. That's what helps
them (students) make connections. (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
When I taught my metric unit, I used the guiding question everyday.
Why use metric? It's just a big question that gave the kids something
to tie back to. Another one I've used is, Why is it hardfor scientists
to communicate their work? They (students) know why they have to
explain things. (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
These statements indicate that Julies beliefs about teaching science are
global in nature as compared to traditional methods of teaching content.
Learning By Doing. One of the major themes introduced in Julies
definition of inquiry and apparent as she discussed characteristics of inquiry, was
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that of learning by doing. Patterns of doing inquiry with hands-on experiences
and exploration were predominant throughout her interview.
I think science, especially, has to be exploring and delving into
things themselves. They (students) have to experience it to make a
connection to it. If they just read a book, they may be able to
understand it enough to pass a test but to completely understand it,
they have to have some experience with it. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
As Julie planned her instruction, she incorporated opportunities for
students to do science. She described the experience of introducing students to
chemistry by mixing water and alcohol and determining volume of a substance.
I try to come up, for every topic that we are doing, at least one hands
on thing. It's not always a formal lab. Like today, we did a demo
and I knew we didn't have time to do the whole lab, so we did the
activity where the kids get to play with it. If you want to remember
it you have to do something with it. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
Providing students opportunities for doing science were clear throughout the
interview as Julie discussed her beliefs about teaching science. Julie attributed this
belief about teaching to her own experiences of doing science.
Connections. Julie believed that students must make connections in order to
facilitate learning and understanding in her classroom. Connections identified by
Julie included: a) integration of additional content areas, b) triggering and
developing background knowledge, c) fostering student-centered instruction, d)
providing opportunities for communication and e) collaboration through teamwork
and evaluation.
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Integration of All Content Areas. Julie provided a clear example of assisting
students in making connections with other content areas by tying the concept of
theories to a history lesson.
You have to make connections to things, whether its what they are
learning in math right now or in another subject, or an experience
they have when they go outside. Like yesterday, we talked about
theories, and the kids had no idea what a theory was... so we talked
about middle ages that they are doing right now in history, and
talked about the heliocentric theory, earth centric theory, and ... it
started clicking, they have connections to things. (Transcripts,
11/4/03)
Julie also described numerous examples of incorporating literacy into her
teaching practice. Reading, writing and speaking were relevant throughout Julies
beliefs regarding making connections. Kids will do a research paper on chemistry
topics in the world, they'll do a research project where they will have to pick a topic
and have to tie it back to one of the units we did. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
Collaboration with other team teachers to aid students in making connections was
also a focus.
They (the students) had to have an English and social studies part (of
the project). So there was a rubric and we broke it down step by step
and worked on it in all the classes for two weeks. It was a big two-
week culminating project for the unit. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
Julies belief about providing connections to other subject areas was one
aspect important in her teaching. A second area of making connections was through
triggering and developing background knowledge for her students.
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Background Knowledge. Julie holds beliefs about triggering background
knowledge of her students and building new concepts through connections with that
knowledge. When asked about how she fostered background knowledge she stated,
A lot of teaser stuff. We are doing molecules right now, so
yesterday, before we did notes or anything, we mixed water and
rubbing alcohol and the volume doesn't come up right... What could
it be? And I started asking leading questions like, Where could it
have gone? Why do you think that? I'm just asking the leading
question why and starting to probe and dig to see what they really
know. (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
This excerpt demonstrated Julies use of making connections through
background knowledge. Julie also described the use of questioning strategies to
trigger background knowledge and assess students current level of thinking and
understanding.
Student-Centered Instructioa A third connection that emerged throughout
Julies interview focused on student-centered instruction. Student choice, student
needs, student designing and real life examples were relevant to making connections
in Julies perspective. When discussing changes in her teaching from her first to her
second year, Julie stated, .. .More student driven instead of teacher
driven...(students should be) developing their own learning through structured
activities. (Transcripts, 11/4/03). An example of student-centered instruction,
fostering student choice, was apparent in the following example.
The simple machine thing was total student driven. All they were
given was, you have to design a machine to wake you up, and it has
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to have six simple machines in it, four of which have to be real life
examples. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
A second excerpt displayed Julies belief about connections focusing on
student needs, especially at the middle school level. This example also restated
Julies belief regarding the importance of students doing science.
Kids learn better that way at this age, they are not ready to sit. They
have so many hormones and needs and so entertainment. It's not like
I try to make my classroom an entertainment zone, but they have to
be doing something or they're going to tune out and won't buy into it.
(Transcripts, 11/4/03)
Providing opportunities for students to design their own experiences for
learning was another major theme that fostered student-driven connections. Julie
described many examples of student-designed opportunities for learning.
We did the rainforest and the kids were given a topic and they had to
teach the class, however they wanted to. They had to research, we
did all the getting to know it and they had to come up with a lab,
something that they could teach to the class. They had to design a
lab to see, How size effects how long it takes lollipops to dissolve.
Their final project was they had to redesign it to do more correctly.
Then, layers of the earth, they had to design a model and come up
with limitations and what was good about their model. (Transcripts,
11/4/03)
Bridging classroom and real life expectations was a concern for Julie. She
stated this concern regarding teachers lack of inquiry teaching and its potential
affect on students.
I think it's sad when teachers don't do any inquiry at all, that worries
me because if these kids are ever going to go into a technical field,
theyre (college instructors) going to teach you the content, they are
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not going to teach the thinking skills part. So if we aren't teaching
that part, who is going to teach it? (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
Julie believed that providing student choices was an important aspect of her
teaching practice. Instructional decisions were influenced by the needs of her
students and focused on providing opportunities for students to design their own
learning. Providing this type of environment helped students make connections
with what was being learned in the classroom, and what they will need to know for
their future aspirations.
Communicating. As stated earlier, Julie believed that making connections
was an important aspect of her teaching. An additional theme emerging from her
interview expanded on making connections through communicating understandings
to others and, .. .support your stuff with evidence, you can't just say because, you
have to give some support to what you do. (Transcripts, 11/4/03). The importance
of communicating about understandings promoted higher-level thinking for her
students.
We do a lot of reading and writing and talking in my class because if
you can't explain it, you may understand it, but if you can't verbalize
it or explain, it doesn't do you any good... you have to express
yourself somehow. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
Connecting new understandings through communication and explanation not
only focused on speaking, but writing and reading as well. Students used reading to
provide background information and supporting evidence of their understandings.
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Students used writing and presentations as a means of communicating their thinking
to others. Julie believed that these are important skills for students to acquire.
Collaboration. Julie believed that opportunities for collaboration were
incorporated into her classroom. Collaboration in the form of group work and as an
evaluation tool was described throughout the interview.
We did all the ecosystem stuff. They were given a guiding question
and there were four of them and they had to teach that topic to the
class. One was, How does the destruction of the rain forest effect the
health of Americans? ... How does the needfor natural resources
justify deforestation? and they had to justify it... What communities
live in the layers of the rainforest and how do they survive? and How
has man affected the rainforest? They worked in groups and had to
come up with a visual, verbal and kinesthetic product. (Transcripts,
11/4/03)
This description of the rainforest lesson illustrated the major themes
emerging from Julies beliefs about characteristics of inquiry teaching. The use of:
a) guiding questions, b) learning by doing, in this example, learning through
teaching, c) making connections, d) communicating understandings, e) collaboration
and f) assessment.
Assessment. A final theme that emerged included Julies beliefs about
assessment. Julie described assessment as a tool for her to grade students and
determine their understanding and learning. She also described assessment as an
opportunity for classmates to share their knowledge with others and provide
feedback collaboratively. Julie stated, Classroom performance, one on one. I'll
74


walk around and say, What's this? and they'll start telling me and I'll say, Okay,
they're getting it, learning it. (Transcripts, 11/5/03). Informal assessment was
described by Julie as,
... a lot of performance stuff, I can see them doing it. Today I knew
they got what we did, because at the end of the day they could
answer the question I posed yesterday. How this works, or this
happened. I make them answer questions with a little twist to it to
make sure. (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
Julie believed in providing student opportunities to assess each others work
as illustrated in the following description of a gallery walk. Gallery walk ... when
we do physical changes, they are all going to have to make a poster, after we talk
about solids. They have to go grade each other. (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
Assessment was an important theme that was relevant in Julies beliefs about
inquiry as well as in her background experiences. Julie believed that assessment
was not only the role of the teacher, but a role for students as well.
Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry
A major research question guiding this study included self-reported teacher
beliefs about inquiry teaching. The previous sections described Julies beliefs about
characteristics of inquiry. This section of the chapter will describe additional beliefs
that Julie described as having influence on inquiry teaching in her classroom. The
predominant themes described in this section include: a) Julies major goals for
75


students, b) the teachers role while implementing inquiry, c) constraints for
teaching inquiry and d) benefits of teaching inquiry.
Major Goals for Students
One of the patterns that emerged through Julies interview consisted of goals
for students. Julie stated that her major goals for students included developing
thinking skills for her students, learning to work as a team, and developing
confidence within her students regarding science.
Julie described her goal of developing thinking skills for students when she
stated,
...to learn to think.. .for the kids to construct they're own learning.
For kids to go through a process to come up with an answer at the
end, and to learn to support their answers with evidence... to get this
huge concept of science. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
A second major goal for students was teamwork, which was evident in the
preceding section regarding collaboration. A third major goal for Julie was
developing confidence in her students.
Being confident to try things they don't know how to do. When they
start an experiment and they are like, I don't know what to do, how
do I do...? ...that they can do it (science)... and it (science) is tun.
I try and make the kids feel like they are scientists. A big part of it is
getting them into that brain set. That they can do it, and that it is fun,
and it's not just for the smart kids. Like the beginning of the year,
that's the thing. I'm too dumb to do this. It (science) is just for
smart kids. By the end of the year, I want them to walk away and
say, Oh, I can do this. I did this by myself. (Transcripts, 11/4/03)
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Teachers Role
Julie described many beliefs about her role as a teacher and how teacher
roles relate to teaching inquiry. Julie described how her role changed when she
began teaching more inquiry-based lessons. I stopped having to teach as much as
facilitating.. .a facilitator more than a lecturer type thing. (Transcripts, 11/5/03).
Julie provided an example of how she facilitated in her classroom. I'm just
checking in to make sure they are doing their work, I'm not instructing them how to
do it, it's not me centered, it's them centered and I'm just there to support.
(Transcripts, 11/5/03). This example also restated Julies belief that instruction
should be student-centered.
Julie believed that it was her responsibility to have materials organized and
clear expectations for students while doing inquiry lessons. I think its a training
thing, too. You have to train your kids. When they walk out with the droppers there
are immediate consequences. (Transcripts, 11/5/03). The following excerpt also
indicated her roles for students while incorporating inquiry into the classroom.
Kids are on track working in groups, developing their own learning
through structured activities, they have all the supplies they need and
are ready to go, they are in an organized way so we don't have to go
find it. It's all lined up and ready to go so all they have to do is play
with stuff and figure out the ideas. (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
According to Julie, her role of a teacher was different since implementing
inquiry-based lessons with her students. She believed that she was a facilitator and
manager of materials and tools that students use.
77


Constraints of Inquiry Teaching
Julie identified numerous constraints that hinder inquiry teaching. Time and
lack of resources prevented teachers from teaching inquiry-based lessons. Julie
provided an example of how time affected her planning of inquiry lessons. Julie
stated, Time, it takes a lot of time, to build those units, how you want them. It will
take three years to get the eighth grade curriculum down where I have all the units I
want to teach. (Transcripts, 11/5/03). Lack of effective resources added to the
time constraint. Julie discussed her issue of finding appropriate resources in the
following passage.
You have to take bits and pieces. My textbook, a physical science
textbook, there was no definition of matter for what a molecule was,
kind of a problem. A lot of times I'll go to a different source or write
my own text. I'll pull stuff out of there, Ill pull stuff out of college
textbooks and put it all together and dumb it down a little bit.
(Transcripts, 11/5/03)
Julie provided an example of difficulties she faced when resources were
lacking and money was an issue.
Resources to get the things you want as your building that
curriculum. Like when I do roller coasters, I want the kids designing
their roller coasters on Roller Coaster Tycoon, so if we ever get a
computer lab again, it's $500 bucks to get software. We are going to
have to pull that from science money. ... it's hard to teach like this,
you either spend a lot of money on your own buying the stuff you
want to buy, or you beg, steal and borrow, and learn to write grants
or whatever. (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
During the interview, I asked Julie why she thought that teachers dont
implement inquiry-based lessons. Her first response was, I think it's a control issue
78


for some teachers, they don't know how to give that control to the kids.
(Transcripts, 11/5/03). Another reason that teachers may not implement inquiry was
illustrated in the following statement:
It can be really overwhelming and it's hard to manage if you have a
lot of kids self-directing their learning and to keep with what they
are doing. If you are trying to do that in the classroom, just supplies
get to be overwhelming. If you don't have strong classroom
discipline where you are okay with knowing there is chaos when you
are doing this, it can just be daunting. I think other teachers don't do
it because they don't know how to manage. (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
Julie identified various constraints when implementing inquiry into her
classroom. Resources and time were at the forefront of her concerns but she found
ways to overcome these issues. Classroom management could be an issue for
teachers as well.
Benefits of Inquiry Teaching
Although constraints are apparent in many reform efforts, there were also a
variety of benefits that Julie identified from implementing inquiry in her classroom.
Julie believed that inquiry helps students remember what they learn and inquiry
provides needed experiences for students. Julie stated,
They remember what they learn, they don't just regurgitate it later,
and it helps them have an experience, which I think in these schools,
they don't have experiences. Mom and dad don't talk about science,
or when the water bill was on the election, talk about it. Kids in my
neighborhood, parents were out passing out fliers, so it's just giving
our kids those experiences to take with them, which is the most
valuable thing that these kids need. (Transcripts, 11/5/03)
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Full Text

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MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE INQUIRY: CONNECTING EXPERIENCES AND BELIEFS TO PRACTICE by Karen Elizabeth Johnson B. S., Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, 1988 M .. A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1998 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership and Innovation 2004

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2004 by Karen Elizabeth Johnson All rights reserved.

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This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Karen Elizabeth Johnson has been approved by Linda Damon Ellen Stevens _.3 :2u l Lf Date

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Johnson, Karen E (PhD., Educational Leadership and Innovation) Middle School Science Inquiry: Connecting Experiences and Beliefs to Practice Thesis directed by Associate Professor Michael P. Marlow ABSTRACT A major education reform effort today involves the teaching and learning of inquiry science. This case study research examined connections between background experiences and teacher beliefs and the role they played in the implementation of scientific inquiry within four middle school classrooms. The research questions guiding this study included: a) identifying how teachers' background and experiences related to the use of scientific inquiry-based practice, b) identification ofteacher self-reported characteristics of scientific inquiry, c) identification of the ways in which teachers' self-reported beliefs related to the use of scientific inquiry-based practice, d) determine the extent that self-reported teaching scientific inquiry behaviors were consistent with observed behaviors in practice and e) identifY how teachers implemented a scientific inquiry-based approach into their instructional practice. Across the cases, the findings revealed four major experiences that influenced teacher beliefs regarding inquiry-based teaching: a) opportunities for doing science, b) influences of the teacher education program primarily with respect iv

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to positive science role models, c) teaching experiences and school expectations and d) the personality of the individuals. Major themes regarding teaching beliefs regarding characteristics of inquirybased practice, reported by the participants, included: a) student-centered instruction, b) learning by doing, c) real world applications, d) integration, e) collaboration and f) communicating scientific ideas. Findings also revealed that teacher beliefs and practice aligned except in the area of communicating scientific ideas. Participants did not identify communication as a belief regarding inquirybased practice, but observed practice found communicating scientific ideas played a minor role. Implications from the findings are significant as science educators continue to understand the influence of background experiences and beliefs on inquiry-based practice. Opportunities for teachers to "do" science and promoting teacher leadership and role models in the area of inquiry-based teaching would foster inquiry-based teaching practice. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed Michael P. Marlow v

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DEDICATION I dedicate this dissertation to the 163 students and four teachers who participated in this study.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS As with any major endeavor within one's life, it is important to have a supportive family, and the guidance ofmentoring professors. I wish to thank them all for their patience, support, and guidance throughout the completion of this dissertation. My husband, Keith, encouraged and supported my work throughout the entire process. His patience, understanding and feedback were of great value, especially when I needed a listener. Our children, Kasandra, Tristan, Paul, Mary and Valorie deserve a huge thank you for the support they provided during this process. My parents, Ken and Ellie, have always guided and encouraged my goals and I thank them for believing in me. I thank my advisor, Mike Marlow, for his undying support and dedication to science education and teacher development. His words of wisdom, generosity and professional development opportunities have molded me into the science educator and leader that I am today. Linda Damon believed in me throughout the entire process. I appreciate her thought provoking questions and always asking "why" to challenge my thinking and understanding. Sue Giullian has been a valuable asset with her encouragement and guidance. I thank her for the numerous conversations and words of advice. I am deeply grateful for Ellen Stevens and her insightful questions and wealth of information that she so willingly shared.

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CONTENTS Figures .................................................................................................... xx Tables .................................................................................................... xxi CHAPTER 1. TIIE RESEARCH PROBLEM ............................................................ 1 Introduction.................................................................................. 1 Background and Significance of the Problem ............................... 3 Conceptual Framework ................................................................ 6 Teaching Practice ............................................................. 8 Attitudes and Beliefs ......................................................... 9 Experiences ..................................................................... 1 0 The Research Questions .............................................................. 1 0 Operational Definitions ............................................................... 11 Overview ofMethodology ........................................................... 13 Structure of the Dissertation ........................................................ 14 2. REVIEW OF TIIE LITERATURE .................................................... 16 Introduction ................................................................................. 16 Scientific Inquiry ......................................................................... 16 viii

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Constructivism in Instructional Practices ......................... 17 Definition oflnquiry-Based Teaching ............................. .18 Components of Inquiry Learning and Teaching ................ 19 Teaching Practice and Inquiry ..................................................... 21 Teachers .......................................................................... 21 Technology ...................................................................... 22 Diversity .......................................................................... 23 Students ........................................................................... 24 Philosophy ofTeaching Related to Practice ................................. 26 Factors Affecting Practice ........................................................... 26 Teaching Attitudes and Beliefs ........................................ 26 Does Teaching Practice Reflect One's Beliefs? ............................ 28 Other Factors Affecting Practice .................................................. 30 Personal Experiences ....................................................... 30 Academic Experiences ..................................................... 31 Inquiry Practice and Teacher Professional Development .. 31 Summary of the Literature Review .............................................. 33 3. RESEARCH METHODS ................................................................... 34 Introduction ................................................................................. 34 The Case Study Design .............................................................. .35 Research Sites and Participants ................................................... 36 ix

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Description of the Sites .................................................... 38 Description of the Participating Classrooms .................... .45 The Researchers' Role ..................................................... .47 Ethical Considerations .................................................... .49 Data Collection Methods ............................................................ .49 In-depth Interviews .......................................................... 50 Observation ..................................................................... 50 Artifact Collection ........................................................... 51 Instrumentation ................................................................ 52 Data Analysis .............................................................................. 54 Data Management ............................................................ 54 Data Analysis Procedures ................................................ 55 Dissemination of the Research to Participants ............................. 57 Summary ..................................................................................... 58 4. CASE STUDY OF RJLIE: THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD PROJECT ........................................................................................ 59 Introduction ................................................................................. 59 Description of Julie ..................................................................... 59 Background Experience and Inquiry ............................................ 60 Opportunities for Doing Science ...................................... 60 Project-Based Science Experiences .................................. 62 X

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Interactions With Students ............................................... 63 Teacher Education Program Expectations ........................ 64 International Baccalaureate Expectations ......................... 64 Personal Learning Style ................................................... 65 Self-Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry ............................ 66 Characteristics of Inquiry ................................................. 67 Big Ideas and Guiding Questions ......................... 67 Learning By Doing ............................................... 68 Connections ......................................................... 69 Integration of All Content Areas ............... 70 Background Knowledge ............................ 71 Student Centered Instruction ..................... 71 Communicating ........................................ 73 Collaboration ....................................................... 74 Assessment .......................................................... 74 Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry .................... ; ...................... 75 Major Goals for Students ................................................. 76 Teacher's Role ................................................................. 77 Constraints oflnquiry Teaching ....................................... 78 Benefits ofTeaching Inquiry ............................................ 79 Implementation of Inquiry ........................................................... 80 xi

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Description of the Inquiry Project: Teaching the Scientific Method .................................................................................. 81 Assessment Driven Instruction ......................................... 83 Student's Background Knowledge .................................... 86 Students Doing Science ................................................... 87 Making Connections ........................................................ 88 Student Centered Instruction ............................................ 90 Release ofTeacher Control .............................................. 90 Differences Between Classes ........................................... 93 Do Practice and Beliefs Match? ................................................... 96 Summary ................................................................................ 98 5. CASE STIJDY OF ANGELA: THE RADIUS PROJECT ................ 1 00 Introduction .............................................................. 100 Description of Angela ............................................................... 1 00 Background Experience and Inquiry .......................................... 1 01 An Expectation of Science ............................................. 101 Opportunities For Doing Authentic Science ................... 1 02 Teacher Education Program Expectations ...................... 1 05 Teaching Experiences and School Expectations ............. 1 06 Personal Learning Style and Perceptions ........................ 1 07 Self-Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry .......................... 109 Xll

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Characteristics oflnquiry ............................................... 11 0 Hooking Students on Science ............................. 111 Student Centered Instruction .............................. 112 Organization ........................................... 113 Real World ............................................. 114 Integration of Literacy ........................................ 114 Using Resources ................................................. 115 SelfReported Beliefs About Inquiry ......................................... 116 Major Goals for Students .............................................. 117 Teacher's Role ............................................................... 117 Constraints oflnquiry Teaching ..................................... 118 School and District Expectations ........................ 119 Promoting Student Success ................................ 119 Personal Constraints ........................................... 120 Benefits ......................................................................... 120 Implementation of Inquiry ......................................................... 121 Description oflnquiry Project: The Radius: Investigating and Understanding Research Project.. .............................................. 121 Assessment Driven Instruction ....................................... 124 Doing Authentic Science ............................................... 126 Real World Examples ......................................... 126 xiii

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Data Gathering Through Observation ................. 129 Technology and Tools for Science ...................... 130 Communication .................................................. 131 Collaboration ..................................................... 132 Integration .......................................................... 133 Fostering Student Success .............................................. 134 Do Practice and Beliefs Match? ................................................. 138 Summary ................................................................................... 141 6. CASE STUDY OF TAMMY: THE AFRICAN CICHLID PROJECT ...................................................................................... 143 Introduction ............................................................................... 143 Description ofTammy ............................................................... 143 Background Experience and Inquiry .......................................... 144 A Natural Curiosity and Love of Nature ........................ 144 Opportunities to do Authentic Science ........................... 145 High School and College Experiences ................ 145 Work Experiences .............................................. 14 7 Teacher Education Program Expectations ...................... 148 Pre-Service Teaching Experiences ...................... 149 Teaching Experiences .................................................... 152 Self-Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry .......................... 154 xiv

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Characteristics oflnquiry .......................................................... 154 Motivating Students ....................................................... 155 Doing Science .................................................... 156 Real World ......................................................... 156 Student Centered Instruction .......................................... 157 Integration of Other Content Areas and Technology ...... 159 Technology ........................................................ 159 Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry ......................................... 160 Major Goals for Students ............................................... 161 Teacher's Role ............................................................... 162 Constraints ofTeaching lnquiry ..................................... 162 Benefits oflnquiry Teaching .......................................... 163 Implementation oflnquiry ......................................................... 164 Description of the Inquiry Project: African Cichlid Investigations ............................................................................ 165 Developing Background Knowledge .............................. 168 Prior Knowledge ................................................ 168 Real Life ............................................................ 168 Student Centered Examples ................................ 170 Doing Authentic Science ............................................... 171 Real Life ............................................................ 171 XV

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Collaboration ..................................................... 172 Student Initiated Investigations .......................... 1 73 Developing a Question for Investigation .1 73 Procedures .............................................. 174 Data Gathering ....................................... 17 4 Analysis .................................................. 175 Communicating ...................................... 176 Integration ..................................................................... 177 Literacy .............................................................. 177 Mathematics ....................................................... 178 Social Studies ..................................................... I 79 Technology ........................................................ 180 Fostering Student Success .............................................. 181 Do Practice and Beliefs Match? ................................................... 184 Summary ..................................................................................... l86 7. CASE STUDY OF LISA: DISCOVERY BOXES ............................ 188 Introduction ............................................................................... 188 Description ofLisa .................................................................... 188 Background Experience and Inquiry .......................................... 189 Teaching Role Models ................................................... 189 Extended Classroom Experiences .................................. 191 xvi

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Teacher Education Program Expectations ...................... 193 Teaching Experiences .................................................... 196 Student Inquiry Projects ..................................... 196 Meshing Philosophy and Practice ....................... 197 Self-Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry .......................... 199 Characteristics oflnquiry ............................................... 199 Student Centered Instruction .............................. 200 Collaboration Through Relationship Building .... 203 Real World ......................................................... 204 Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry ......................................... 205 Major Goals for Students ............................................... 205 Teacher's Role ............................................................... 207 Constraints oflnquiry Teaching ..................................... 207 Benefits oflnquiry Teaching ......................................... 209 Implementation of Inquiry ......................................................... 21 0 Description of the Inquiry Project: Discovery Boxes ................. 211 Student Centered Instruction .......................................... 213 Opportunities for Exploring With Science ...................... 214 Doing Authentic Science .................................... 214 Data Gathering ................................................... 215 Communicating Ideas About Science ............................ 216 xvii

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Questioning and Guidance ............................................. 217 Do Practice and Beliefs Match? ................................................. 221 Summary ................................................................................... 222 8. CROSS-CASE ANALYSIS, DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS ....................................................... 225 Introduction ............................................................................... 225 Background Experiences Across the Cases ................................ 227 Opportunities To Do Science ......................................... 229 Teacher Education Program ........................................... 231 Teaching Experiences and Expectations ......................... 233 Personality ..................................................................... 235 Role Models .................................................................. 236 Cross-Case Analysis of Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry .... 237 Goals for Students ......................................................... 238 Teacher's Role ............................................................... 240 Constraints of Inquiry .................................................... 241 Benefits of Inquiry ......................................................... 242 Cross-Case Analysis of the Self-Reported Beliefs About Characteristics oflnquiry and Implementation .......................... 243 Definition of Inquiry ...................................................... 245 Student Centered Instruction .......................................... 245 xviii

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Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation ......... 245 Learning By Doing ........................................................ 247 Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation ......... 247 Integration ..................................................................... 249 Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation ......... 249 Collaboration ................................................................. 251 Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation ......... 251 Communicating Scientific Ideas ..................................... 253 Implementation .................................................. 253 Do Practice and Beliefs Match? ................................................. 255 A New Conceptualization oflnquiry-Based Practice ................. 256 Summary of the Findings, Discussion and Implications ............. 257 Limitations of the Study ............................................................ 258 Recommendations for Further Research .................................... 261 APPENDIX A. SELECTION PROTOCOL .................................................. 264 B. DATA COLLECTION PROTOCOL ................................... 270 C. DATA ANALYSIS ............................................................. 275 REFERENCES ..................................................................................... 277 xix

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FIGURES Figure 1.1 A Dynamic Model ofTeaching Practice .................................................... 8 1.2 Scientific Inquiry Cycle ............................................................................ 13 4.1 Julie's Teaching Cycle for the Scientific Method ...................................... 93 5.1 Angela's Teaching Cycle for the Scientific Method ................................ 138 6.1 Tammy's Teaching Cycle for the African Cichlid Investigation .............. 184 7.1 Lisa's Teaching Cycle for Discovery Boxes ............................................ 220 8.1 A New Conceptualization oflnquiry-Based Practice ............................... 257 XX

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TABLES Table 3.1 Demographics of Participating School Sites ................................... 39 3.2 Percentage of Students Proficient and Advanced, Spring 2003 ...... .40 3.3 Science Goals and Strategies for Trailside Middle School.. ........... .41 3.4 Science Goals and Strategies for Rocky Mountain Middle School. .42 3.5 Science Goals and Strategies for Aspen Grove Middle School ...... .43 3.6 Science Goals and Strategies for Cottonwood Middle School.. ...... .44 3.7 Demographics of Participating Classrooms ................................... .45 3.8 Number of Students Proficient and Advanced for Participating Classrooms ..................................................................................... 4 7 3.9 Data Collection Planning Matrix ................................................... .49 3.10 Number ofDays Observed at Each Site .......................................... 51 4.1 Calendar of Events for Julie .......................................................... 82 4.2 Examples of Student Differentiation with Inquiry Projects ............ 84 4.3 Science Experiences for Julie's First Hour Class ........................... 92 4.4 Science Experiences for Julie's Eighth Hour Class ........................ 95 4.5 Julie's Beliefs and Practice ............................................................ 97 4.6 Integration of Julie's Experiences, Beliefs and Practice ................. 99 xxi

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5.1 Calendar of Events for Angela ..................................................... 123 5.2 Science Experiences During Angela's Class ................................ l37 5.3 Angela's Beliefs and Practice ...................................................... 140 5.4 Integration of Angela's Experiences, Beliefs and Practice ........... 142 6.1 Calendar of Events for Tammy .................................................... 167 6.2 Science Experiences During Tammy's Class ............................... 183 6.3 Tammy's Beliefs and Practice ..................................................... 185 6.4 Integration of Tammy's Experiences, Beliefs and Practice .......... 187 7.1 Calendar ofEvents for Lisa ......................................................... 212 7.2 Science Experiences During Lisa's Class .................................... 219 7.3 Lisa's Beliefs and Practice .......................................................... 222 7.4 Integration of Lisa's Experiences, Beliefs and Practice ................ 224 8.1 Cross-Case Analysis of Background Experiences ........................ 228 8.2 Cross-Case Analysis of Beliefs Regarding Inquiry Teaching Practice ..................................................................... 238 8.3 Cross-Case Analysis of the Self-Reported Beliefs About Characteristics oflnquiry ................................................ 243 8.4 Cross-Case Analysis of the Implementation oflnquiry .............. 244 C.1 Table ofCoding ........................................................................... 275 xxii

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CHAPTER ONE THE RESEARCH PROBLEM Introduction A major education reform effort today involves the teaching and learning of science from the perspective of scientific professionals, advances in technology, and the increasing demands to educate all students in the areas of mathematics and science (Yager, 2000). One result ofthe reform movement was the establishment of educational standards for K-12 curriculum (National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics, 1989; National Research Council, 1996). In addition, "scientific inquiry" standards were developed to promote critical thinking about, and understanding of, science (National Research Council, 2000). While many educators have striven to incorporate these scientific inquiry standards into their classroom practice, a variety of challenges have kept them from successfully promoting scientific inquiry with their students. High stakes assessment, time, and increasing demands for teaching content knowledge hinder the promotion of critical thinking and understanding skills of students that promote scientific inquiry. Although research has focused on varying aspects of scientific inquiry teaching and learning, there continues to be a lack of research on teacher attitudes and beliefs regarding scientific inquiry and teacher practice (Ediger, 2002; Nelson, 2000; Souza Barros & 1

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Elia, 1997). This lack of research may be related to challenges associated with the variety of implementation strategies employed by teachers. None-the-less, attitudes and beliefs are key components in change efforts. This area deserves further exploration. The purposes of this study were to determine: How teachers' background and experience relate to the use of scientific inquiry-based practice? Self-reported characteristics of scientific inquiry teaching found in selected middle school classrooms reported as promoting scientific inquiry-based practice. How teachers' self-reported beliefs relate to the use of scientific inquiry-based practice? How middle school teachers implemented a scientific inquiry-based approach into their instructional practice? The relationship between self-reported teaching scientific inquiry behaviors and observed behaviors in practicing inquiry-based classrooms. 2

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Background and Significance of the Problem The National Science Teachers Association, National Council ofTeachers of Mathematics, and other national education groups have called for standards based education (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1998; National Research Council, 1996; Spillane & Callahan, 2000). Connections between learning science, learning about science, and learning to do science are the major goals of these science standards (National Research Council, 2000). The national science standards were developed to address not only science content but also "inquiry" (National Research Council, 1996; National Research Council, 2000). Scientific inquiry as defmed in these standards, refers to the variety of ways in which scientists and students study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Scientific inquiry helps students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas and the work of scientists (National Research Council, 2000). This development ofknowledge and understanding of scientific ideas are important goals for students, but questions remain about strategies educators use to incorporate scientific inquiry into their practice. The National Science Teaching Standards include scientific inquiry as a central part of science teaching. Teachers of science need to plan, support, 3

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encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry (National Research Council, 2000). Teacher roles vary while incorporating scientific inquiry into the classroom, dependent upon the needs of the students and the type of inquiry presented. Guided inquiry, structured inquiry and student-initiated inquiries are a few examples of ways in which teachers implement inquiry into classroom practice and will be discussed in more detail in Chapter Two. Instructional models have been developed that help teachers organize and sequence scientific inquiry experiences within their classroom (National Research Council, 2000). Although there are a number of ways promoted to successfully teach scientific inquiry, there are similar components that all effective models display (National Research Council, 2000). Most will begin by having students become engaged with a scientific question, event, or phenomenon. This engagement helps students make connections with what they already know, creates dissonance with their own ideas, and motivates them to learn more. Students then commonly explore ideas through hands-on experiences, formulate and test hypotheses, solve problems, and create explanations for what they observe. This stage may be followed by student analysis and interpretation of data, synthesis of ideas, building models, and clarifying concepts and explanations with sources of scientific knowledge. Students may extend their new understanding and abilities by applying what they have learned to new situations. Finally, students become 4

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involved in having their peers and teachers, review and assess what they have learned and how they have learned it. Although scientific inquiry has a defined role in national education standards, many teachers are unable to effectively achieve scientific inquiry standards within their classrooms. Teachers need to have an understanding of scientific inquiry in order to effectively teach it (National Research Council, 2000). Unfortunately, most teachers have not had opportunities to learn science using this method or to conduct science inquiries themselves. Yet, the National Science Education Standards (1996) and the standards for professional development of science teachers call for teachers to better understand scientific inquiry based teaching. Within the standards are four major categories for professional development of teachers of scientific inquiry. These include learning science through inquiry, learning to teach science through inquiry, becoming lifelong 'inquirers' themselves, and building professional development programs for inquiry-based learning and teaching (National Research Council, 2000). Many science educators struggle with learning and teaching inquiry, which leads to the major questions addressed in this study. Teacher attitudes have a direct influence on classroom practice. Souza Barros & Elia ( 1997) studied secondary science teachers and determined types of teaching attitudes, which included a lack of confidence about subject content, 5

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resistance to curricular and methodological innovations, a lack of coherence between classroom practices and expressed educational beliefs, and a lack of commitment towards good learning. A few studies have focused on pre-service teacher attitudes and scientific inquiry (King, Shumow & Lietz, 2001; McGinnis, Kramer, Roth-McDuffie & Watanabe, 1998). Damnjanovic (1999) found that in-service teachers held more positive views regarding the process of scientific inquiry and scientific inquiry teaching than did pre-service teachers. Keys and Bryan (200 1) proposed that more research is needed in the areas of teachers' beliefs, knowledge, and practices of inquiry-based science, as well as student learning. Because the efficacy of reform efforts rest largely with teachers, their voices need to be included in the design and implementation of scientific inquiry-based curriculum. The current study will attempt to address issues related to teacher experiences, beliefs and implementation of scientific inquiry based practice in middle school classrooms. Conceptual Framework A model ofteaching practice, as depicted in Figure 1.1, will be used to understand scientific inquiry practice. This model can be used to examine any aspect of teaching practice but for the purposes of this study, refers to scientific inquiry based teaching practice. Teaching practice is influenced by individuals' beliefs and attitudes. Teachers' beliefs and attitudes are also influenced by various 6

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experiences encountered by the individual. Experiences, for the purposes of this study, may reflect family experiences, academic and teaching experiences, and professional development experiences. Although circular in design, each factor in the model can influence other factors in the model. For instance, professional development opportunities available for teachers may or may not play a role in the attitudes or beliefs a teacher holds. These beliefs affect the individuals' teaching practice. Figure 1.1 A Dynamic Model of Teaching Practice 7

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Teaching Practice Teaching practice, and for the purposes of this study, the practice of scientific inquiry, lies in the center of this model. To better understand scientific inquiry and how it looks in the classroom, teaching practice must be examined (Brooks & Brooks, 1993; Gil-Perez et al., 2002; 2001). An individuals' teaching practice is directly related to his or her philosophy of teaching and learning. Inquiry-based practice has been characterized as promoting a constructivist view of teaching and learning. Constructivism, based on the earlier writings of major theorists such as Dewey (1910/1997), Vygotsky (1929, 1978, 1987) and Piaget (1973) lies at the heart of scientific inquiry-based classroom practice. Constructivist classrooms foster students' construction of meaning and acknowledge the importance of personal values, beliefs, and experiences as building blocks for practice. The social aspect of learning is also emphasized (Brooks & Brooks, 1993; Lambert, Walker, Zimmerman, Cooper, Lambert, Gardner & Slack, 1995). To better understand scientific inquiry and how it looks in the classroom, teaching practice must be examined. A close look at a teachers' philosophy regarding teaching and learning of others and themselves is important (Galbaith, 1999). 8

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Attitudes and Beliefs Building a framework that aids in understanding relationships between an individuals' teaching beliefs, attitudes, experiences and professional development opportunities and the role these play in their teaching practice involves an understanding of a sociocultural perspective. Vygotsky ( 1929, 1978, 1987) brought to the forefront an emphasis on the social environment as a facilitator of development and learning. He believed that the integration of social factors with personal factors produced learning. Teacher beliefs and attitudes have significant importance within a classroom setting (Lee & Houseal, 2003; Nespor, 1987; Pajares, 1992). Professional development experiences, institutional policies, and the culture of a school, influence classroom practice. Sociocultural theorists believe that it is not possible to live aculturally or think or act independently of culture (Cole & Wertsch, 1996; Wells, 1999). Vygotsky (1978) believed that higher mental functions are culturally mediated. Cole and Wertsch (1996) stated implications of this belief: a) artifacts facilitate, shape and transform mental processes, b) all psychological functions are culturally, historically, and institutionally situated, c) objects and contexts develop together in a bio-social-cultural process of development, and d) development of higher psychological functions are influenced by biological, the cultural mediational artifacts, and the culturally structured environments of which individuals are a part. 9

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Experiences Individuals' experiences influence their teaching practice. Personal experiences including family experiences also influence what teachers think about teaching and learning (Ball, 1988; Lortie, 1975; Stuart & Thurlow, 2000). Academic experiences include those experienced as a student and begin in very early childhood and continue through a persons schooling. Institutional policies directly affect an individuals' teaching practice and decisions that are made in the classroom. Professional development experiences are experiences that individuals have that pertain to teaching and learning in order to provide growth or new understandings in a particular area. The culture of a school influences the happenings inside a classroom. In order to effectively study how teachers' backgrounds and experiences play a role in the development of beliefs about teaching and how beliefs influence classroom practice, a case study approach was used. This approach allowed the researcher to examine relationships between teachers' experiences and self-reported beliefs and the implementation of scientific inquiry within middle school classrooms. The Research Questions This study will address the following research questions: 10

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How do teachers' background and experience relate to the use of scientific inquiry-based practice? How do teachers' self-reported beliefs relate to the use of scientific inquiry-based practice? What are self-reported characteristics of scientific inquiry teaching found in selected middle school classrooms reported as promoting scientific inquiry-based practice? How do middle school teachers implement a scientific inquiry based approach into their instructional practice? What is the relationship between self-reported teaching scientific inquiry behaviors and observed behaviors in practicing inquiry based classrooms? Operational Definitions Although there are numerous definitions of inquiry from various fields, in this study, scientific inquiry will be described as a cycle of engagement, exploration, explanation, application, and evaluation (Bybee, Buchwald, Crissman, Heil, Kuerbis, Matsumoto & Mcinerney, 1989). Figure 1.2 displays the components of questioning, determining and collecting evidence, formulating explanations, connecting scientific knowledge, and communicating explanations. For the 11

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purposes of this study, the terms 'inquiry' and 'scientific inquiry' will be used interchangeably. Figure 1.2 Scientific Inquiry Cycle (Bybee, Buchwald, Crissman, Heil, Kuerbis, Matsumoto & Mcinerney, 1989). Communicates reasonable explanations (Evaluation) Questioning (Engagement) INQUIRY LEARNING Connects scientific knowledge and resources (Application) Determines and collects evidence (Exploration) Formulates explanation (Explanation) In this study, self-reported teaching inquiry beliefs refer to instructional practices identified by the participants on the Attitudes and Beliefs About Inquiry Questionnaire (see Appendix A) utilized in this study. This questionnaire, described in Chapter Three, was developed and piloted by the researcher and measured beliefs about teaching inquiry and confidence in teaching inquiry. Self-reported beliefs also refer to responses from participating teachers in regards to interview questions related to individual beliefs about teaching, learning and students. 12

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Overview of Methodology This study used a multiple case study approach (Creswell, 1994; Yin, 1994) to examine environments and teacher beliefs within inquiry-based classrooms. Individuals who use an inquiry-based approach to teach science courses in middle schools were the main criteria for inclusion. Subjects were determined by individual responses on the Attitudes and Beliefs About Inquiry Questionnaire that the researcher developed and piloted. This measure determined the confidence level that individuals felt regarding teaching and learning of scientific inquiry. Only teachers reporting high levels of confidence and positive attitudes toward inquiry based teaching were considered. In addition, initial interviews and observations of classroom teachers assisted in selecting individuals that reported student initiated inquiry experiences as a characteristic of their practice. This study included the collection of data from a variety of sources. In depth audio taped teacher interviews, field notes of classroom observations, and documents served as data sources for this study. Data were transcribed, organized and coded, using constant comparative analysis (Hutchinson, 1988; Miles & Huberman, 1984 ), which led to generating categories, themes and patterns and evaluation ofthese themes and patterns. Open coding (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) was incorporated throughout this process. 13

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Structure of the Dissertation In Chapter One, I described the purpose and significance of the problem, and present the research questions. A conceptual framework was established to set the context for the study and a brief overview of the methodology was included. In the Review of the Literature in Chapter Two, I review the literature that encompasses the historical perspectives of constructivism and ties to science inquiry practice and design. Literature on the characteristics of scientific inquiry will be described, as well as literature on teachers' attitudes, beliefs and instructional practice related to inquiry teaching will follow. In Chapter Three, Research Methods, I describe in depth, the case study design and methodology for this study. Next, I report the procedures for site selection and provide a description of each site. Then, I address data collection procedures, and describe the methods used in data analysis. I conclude the chapter with a description of how the research was disseminated to the participants. In Chapters Four, Five, Six and Seven, I present the findings of the research questions posed in Chapter One. Each case will be separated into its own chapter to better capture the rich detail and dense descriptions necessary to answer the research questions. Chapter Eight provides a cross-case analysis and discussion among the four sites. Implications ofthis research will be discussed and limitations are addressed. The chapter concludes with recommendations for future research. 14

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The Appendixes provide samples of instrwnents used during the selection process and data collection protocol. A table of codes used during data analysis is also provided. Bibliographic information regarding literature cited in the study is found in the Reference Section. 15

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CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF TIIE LITERATURE Introduction In this chapter, I will begin with a review of the literature related to scientific inquiry practice, focusing on the use of constructivism in instructional practices. Then I will describe inquiry-based teaching including a definition and components ofteaching and learning related to inquiry practice. Teachers' use of inquiry in the classroom will follow. Literature focusing on teacher attitudes and beliefs regarding inquiry is described in the next section. The chapter will conclude with literature describing other factors including personal and academic experiences in addition to professional development related to scientific inquiry practice. Scientific Inquiry Constructivists tend to agree on general characteristics of teaching and learning that: a) knowledge is constructed, b) cognitive structures are activated in the process of construction, c) these structures can be transformed through purposeful activity or from environmental or social pressure and d) beliefs lead to a constructivist methodology (Simpson, 2001). An inquiry-based approach to teaching science has been a major focus of education reform efforts and 16

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lends its philosophy toward a constructivist and socio-cultural theoretical perspective of learning. Constructivism in Instructional Practices Constructivism as a basis for instructional practice and design is found throughout the literature. Brooks & Brooks (1993) described five major principles of constructivism as it pertains to classroom teachers. Constructivist teachers: 1) pose problems of emerging relevance of students in order to foster the creation of personal meaning, 2) structure learning experiences around primary concepts and big ideas, 3) seek and value students' points ofview, 4) adapt curriculum to address students' suppositions (prior knowledge and conceptions) and 5) assess student learning in the context ofteaching (authentic assessment). Numerous studies have related these principles to science teaching (Gil Perez, et al., 2002; Green & Gredler, 2002; Packer & Goicoechea, 2000; Simpson, 2001). Gil-Perez, et al. (2002) suggested a teaching strategy more appropriate for science education which included: 1) consideration ofthe interest and worthiness of the situation proposed in order to provide meaning to students, allowing opportunities for students to form ideas about a topic, 2) qualitative study of problematic situations, 3) invention of concepts and forming hypotheses, 4) elaboration of strategies for problem solving and experimental designs, 5) implementation of strategies and analysis of results, 6) application of new 17

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knowledge and, 7) conception of new problems. These strategies should be general indications that display the construction of scientific knowledge. Definition oflnquiry-Based Teaching The National Science Teachers Association, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and other national education groups call for standards based education (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1998; National Council of Teachers ofMathematics, 1989; National Research Council, 1996; Spillane & Callahan, 2000). Science standards were further developed that addressed "inquiry" (National Research Council, 2000). Scientific inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Inquiry also refers to the activities of students in which they develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world. (National Research Council, 1996, p. 23) Connections between learning science, learning about science, and learning to do science are the major goals of the science standards (National Research Council, 1996). The National Science Education Standards are a driving force behind improvements in science education throughout the United States. For the purposes of this study, the term inquiry will represent scientific inquiry as it is used in the proceeding definition. 18

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Components oflnquiry Learning and Teaching What does scientific inquiry look like in the classroom? There are a variety of skills and abilities that are necessary to engage in inquiry. Students must be able to ask questions, make observations, design and conduct investigations, use appropriate tools and techniques in order to gather and analyze data, utilize critical thinking skills, use evidence to develop explanations and predictions, and communicate this information to others (National Research Council, 2000). Scientific inquiry allows individuals opportunities to interact with others and create meaning for themselves, which contributes to new understandings in areas of scientific reasoning and scientific literacy (Black & Wiliam, 1998). Students that develop an understanding of scientific concepts have the potential to transfer their learning to additional situations (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 1999). As described in Chapter One, inquiry can be described as a cycle of engagement, exploration, explanation, application, and evaluation (Bybee, Buchwald, Crissman, Heil, Kuerbis, Matsumoto & Mcinerney, 1989). But what are the essential traits of inquiry? Hinrichsen and Jarrett (1999) describe four essential traits of scientific inquiry as connecting personal understandings with those of sound science, designing experiments, investigating, and constructing meaning from data and observations. Scientific inquiry begins by building upon what students already know and believe, as well as, the experiences that each individual brings to the classroom 19

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(Driver, Duck, Squires, & Wood-Robinson, 1994). Connections that individuals make to the world and to their own learning enable them to become engaged and explore the vast scientific knowledge that is available. This step is extremely important because many students develop misconceptions about scientific concepts. Throughout this phase of learning, students build on their own understanding and continually question and rethink scientific ideas and phenomenon. As students attempt to make connections between new and old learning, questions inevitably arise. This natural wonder and curiosity can be fostered by the inquiry approach and is at the center of inquiry experiences (Haury, 1993). Observational techniques can be heightened due to this curiosity. Students may be more engaged and motivated. If teachers nurture the natural questions that students have, they may become more engaged and motivated about learning. Designing a plan to investigate the questions that students bring to the classroom is the next challenging step. Students must be able to write procedures, determine materials needed, and decide on relevant data gathering techniques that will answer the question. As students become the "scientists" and continually reflect and refine their scientific skills, they engage in data collection, interpretation, analysis and presentation of the data (Haury, 1993). Presentation can encompass a wide range of activities and include journal notes, table and graph interpretations, or describing variables of an investigation. The ability to communicate new understandings is the final goal in this process. 20

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Haberman ( 1998) suggested that expectations are being raised beyond basic skills, to critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. If students are: a) involved with issues they regard as vital concerns, b) involved with explanations of human differences, c) helped to see major concepts and involved in planning, d) involved with applying ideals such as fairness, equity, or justice to their world, e) actively and directly involved in real-life experiences and involved in heterogeneous groups, f) thinking about ideas that question, and relate to previous knowledge, g) involved in redoing, polishing, or perfecting their work and h) involved with technology of information access, then good teaching is going on (Haberman, 1998; Jarret, 1997). Scientific inquiry practice aligns with each of these skills but how does that look in the classroom? Teaching practice related to the use of scientific inquiry will be discussed in the next section. Teaching Practice and Inguicy Literature related to teaching practice and scientific inquiry is extensive. The following section summarizes research related to teachers, technology, diversity and students. Teachers Literature focusing on instructional practices associated with inquiry-based teaching is extensive. Several teachers have studied their own practice and 21

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contributed their perceptions of implementing inquiry (Doris, 1991; Iwasyk, 2000; Kurose, 2000; Nissley, 2000). This body of work brings to the surface an important theme. These teachers practiced inquiry-based instruction as arising from student's own questions. Crawford (2000) studied a single specialized high school ecology class to illustrate inquiry-based practice. Kimmel, Deek, O'Shea, & Farrell (1999) reported that teachers were able to provide a rich description of each learner's role in an activity, and how roles and accommodations would be compatible with those of other students to maximize learning by all. Technology Technology can be used effectively in education to support inquiry learning and teaching. One program, Model-It, engages students in science inquiry through building models for complex systems. The Project Integration Visualization Tool (PIViT), a flexible design program, scaffolds teachers as they design and employ instructional plans for project-based science education (Krajcik, Soloway, Blumenfeld & Marx, 1998). Windschitl (2000) described inquiry learning, abilities of learners, inquiry instruction, using inquiry to facilitate modeling, and three classes of software that supported inquiry instruction. 22

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Diversity Some research has focused on the teaching of inquiry with diverse students. Urban teachers were more poorly prepared than had been anticipated, both in terms of science content knowledge and instructional skills, but also with respect to the quality of classroom pedagogical and management skills. Lessons were typically expository in nature, with little higher-level interaction of significance (King, Shumow & Lietz, 2001). Knapp & Shields (1990) found that effective science teachers in urban schools provided students with opportunities for teacher/student and student/student discussion, project-based heterogeneous groups, explicit teaching, supplemental instructional arrangements, and classroom order. Research on instructional strategies for students of poverty found a variety of strategies that facilitated learning for urban students. Incorporating life experiences (Knapp & Shields, 1990; Maeroff, 1998), emphasizing the understanding of scientific concepts (Bowers, 2000; Knapp, Shields & Turnbull, 1995) in place of memorizing facts, and building a community of learners (Bowers, 2000; Williams & Woods, 1997) facilitates student learning and understanding. Integrating and changing beliefs about students and their ability to learn (Haberman, 1998) and incorporating problem-based, cooperative learning activities help students realize relevance of the topic (Arroyo, Rhoad & Drew, 1999; Bowers, 2000). Effective questioning and development of technology skills (Bowers, 2000), helping students build confidence (Arroyo, Rhoad & Drew, 1999; Bowers, 2000), 23

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utilizing a student-centered approach (Bowers, 2000; Stephen, Varble & Taitt, 1993) and allowing for student choice (Hootstein, 1996) also facilitate learning in urban classrooms. These strategies are at the heart of inquiry-based instruction for all students. There are an increasing number of research studies that address special student populations and science inquiry classrooms. Rosebery, Warren and Conant (1992) suggest that second language learners can successfully engage and learn science concepts using an inquiry approach. Students with learning disabilities performed better on assessments, when participating in inquiry science (Dalton, Morocco & Tivnan, 1997; Boon, Carter & Scruggs, 2001; Scruggs, Bakken & Brigham, 1993). Educators, classroom teachers and learning disabilities specialists, require a deep knowledge of both the subject matter and the ways of thinking and reasoning within that subject matter. In addition, the nature of the social support provided to students in a classroom needs to be addresses in order to advance the learning of students with special needs within inquiry-based classrooms (Palincsar, Collins, Marano & Magnusson, 2000). Students Student images of scientists have been studied. Finson & Beaver (1985) provided eighth grade students with university partnerships, career components, 24

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field trips, speakers, and materials, which changed their image of a scientist. Additional studies found students were able to identify perceptions of their own role in lab type experiments (Fraser, Giddings & McRobbie, 1995; LeMaster, 2001). Student attitudes toward inquiry have been studied. Waldrip & Fisher (200 1) found significant correlations existed between teacher interaction and teachers' use of student outcome statements on students' attitudes. Morrell & Lederman (1998) found a statistically significant relationship existed between students' attitudes toward school and toward classroom science. Another study explored the effects of student learning of earth science content and on teaching methods. Findings revealed that inquiry-group instruction was superior in promoting students' achievement and attitudes toward earth science, as compared to traditional teaching methods (Chang & Mao, 1999). The "Discussions in Science" (DiS) project used a science topic as the basis for discussions between teachers and students. The teachers analyzed children's thinking about science as well as variables affecting inquiry science teaching. Flick ( 1990) found significant increases in attitudes toward inquiry teaching. Teaching practice and implementation of an inquiry approach to teach science continues to a relevant topic of research throughout the literature. Keys and Bryan (2001) challenges current research efforts to focus on the implementation of inquiry in order to understand how classroom teachers make inquiry their own. 25

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Philosophy of Teaching Related to Practice Developing a philosophy of teaching usually encompasses identifying a set of guidelines for knowing the aims of instruction and the effects on learners (Galbraith, 1999). Furthermore, beliefs, values and attitudes are the foundation for developing a philosophy of teaching (Galbaith, 1999). Livingston, McClain and DeSpain (1995) studied elementary and secondary students in a teacher education program and determined a high consistency between the expressed goals and their philosophical thought. This quantitative study looked primarily at survey responses. It is important to take into consideration classroom practice as well. Factors Affecting Practice Many educators agree that teacher attitudes and beliefs regarding science may affect instructional practice (Nespor, 1987; Pajares, 1992). A review of literature related to in-service teacher attitudes and beliefs will follow. Teaching Attitudes and Beliefs Souza Barros & Elia (1997) studied secondary science teachers and determined types of teaching attitudes, which included a lack of confidence about subject content, resistance to curricular and methodological innovations, a lack of coherence between classroom practices and expressed educational beliefs, and a 26

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lack of commitment towards good learning. Ediger (2002) determined that in order to promote high quality attitudes in teaching science, teacher candidates and clinical teacher's need to experience success in endeavors, experience meaning within involved tasks, experience interest and challenge in endeavors, experience purpose, experience relevant feedback, useful knowledge and skills, feelings of being capable and responsible, adequate self concept, fulfillment of recognition and esteem, excellence in teaching science. Research comparing in-service teacher beliefs about inquiry teaching and pre-service teacher beliefs about inquiry, found that in-service teachers held more positive views regarding the process of inquiry and inquiry teaching than did preservice teachers (Damnjanaovic, 1999). Nelson (2000) studied four early childhood teachers through interviews and observations to identify relationships between teachers' beliefs and practices. Interviews were coded based on behaviorist and constructivist beliefs. Factors such as beliefs, training, past experiences and personality styles were a greater determinant of their developmentally appropriate practice than environmental factors such as support from colleagues and principals. Tsai (2002) interviewed thirty-seven science teachers regarding their beliefs about teaching, learning and the nature of science and found that the majority of teachers expressed "traditional" beliefs and these beliefs are "nested epistemologies" due to the close alignment between the teachers' views about 27

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teaching, learning and science. This was especially true with teachers of greater teaching experience. This study brings to the surface the importance of continued research in the areas of beliefs about science teaching and learning and challenges further research to clarify the relationships between teacher beliefs and practice. This body of research provides an understanding of practicing teachers attitudes and beliefs and difficulties faced in changing these ingrained attitudes and beliefs to reflect reform efforts in science teaching. Does Teaching Practice Reflect One's Beliefs? Guskey (1986) suggested that change in beliefs follows, rather than proceeds, change in behavior. With this in mind, it is important to take a brief look at research related to how teaching practice reflects one's beliefs One body of research has focused on teachers' attitudes and beliefs and practice. Research studies have found a division between theory and practice (Popkewitz, 2002), a lack of coherence between classroom practices and expressed educational beliefs (Souza Barros & Elia, 1997), and inconsistencies between how teachers perceived their teaching practice, identifying a "hands-on", inquiry-based approach, and the investigator-observed expository nature of the lessons (King, Shumow & Lietz, 2001). Levitt (2002) studied elementary teachers to ascertain teacher beliefs regarding the teaching and learning of science and the extent to which the teachers' beliefs were consistent with the philosophy underlying science 28

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education reform. In this study teachers expressed beliefs regarding the importance of engaging students in hands-on activities, students should be active participants in learning science, learning science should be personally meaningful to students, science education should foster positive attitudes toward science, and the role of the teacher changes to accommodate a student focus. Crawford (2000) examined the beliefs and practices of a high school biology teacher who successfully developed and sustained an inquiry-based classroom. Situating instruction in authentic problems, grappling with data, collaboration of students and teacher, connection with society, teacher modeling behaviors of a scientist and development of student ownership contributed to a successful inquiry based classroom. Lumpe, Haney, & Czerniak (2000) assessed teachers' context beliefs about their science teaching environment and found that beliefs complement a teachers' self efficacy, research in this area could assess school science programs, personal belief patterns, and planning professional development for science teachers. This body of research shows how teaching practice and beliefs may or may not align. This raises the question: Why do some teachers practice what they preach while others seem unable to do so? Many teachers say that they agree with reform measures, such as the promotion of inquiry-based teaching, but are not able to display inquiry teaching practice when observed in their classroom. What prevents and promotes teachers' practicing what they believe? 29

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Other Factors Affecting Practice There are a variety of other factors that contribute to a teachers decisions related to practice. Personal experiences such as family events and experiences, early academic experiences in school, teacher training programs and professional development opportunities that teachers experience as practicing educators play a role in affecting a teachers' practice. This section will highlight research in these areas. Personal Experiences Experiences as learners strongly influence what teachers think about teaching and learning (Ball, 1988; Lortie, 1975). Family experiences as a young child and most certainly experiences with family and friends as an adult impact how teachers think about teaching and learning. One area of literature includes teacher lore, or stories about and by teachers (Schubert and Ayers, 1992). Teacher lore refers to" knowledge, ideas, insights, feelings, and understandings of teachers as they reveal their guiding beliefs." (Schubert and Ayers, 1992, p. 9). Millies (1992) described the importance of reflection regarding experiences and the relationship those experiences have on teaching practice. 30

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Academic Experiences Academic experiences include learning situations in an academic setting. This may include childhood academic experiences, beginning in preschool and continuing through high school. Other academic experiences include college academic work and student teaching experiences. Stuart and Thurlow (2000) found that preservice teachers bring to their teacher education program beliefs about teaching and learning that are heavily influenced by childhood academic experiences. If these beliefs are not brought to the forefront and examined, current practice will be maintained and innovations will be limited. Inquiry Practice and Teacher Professional Development How do educators help students with the process of inquiry? The process of scientific inquiry and the teaching strategies utilized are synonymous. The National Science Teaching Standards include inquiry as a central part of science teaching. Teachers of science need to plan, support, encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry (National Research Council, 1996). Huber & Moore (2001) presented a model as a tool for facilitating science teachers' efforts to understand and implement the type of powerful, effective, and manageable inquiry-based science instruction called for in the National Science Education Standards. They developed a model focusing on: 1) pre-service teachers, 2) using discrepant events to engage students, 3) brainstorming of questions, 4) use 31

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of cooperative groups to answer different questions, 5) graphic organizers to provide support for student writing and a 6) fmal student product. Stevens & Wenner (1996) found that preservice teachers often have a weak knowledge base in science and mathematics. Background experiences and courses need to connect with their current conceptual level and extend teacher understanding in ways that might be meaningful for their career. A need for reflective intervention during teacher education programs is important. Supovitz & Turner (2000) indicated that the quantity of professional development in which teachers participate is strongly linked with both inquiry-based teaching practice and investigative classroom culture. At the individual level, teachers' content preparation also had a powerful influence on teaching practice and classroom culture. At the school level, school socioeconomic status of the student populaton was found to influence practice more substantially than either principal supportiveness or available resources. Research in the area of professional development for teachers is promising in changing ingrained teacher beliefs and attitudes regarding reform efforts in science teaching. Professional opportunities need to provide time for teachers to 'do' and well as reflect upon their own practice. Again, more research agendas focus on pre-service teachers and initial teacher training, and few studies focus on in-service teacher professional development. 32

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Summary of the Literature Review This chapter began with a review of the literature related to scientific inquiry practice, focusing on the use of constructivism in instructional practices and instructional design as it relates to science education. A description of inquiry based teaching including a definition and components of teaching and learning related to this practice followed. Teachers' use of inquiry in the classroom and how a philosophy relates to practice was described. Literature focusing on teacher attitudes and beliefs regarding inquiry was a focus in the next section. Experiences including academic, personal and professional development related to inquiry concluded the chapter. More research is needed in the areas of teachers' beliefs and practices of inquiry-based science, especially related to in-service teachers. Because the efficacy of reform efforts rest largely with teachers, their voices need to be included in the design and implementation of inquiry-based curriculum (Keys & Bryan, 2001). The current study will attempt to close these gaps in the literature with regards to implementation of inquiry practice in middle school classrooms. In addition, a deeper look at how practice ties to beliefs and experiences within the context of exemplary middle school inquiry teachers will be examined. 33

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CHAPTER THREE RESEARCH METHODS Introduction The purpose of this study was to examine teacher reported characteristics of scientific inquiry, teacher beliefs, implementation and practice regarding scientific inquiry within middle school classrooms. A multiple-case study design was used and data were collected in four classrooms that promoted student-initiated, inquiry based practice. The research questions were: 1. How do teachers' background and experience relate to the use of scientific inquiry-based practice? 2. What are self-reported characteristics of scientific inquiry teaching found in selected middle school classrooms reported as promoting scientific inquiry-based practice? 3. How do teachers' self-reported beliefs relate to the use of scientific inquiry-based practice? 4. How do middle school teachers implement a scientific inquiry based approach into their instructional practice? 34

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5. What is the relationship between self-reported teaching scientific inquiry behaviors and observed behaviors in practicing inquiry based classrooms? This chapter will begin with a description of the overall approach and rationale of a case study design. Next, site and population selection procedures and descriptions of each site will be described. Then, a description of data collection methods, data management and data analysis procedures will follow. Finally, the chapter will end by addressing how the research was disseminated to the participants. The Case Study Design A case study design (Yin, 1994; Creswell, 1994) was used in order to obtain a deep understanding of the participants' beliefs, experiences and implementation of scientific inquiry into their classrooms. A case study approach is well suited for illustrating complex situations and natural environments such as these (Krathwohl, 1998). Yin (1994), defined a case study design as an investigation of a phenomenon within its real-life context, utilizing multiple data sources. In order to identify teacher beliefs regarding characteristics of inquiry-based teaching and the implementation of inquiry in classrooms, a variety of data sources were necessary to capture the essence of inquiry within classroom settings. 35

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Research Sites and Participants The sites for this study were from middle school science classrooms. Individuals who incorporate a student initiated inquiry-based approach in middle school science courses, were the main subjects of this study. Subjects were determined through nominations from the district science coordinator. Then, subjects were interviewed to determine a sample of teachers that indicated self reported beliefs and self-reported practice that aligned with the indicators of scientific inquiry-based teaching identified in the definition described in the previous chapter. Subjects also completed the Attitudes and Beliefs About Inquiry Questionnaire (see Appendix A) that the researcher developed and piloted during the spring of2003. The measure determined attitudes, beliefs and confidence for teaching and learning of scientific inquiry. Subjects were selected through the self reporting of high levels of confidence and positive attitudes toward inquiry-based teaching. Two Denver metropolitan area school districts were the focus of this study in order to view differences and possible influences between various district policies and support for science education. In one district, the science coordinator recommended eight middle school science teachers that she identified as using scientific inquiry practice. The science coordinator in the second district identified four middle school teachers. Teachers were contacted through email and all teachers in the first district were interviewed and completed the Attitudes and 36

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Beliefs About Inquiry Questionnaire. Two teachers in the second district were interviewed and completed the questionnaire. One of the teachers did not respond to the message, and one teacher asked for specific information regarding the study and responded that she did not believe she fit the criteria of inquiry-based teaching. After conducting initial interviews and collecting completed questionnaires a common element emerged in five teachers' responses. Five of these teachers identified student initiated inquiry as a characteristic of teaching found in their classrooms. One of these teachers was on a special assignment mentoring position for the school year, and was not a candidate for this study. A sixth teacher identified student-initiated inquiry as an aspect of teaching that she would like to incorporate, but found time as a constraint in its implementation. She described a pilot project that she was incorporating into her classroom that was inquiry based and involved a partnership with the local museum. The remaining teachers described inquiry as a questioning approach to helping student learn but did not indicate that student initiated inquiry was an element of their practice. The five teachers describing student-initiated inquiries were then contacted to determine interest in participating in this study. All five teachers agreed to participate in this study and arrangements were made to conduct classroom observations of student initiated inquiry. Four of the teachers were scheduled for classroom observations during the fall semester. One teacher was contacted on three separate occasions but arrangements for observational time could not be arranged. 37

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Description of the Sites Four public middle school classrooms encompassing two different school districts, participated in this study. Each site was located within a 15-mile radius of Denver, Colorado. Each participating school included sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students in their population. Table 3.1 Demographics of Participating School Sites, provides a brief overview and demographic information for each participating school site. Two schools, Trailside Middle School and Aspen Grove Middle School were located in the same school district and demographics were similar. Each of these schools had a diverse population of students with a variety of needs. Special education issues, poverty issues and mobility issues were at the forefront of teaching at this location. In this district, science learning was a focus and driven by assessment. All students were required to take a district-wide Science Performance Assessment. The Performance Assessment included an inquiry-based investigation component that students completed collaboratively, as well as a writing component, providing students a forum for explaining and applying their understanding of the task. This assessment was scored using a district-wide rubric and scores were reported in each schools accountability report. All students in the district were required to take a Science Level Test, a science content assessment, administered in the fall of each school year. 38

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Table 3.1 Demographics of Participating School Sites School Trailside Rocky Aspen Grove Cottonwood Middle Mountain Middle Middle School Middle School School School Participating Julie Angela Tammy Lisa Teachers Location North of South of North of South of Denver Denver Denver Denver Total Number of 964 1394 944 1322 Students Special Education 11.8% 11.0% 15.9% 11.0% Free and Reduced 55.3% 6.5% 53.3% 3.1% Lunch Mobility 50.0% 2.2% 34.4% 7.1% English Language 14.5% 3.0% 12.6% 1.0% Learners Gifted 2.8% 19.0% 1.6% 12.0% Caucasian 44.5% 87.3% 51.9% 88.0% Hispanic 49.8% 6.7% 36.3% 3.9% Asian 2.1% 4.1% 6.2% 5.7% Native American 0.9% 0.1% 2.0% 0.3% African American 2.7% 1.8% 3.5% 2.1% Rocky Mountain Middle School and Cottonwood Middle School were also located in the same school district. There is little diversity within these schools. Students were primarily Caucasian, and represented middle to upper class socioeconomic groups. Enrichment and acceleration programs were designed to promote student success within these schools. At the district level science learning was a focus and driven by assessment. A Science Standards document was available for each grade level, outlining the content standards and core curriculum expectations. All students were required to 39

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take a district-wide Science Level Test, a science content assessment, administered each school year. All eighth grade students take the Science Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) and results were reported in the school accountability report each year. Table 3.2 provides an overview of the percentage of students proficient and advanced on the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) in the areas of reading, mathematics and science. The information provided represents each school's results during the spring of2003. Table 3.2 Percentage of Students Proficient and Advanced. Spring 2003 School Reading Math Writing Science CSAP CSAP CSAP CSAP* Trailside Middle School 38% 14% 27% 22% Rocky Mountain Middle 88% 73% 81% 77% School Aspen Grove Middle School 41% 19% 29% 32% Cottonwood Middle School 91% 76% 84% 79% The Science CSAP is administered to eighth grade students only. Trailside Middle School and Aspen Grove Middle School reported low scores in all areas of the CSAP. Rocky Mountain Middle School and Aspen Grove Middle School reported high scores in the areas of reading and writing. All schools scored higher in the area of reading and lowest in the area of mathematics. Science scores are lower than reading and writing scores but higher than mathematics scores in all cases. 40

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Each school identified science goals, related to assessment, in their school accountability reports. Trailside Middle School had many goals for students related to science learning and understanding. In order to meet these goals, Trailside Middle School implemented strategies such as developing performance assessments and inquiry-based activities. Teachers realigned the curriculum based on CSAP results and planned on implementing a school-wide Science Bowl to review science content. The schools science goals and strategies for meeting the goals are depicted in Table 3.3. Table 3.3 Science Goals and Strategies for Trailside Middle School Science Goals Strategies Trailside Middle School eighth Performance Assessment graders will score Proficient or Science Inquiry Activities Advanced on the CSAP during Science Bowl to review spring 2004: material for CSAP 35% overall FOSS Kits to improve Earth 1 0% Special Education Science Curriculum in 10% English Language seventh and eighth grade Learners Realigning Curriculum Timeline based on CSAP Implementation of science Item Maps curriculum through the use of Science Inquiry Activities with a special focus on constructive response. 41

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Rocky Mountain Middle School implemented strategies such as incorporating technology and literacy into the curriculum. CSAP results were used to determine curriculum alignment issues and goals focused on success of all students in the area of science. The schools science goals and strategies for meeting the goals are depicted in Table 3.4. Table 3.4 Science Goals and Strategies for Rocky Mountain Middle School Science Goals Strategies By 2004, 80% of students will Disaggregate the cluster groupings be proficient or above in science from the Science CSAP to as measured by multiple determine curriculum alignment indicators. issues. By 2004, gender equity will be Evaluate current achievement maintained as CSAP goals levels of new students and provide increase to 80% proficient or appropriate programming to those advanced. students achieving below proficient By 2004, no Hispanic student level. will score unsatisfactory, unless Emphasize research skills across ELA 1 or 2. core and electives classes using By 2004, Anglo students will technology as a tool. score 805 or higher on CSAP. Embed constructed responses into By 2004, all AVID students will daily lessons. score in the proficient range or Practice vocabulary strategies in higher and 20% of current the context of learning. students will score in the Work on technical writing skills advanced category as measured and constructed response skills. byCSAP. Communicate consistently with By 2004, 30% of 8th grade parents regarding student's learning science students will score in experience. the advanced range on CSAP. Technology will be embedded into instruction and products to enhance students' achievement. 42

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Aspen Grove Middle School had many goals for students related to reading, writing and mathematics with the expectation that these goals would be incorporated into all content areas, including science. In order to meet these goals, Aspen Grove Middle School implemented reading and writing strategies and assessment driven instruction. CSAP released items were used to formulate instruction and align with the district curriculum. The school's goals and strategies for meeting the goals are depicted in Table 3.5. Table 3.5 Science Goals and Strategies for Aspen Grove Middle School Goals Strategies Decrease, by 5 All cores will conference with individual students percentage points, to review their achievement level on the reading the number of portion of the CSAP. Academic goals will be set students scoring to achieve a year's growth, or more. unsatisfactory on the Teachers will utilize CSAP released items to reading portion of formulate instruction and materials aligned with the CSAP District Curriculum 80% of all students Introduction, training and implementation of will show one-year's various strategies for reading comprehension, growth on the vocabulary building and best practices related to reading CSAP reading Increase, by I 0 Use a variety of texts throughout all content areas percentage point, the Staff will be trained in and utilize the Six Trait number of students writing program scoring proficient or Development of integrated curriculum, which advanced on the focuses on Six Traits across the content areas writing portion of Focus on writing constructed responses on a theCSAP variety oftopics Introduction, training and implementation of the following McRel strategies: sorting, similarities and differences, and note taking 43

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Cottonwood Middle School had one major goal for students related to science learning and understanding. In order to meet this Cottonwood Middle School implemented strategies such as incorporating technology and literacy into the curriculum CSAP results were used to determine curriculum alignment issues and strategies focused on success for all students in the area of science. The schools science goals and strategies for meeting the goals are depicted in Table 3.6. Table 3.6 Science Goals and Strategies for Cottonwood Middle School Science Goals Strategies All students will be proficient or Provide specific school wide above in Science as measured by reading and writing strategies in CSAP. By Spring 2004, there will each content area. be a 3% improvement in student Align content area scope and scores. sequence with state standards. Emphasize research skills across core classes. Through research projects, literacy competencies will be strengthened with reference materials such as dictionaries, media resources and various forms of technology. Integrate, throughout the year, timed-writing prompts for both short and extended responses. Administer pretests to all students to determine necessity for instructional unit development needed for concept mastery. Develop and implement Understanding by Design instructional science units. 44

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Description of the Participating Classrooms One sixth-grade classroom, two seventh-grade classrooms and one eighthgrade classroom were the sites for this study. Demographics of classrooms participating in this study are depicted in Table 3.7. Table 3.7 Demographics of Participating Classrooms School Trailside Rocky Aspen Cottonwood Mountain Grove Classroom Julie: Julie: Angela Tammy Lisa First Eighth Hour Hour Grade Level gtn gm 7m 7m 6m Male 16 13 16 9 25 Female 14 22 12 8 28 Special Education 2 0 0 2 7 English Language 7 4 0 2 0 Learners Gifted 0 35 1 1 0 Caucasian 8 22 27 10 45 Hispanic 22 9 0 6 3 Native American 0 I 0 1 4 African American 0 1 0 0 1 Asian 0 2 I 0 0 Julie taught four science classes every day. Two classes consisted of general population students and two classes consisted of gifted students enrolled in the Middle Years Programme ofthe International Baccalaureate Organization (lBO). Both classrooms were observed in order to gain insights into inquiry-based instruction with different groups of students. Angela taught four science classes 45

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every day. She identified that her practice did not change between classes and students represented the typical demographics of the school. One class was observed in this environment. Tammy taught four science classes each day and one class of Academic Extensions. This extensions class was mandated by the district and required that teachers incorporate literacy into their content area. Upon meeting with Tammy, she identified the extensions class as a more appropriate environment to observe inquiry-based instruction. This class represented the general population of Aspen Grove Middle School. Lisa taught two science classes and two math classes each day. Observations encompassed both science classes, which consisted of general population students. Assessment results for each of the participating classes, is depicted in Table 3.8. In each classroom proficiency on the CSAP aligned with school proficiency. Julie's classroom was the only exception. Her first hour class, which was more representative of the school scored lower than the eighth hour class of students enrolled in the lBO program. Angela's and Lisa's classes consisted of more students proficient and advanced, which aligned with their school assessment results. 46

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Table 3.8 Number of Students Proficient and Advanced for Participating Classrooms Assessment Reading CSAP Math Writing CSAP CSAP Trailside Middle School: 1 0 1 Julie's First Hour Class Trailside Middle School: 35 32 35 Julie's Eighth Hour Class Rocky Mountain Middle 22* 21* 22* School: Angela's Class Aspen Grove Middle School: 5** 3** 2** TamJ1!y's Class Cottonwood Middle School: 47 45 49 Lisa's Class *This data represents information for 25 students. No data was available for three students. **This data represents information for 14 students. No data was available for three students. The Researchers' Role In order to negotiate entry and maintain access to these classrooms, communication was a key component. I discussed data collection needs and set up the initial interview and classroom observation times, based on the convenience of the participants. Informal conversations about curriculum, decisions, and situations that arose took place weekly. I was cognizant that participants were volunteers and were not gaining personal benefits by aiding in this study, so awareness ofwhen to pose questions and appropriateness of time constraints was key. One of the strengths of this study was that ofbuilding trust with individuals. I was clear about my needs and the needs ofthe individuals involved while 47

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conducting this study. Participants were reassured that I would not be evaluating their performance or judging their teaching in any way. I also communicated on a daily basis to allow the participants to ask questions about the research. Informal conversations regarding the initial fmdings were scheduled with the participants throughout the data analysis and to check that the findings are "true" to the beliefs of the participants. I approached the research as an observer and outsider to these environments. I was aware that students would be curious about the presence of an additional adult in the classroom Each participant provided me with time for introductions and explanations about the study, to their students. I also met with the principal at each site to describe the study, answer any questions, and provide copies of student and parent consent forms for their review. Researcher bias may affect coding based on personal experiences and understanding of scientific inquiry. All attempts were made to code and analyze the data in a variety of ways to avoid and restrict researcher bias. Utilizing a case study approach through collecting data from interviews, classroom observations, documents, and field notes allowed for triangulation and restricted researcher bias to a degree. 48

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Ethical Considerations Human Subjects approval was obtained from the University of Colorado, Denver campus as well as each school district that participated in this study. I clearly communicated the research plans to the individuals involved as well as the principal in each school. In addition, parent and student consent forms were obtained from individuals in each classroom that participated in the study. A separate informed consent document was signed by students, parents, and teachers, and maintained by the researcher. Data Collection Methods Primary data collection methods consisted of in-depth interviews, observations, and collection of artifacts. Secondary methods such as the initial survey and audiotaping were also used to create multiple data sources. The creation of a data collection matrix (LeCompte & Preissle, 1993) aided in data management procedures through the course of this study. Table 3.9 depicts the planning matrix, which describes the questions under investigation, the kind of data collected to answer the questions, the sources needed to gather data and the analysis of the data. A description of each data source follows. 49

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Table 3.9 Data Collection Planning Matrix What do I need to know? What kind Which How was the data analyzed? of data will sources answer the possess questions? the data? What teacher background and Interviews Teachers, Interviews, audio taped experiences relate to inquiry-based Field notes events observations and field notes teaching practice? Audio taped were transcribed and coded observations using constant comparative analysis. Patterns and themes were generated and compared to additional data sources. What are self-reported Interviews Teachers, Interviews, audio taped characteristics of scientific inquiry Audio taped events observations, documents, and found in selected middle school observations field notes were transcribed science classrooms reported as Documents and coded using constant promoting scientific inquiry-based Field notes comparative analysis. Patterns practice? and themes were generated and compared to additional data sources. How teachers' self-reported beliefs Interviews Teachers Interviews were transcribed relate to the use of inquiry-based and coded using constant teaching practice? comparative analysis. Patterns and themes were generated and compared to additional data sources. How middle school teachers Interviews Teachers, Interviews, audio taped implement a scientific inquiryAudio taped events observations, documents and based approach into their observations field notes were transcribed instructional practice? Documents and coded using constant Field notes comparative analysis. Patterns and themes were generated and compared to additional data sources. What is the relationship between Interviews Teachers, Interviews, audio taped self-reported teaching inquiry Audio taped events observations, documents and behaviors and observed behaviors observations field notes were transcribed, in practicing inquiry-based Documents and coded using constant classrooms? Field notes comparative analysis. Patterns and themes were generated and compared to additional data sources. (Adapted from LeCompte & Pretssle, 1993, pp. 51-53) 49

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In-depth Interviews Each teacher participated in three interviews, which were audiotaped and followed a semi-structured format. The first interview took place after a week of classroom observations and dependent upon the time constraints of the participant. The first interview focused on the background experiences of the teachers. The second interview focused on the beliefs that teachers held regarding teaching and learning and students. Interview questions were adapted from the Teachers' Pedagogical Philosophical Interview (Richardson & Simmons, 1994; see Appendix B). Other interview questions focused on the documents collected and specific information regarding assignments teachers gave students, lesson plans and classroom decisions that were made. The third interview took place after the transcription of the previous interviews and focused on providing clarifying information for the study. All interviews were audio taped and transcribed by the researcher verbatim. In addition, field notes were recorded throughout the interview to aid in clarification. Informal conversations occurred as needed, and were recorded in the form of field notes. Observation Each classroom was observed during a unit of study that the teacher identified as incorporating student initiated inquiry. Individual classrooms were 50

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observed on a daily basis for approximately a month during the fall semester. The length of each unit varied for each teacher. Table 3.10 displays the number of days of observation for each of the four sites. Field notes contained detailed descriptions of classroom events and were dated and audio taped in order to capture all classroom events and exact language of the teacher. Field notes were typed and detail was added each evening. Comments, questions and reflections were written in the margins. Table 3.10 Number of Days Observed at Each Site Classroom Julie Angela Tammy Lisa Number ofDays 22 28 30 16 Observed Artifact Collection Artifacts were collected from each participant throughout the observation time period. Artifacts included class assignments, homework assignments, unit and lesson plan outlines, pre and post unit tests, and teacher-developed rubrics. I also received a copy of each school's accountability report. Each document was numbered, dated and filed. In the case of Julie, in which I was collecting artifacts within two classrooms, each artifact was numbered with the appropriate classroom the artifact was used. Some of the artifacts were common to both classrooms and 51

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some of the artifacts were only used in one. A table was created for participants that listed and described each artifact collected throughout the process. Instrumentation The initial survey utilized a Likert-item questionnaire and was administered to all teachers identified by district science coordinators to determine attitudes and beliefs of inquiry teaching, beliefs about their teaching, and beliefs about students. The Attitudes and Beliefs About Science Questionnaire was used. This questionnaire was developed by the researcher and based on the Revised Attitude Scale (Bittner, 1994), the Belief Scale (Risacher & Ebert, 1996) and the SWEPT Pre-Survey (OERL, 2002). The Beliefs Scale (Risacher & Ebert, 1996) is a 32 Likert item measurement of mathematical beliefs. This survey was easily adapted as a science belief scale by slightly changing questions (e.g. Students construct meaning as they learn mathematics was changed to students construct meaning as they learn science). Of the original 32-item scale, 19 questions remained that were specific to science teaching. Questions dropped were specific mathematical teaching beliefs (e.g. Mathematical ideas should be examined in terms of a basic formula or standard equation). The Revised Science Attitude Scale (Bitner, 1994; Thompson & Shrigley, 1986) is a 22 statement, Likert-type science attitude scale for pre-service elementary 52

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school teachers. The Standardized Item Alpha for the 22 statements was .88 (Thompson & Shrigley, 1986) and .90, .88, and .89 (Bitner, 1994). The purpose of this survey was to measure the attitudes of teachers toward the teaching of science. Subcomponents of this survey consisted of the level of comfort-discomfort of teaching science, the time required to prepare and teach science, the handling of science equipment, and the basic need students have for science. In order to develop a similar survey that would measure scientific inquiry in these areas, I slightly changed each question to make statements relevant to inquiry methodology (e.g. "I fear that I will be unable to teach science adequately" was changed to "I fear that I will be unable to teach inquiry adequately." Four questions were removed from the original scale items that measured comfort/discomfort. Although the original survey was intended to measure pre-service teachers attitudes toward the teaching of science, inquiry-based teaching may be unfamiliar to in-service teachers. The subcomponents of this measure are relevant in understanding attitudes regardless of teaching experience. The SWEPT Pre and Post-Teaching Survey (SWEPT Multi-site Advisory Committee) was administered to students in National Science Foundation funded science and math courses. The purpose was to gather attitudinal information about science, math, and teaching before and after a course. Funding sources included the National Science Foundation and Collaboratives for Excellence in Teacher Preparation. This measure contained sixteen Likert scale ("strongly disagree" to 53

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"strongly agree") items and twelve demographic questions, which were administered at the beginning of the semester. Taken together, the final version of the Attitudes and Beliefs About Science Questionnaire contained fifty-one Likert scale items, 5 short response questions and one question related to teaching background. Content validity was established through a review by an additional expert of science inquiry. The alpha coefficient of reliability was calculated to be .77. Data Analysis Data Management This study included the collection of data from a variety of sources. In depth audio taped teacher interviews, classroom observations, documents, and field notes provided a wealth of data. Miles and Huberman ( 1994) indicated that data management is a crucial aspect of qualitative research. Data was organized first chronologically, then thematically. Data was placed in color-coded folders by participant, which allowed for easy access. All interviews and classroom audio was taped and transcribed by the researcher and placed in dated folders according to site. Data was stored in a file cabinet in my home. 54

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Data Analysis Procedures Data were transcribed, organized and coded, using constant comparative analysis (Hutchinson. 1988; Miles & Huberman. 1984), which led to generating categories, themes and patterns and verification of these themes and patterns. Individual classrooms were treated as separate entities during initial stages of data analysis. Before coding could begin. data needed to be transformed into typed text. Every evening, after an observation session, field notes were typed and placed into files, artifacts were numbered and also filed. A table of documents was developed for each participant, indicating the document number, title and brief summary of the relevance of the document. Interviews were transcribed, verbatim, and also placed into files. Artifacts were numbered and filed. Each data piece was written into text, filed by participant and stored on a laptop computer. Data displays were created throughout the process. First, I created a table of events that displayed classroom events, chronologically (Miles & Huberman. 1994). This allowed for a general overview of the core events during the inquiry unit. Throughout the coding process, data displays were incorporated in order to organize and identify patterns and themes among the codes. The frrst step in the coding process began by using an open coding strategy described by Strauss and Corbin (1990). Miles and Huberman (1994) suggested that qualitative researchers begin with a start list of codes based on the research 55

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questions guiding the study. A start list of codes was generated, and represented codes common to the study's research agenda. Coding began with the interview. After five pages of coding using the start list, I found that this process was not comfortable. I questioned whether this particular process forced certain codes upon data. I decided to start over and used "open coding." (Strauss and Corbin, 1990). Words and phrases were "chunked" and given a code. Each "chunk" was organized into a list and codes were placed at the beginning of each "chunk." Once the interview was coded in this manner, a copy of the file was made and placed in a second file. This original coded data, organized by date, remained intact in order to identifY patterns and themes within the data. This file represented first-level codes. The second file of coded data was organized by code. This allowed for second level coding. The next step consisted of determining patterns within each of the first level codes. A list of codes was generated and re-organized into larger patterns and themes. This allowed for data reduction and laid the foundation for cross-case analysis used later in the process. The theme codes were then reorganized into a list, displaying the first-level codes and second level codes. This process allowed for future reference while coding additional data and provided a visual display of relationships among the codes. This process offrrst-level coding and pattern coding was incorporated throughout the process. Individual case studies were coded as separate entities, and 56

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began with the interviews. Coding continued with the class audiotapes, then field notes and concluding with the artifacts. Verification of the themes were confirmed in two ways. During the coding process, participants were asked to review the themes that emerged from the coding and provided feedback regarding the accuracy of the themes. The second method consisted of verification among the multiple sources of data. In order to establish reliability within the coding scheme, a second individual was given ten pages of data, previously "chunked," and a list of codes to test for inter rater reliability. Inter rater reliability was found to be .81 accurate. Passages that were in disagreement were evaluated. This study incorporated a multiple-case approach. The fmal step of data analysis consisted of identifying common patterns and themes that emerged across all four cases. A table was created that displayed all four cases and major themes. These themes were coded, displayed and checked among previous data. Themes and patterns represented the similarities among the cases. Dissemination of the Research to Participants Two opportunities were provided for each participant to review the results of the study. First, as mentioned previously, major themes and patterns were shared with each participant. In each case, participants validated the findings. Upon 57

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completion of each case, participants were given their chapter for review. In all cases, participants validated the conclusions of the study. Summary This chapter began with a description of the overall approach and rationale for this study. Site and population selection was described in detail. A dense description of each site, and the individual classrooms participating in the study followed. The chapter continued with a brief description of the researcher's role throughout this study. Data collection methods, data management procedures, and data analysis procedures followed. The chapter concluded by describing how the research was disseminated to the participants. 58

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CHAPTER FOUR CASE STUDY OF JULIE: THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD PROJECT Introduction This chapter is the first case study of selected middle school inquiry-based classrooms. The chapter will begin with a description of the teacher and classroom. A description of the teacher and how background experiences influenced inquiry teaching will follow. The next section will address teacher beliefs about inquiry and how Julie described characteristics of inquiry. The chapter will continue by describing the implementation of inquiry within this classroom environment and a short discussion of similarities and differences among Julie's beliefs and teaching practice. The chapter will conclude with a brief discussion of the integration of Julie's background experiences, beliefs and practice. Description of Julie Julie had been teaching for three years, all at this site. She began her career as a sixth grade educator, teaching mathematics and science, on a two-person team This year was her first year teaching eighth grade science on a team of four teachers. She taught four science classes every day. Two classes consisted of general population students and two classes consisted of gifted students enrolled in the 59

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Middle Years Programme ofthe International Baccalaureate Organization (lBO). Trailside Middle School had been participating in the Middle Years Programme for the past three years and Julie had been a teacher in this program since its conception. Background Experience and Inquiry As indicated in the conceptual framework guiding this study, background experiences of individuals play a role in teaching practice. Major themes emerged relating Julie's background experiences and relevance to inquiry teaching practice. Opportunities for doing authentic science and project-based science experiences, working with middle school students, expectations of the teacher education program and lBO training, and the personal learning style of Julie had led to understandings and beliefs about inquiry-based instruction. Owortunities for Doing Science Julie's background was filled with opportunities for doing science, especially during elementary school. Julie identified her third grade teacher as someone who did science every Friday afternoon and was open to student interests (Transcripts, 11/4/03). Julie passionately recalled her fifth grade teacher who was "insane." 60

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He built his room to be like Nautilus, like 20000 Leagues Under the Sea. He had tables built out that were octagons; there was a terrarium that was like ten by five (feet). And there was a computer center. We were the only classroom in the whole district that had computers. And he had like simple machine things, where we built machines and a whole science library of books ... and by the end of the year you would have a five inch notebook full of labs with almost everything, math, science, everything through science. So .. .I got to play a lot. (Transcripts, 1114/03) Middle school and high school experiences also influenced Julie's involvement in science. Julie recalled her 7tt. grade science class as doing "labs everyday with physical science stuff." (Transcripts, 11/4/03). She had numerous opportunities throughout high school, through participation in the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair, a program that sent students to the international science fair (Transcripts, 11/4/03). Julie participated in this program during each of her high school years and studied ''removing heavy metals from water using bakers yeast." Each year built upon the knowledge she gained from previous years. This opportunity also provided a forum for communicating the investigations to others. Julie traveled to various states for presentations including Wyoming, North Carolina, Boston, Maryland and Denver (Field Notes 1/29/04). A pattern of "doing science" was ingrained throughout her academic schooling experiences. These experiences and patterns of"doing science" influenced Julie as she began her undergraduate degree in chemistry with a minor in environmental issues. Julie identified the four years of lab experiences, research, and field studies as important aspects of developing her understanding of chemistry. One class in 61

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particular influenced Julie's learning and emphasized the importance of doing science. Before you could graduate you had to take a six week field session which was synthesis and prep and they would give you, here is a chemical, you have a week to make it go. Here, you have to make iron, go fmd it. They gave us the here's the name, here's the resources, ... when you are done you have such an accomplishment and I learned so much more chemistry than I did reading a book, because I had to do it. (Transcripts, 11/4/03) Project-Based Science Experiences Throughout her undergraduate studies in chemistry, Julie also identified project-based experiences as influencing her current teaching practice. One course in particular, Engineering Practices Introductory Course sequence (EPIC) consisted of a series of project-based experiences completed throughout the course of the four years. Every year you were given a project you knew nothing about, and you had to design, or build, or do that project. So the first year, they don't make it relate to a major at all, it was just whatever topic, so the first year, we built solar ovens. We had to design it and the do all the autoclave and build the prototype. You do a big poster presentation. The second year we did it, we did a feasibility study on all the chemical, coal mines and water instability, all the way where 6th Avenue runs from C470 and Highway 93, you can't expand it anymore, if you expand it, you get old mine shafts on either side. So we had to do a feasibility study why they couldn't build the road. (Transcripts, 11/4/03) 62

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were identified as gifted and talented. The school made the decision to pilot a sixth grade Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization and Julie was hired as the science and mathematics teacher on the team. Julie participated in required trainings of this program. She identified these experiences as changing her teaching practice. I think getting to teach IB was really good. My first year I went to a couple, three day trainings on the IB curriculum and it was a lot of high school teachers. We did a lot of project-based learning and so they did more like really long term labs and stuff, which I don't really think it fits with our curriculum, but I think it gave me permission to start playing with that. (Transcripts, 11/4/03) Later in the interview, Julie expanded on her IB training and her beliefs about teaching and project-based learning. Teaching in the IB program has helped a lot. It's given me a license to say, "I'm doing these projects, and they are important," and I guess a lot of times people feel that they have to get through the whole curriculum and I don't. Doing IB based, you do things in depth, depth not breadth. And I think that was good, that has given me permission to teach how I want to teach. Ifl would have come in teaching a regular classroom, I wouldn't have started these patterns and now this year since I'm not teaching IB all day, I have regular education students, it doesn't scare me to do it with regular kids. (Transcripts, 1114/03) Personal Learning Style A pattern that emerged throughout the data was the influence of Julie's personal learning style on her teaching of inquiry. Julie made comments such as, "I 65

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like to play. I want my kids to play." Julie's beliefs about the influence ofher personal learning style is apparent in the following statement. I'm kinesthetic and verbal. We do a lot of reading, writing and talking in my class because if you can't explain it, you may understand it but if you can't verbalize it or explain, it doesn't do you any good ... you have to express yourself somehow. (Transcripts, 1114/03) Background experiences shape and influence what individuals believe about teaching and learning. Julie's background experiences consisted of opportunities for doing science, problem-based activities with science and interactions with students, which contributed to her understanding of science content. As Julie began teaching, experiences such as the expectations of the teacher education program and International Baccalaureate trainings that she received, allowed her to build on those experiences and shaped her teaching. Julie's kinesthetic and verbal learning styles also played a role in her teaching. Self Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry One ofthe major questions driving this study involved understanding teacher reported beliefs regarding inquiry. Patterns emerged within the data regarding Julie's beliefs about inquiry. This section will describe these patterns, beginning with Julie's definition and characteristics of inquiry. Julie's beliefs regarding her goals for students, roles for teachers, and constraints and benefits regarding inquiry will also be described. 66

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Characteristics oflnguiry Julie's definition of inquiry was based on her definition of science. Julie believed that science is, "Figuring out why things work the way they do, and how they work. Science is the answers ... Inquiry is the process of figuring it out what's going on ... inquiry is the getting there piece." (Transcripts, 1115/03). When asked to elaborate on this definition, she stated, Inquiry is the kids investigating an idea to come to the bigger understanding of what's going on and why. It's them getting hands on with stuff and figuring out how it works. Making them have an experience with something. Inquiry is the thought process. (Transcripts, 11/5/03) There were numerous patterns that emerged regarding Julie's beliefs about characteristics of inquiry. Julie believed that science teaching should foster the big ideas of science and the use of guiding questions to drive instruction. Learning by "doing" through hands-on experiences, exploration and designing experiments was a second major theme. A third theme included fostering connections through background knowledge, real life experiences and project-based activities. Julie also believed that instruction should be student-driven, allowing for student choice and based on student needs. Communication about science, collaboration with others, and assessment were additional themes that Julie identified as characteristics of inquiry teaching. Big Ideas and Guiding Questions. Julie began the development of each unit she taught through the creation of a "big idea" or concept, in the form of an open67

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ended question. Her next step was the development of guiding questions that led her classroom instruction. Julie described her view of guiding questions. The guiding questions are the big nugget. You are not teaching the content you are teaching the big overall world piece or worldview on it. My idea of a guiding question is that there are no yes/no answers, there are thirty answers out there to that question and it doesn't matter which answer the kid has, they are all right, as long as the kid can support their answer. (Transcripts, 11/5/03) Julie described an example of guiding questions and the role they played in her classroom in the following excerpts . . (guiding questions) are even bigger than the standards. They are more. One person I took a class from said, "You have two kinds of guiding questions. You have a technical question and a philosophical one." I like philosophical ones. When I do models, like atomic theory, we'll do, How do models change how we think about the world? That will be our guiding question. That fits for any class, you can use it, it's more an overarching world question, it's not just content not science driven, person driven. That's what helps them (students) make connections. (Transcripts, 11/5/03) When I taught my metric unit, I used the guiding question everyday. Why use metric? It's just a big question that gave the kids something to tie back to. Another one I've used is, Why is it hard for scientists to communicate their work? They (students) know why they have to explain things. (Transcripts, 11/5/03) These statements indicate that Julie's beliefs about teaching science are global in nature as compared to traditional methods of teaching content. Learning By Doing. One of the major themes introduced in Julie's definition of inquiry and apparent as she discussed characteristics of inquiry, was 68

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that of "learning by doing." Patterns of doing inquiry with hands-on experiences and exploration were predominant throughout her interview. I think science, especially, has to be exploring and delving into things themselves. They (students) have to experience it to make a connection to it. lfthey just read a book, they may be able to understand it enough to pass a test but to completely understand it, they have to have some experience with it. (Transcripts, 1114/03) As Julie planned her instruction, she incorporated opportunities for students to do science. She described the experience of introducing students to chemistry by mixing water and alcohol and determining volume of a substance. I try to come up, for every topic that we are doing, at least one hands on thing. It's not always a formal lab. Like today, we did a demo and I knew we didn't have time to do the whole lab, so we did the activity where the kids get to play with it. If you want to remember it you have to do something with it. (Transcripts, 11/4/03) Providing students opportunities for doing science were clear throughout the interview as Julie discussed her beliefs about teaching science. Julie attributed this belief about teaching to her own experiences of"doing science." Connections. Julie believed that students must make connections in order to facilitate learning and understanding in her classroom. Connections identified by Julie included: a) integration of additional content areas, b) triggering and developing background knowledge, c) fostering student-centered instruction, d) providing opportunities for communication and e) collaboration through teamwork and evaluation. 69

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Integration of All Content Areas. Julie provided a clear example of assisting students in making connections with other content areas by tying the concept of theories to a history lesson. You have to make connections to things, whether it's what they are learning in math right now or in another subject, or an experience they have when they go outside. Like yesterday, we talked about theories, and the kids had no idea what a theory was ... so we talked about middle ages that they are doing right now in history, and talked about the heliocentric theory, earth centric theory, and ... it started clicking, they have connections to things. (Transcripts, 1114/03) Julie also described numerous examples of incorporating literacy into her teaching practice. Reading, writing and speaking were relevant throughout Julie's beliefs regarding making connections. "Kids will do a research paper on chemistry topics in the world, they'll do a research project where they will have to pick a topic and have to tie it back to one of the units we did." (Transcripts, 1114/03) Collaboration with other team teachers to aid students in making connections was also a focus. They (the students) had to have an English and social studies part (of the project). So there was a rubric and we broke it down step by step and worked on it in all the classes for two weeks. It was a big two week culminating project for the unit. (Transcripts, 1114/03) Julie s belief about providing connections to other subject areas was one aspect important in her teaching. A second area of making connections was through triggering and developing background knowledge for her students. 70

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Background Knowledge. Julie holds beliefs about triggering background knowledge of her students and building new concepts through connections with that knowledge. When asked about how she fostered background knowledge she stated, A lot ofteaser stuff. We are doing molecules right now, so yesterday, before we did notes or anything, we mixed water and rubbing alcohol and the volume doesn't come up right. .. What could it be? And I started asking leading questions like, Where could it have gone? Why do you think that? I'm just asking the leading question why and starting to probe and dig to see what they really know. (Transcripts, 1115/03) This excerpt demonstrated Julie's use of making connections through background knowledge. Julie also described the use of questioning strategies to trigger background knowledge and assess student's current level of thinking and understanding. Student-Centered Instruction A third connection that emerged throughout Julie's interview focused on student-centered instruction. Student choice, student needs, student designing and real life examples were relevant to making connections in Julie's perspective. When discussing changes in her teaching from her first to her second year, Julie stated, ... More student driven instead of teacher driven ... (students should be) developing their own learning through structured activities." (Transcripts, 11/4/03). An example of student-centered instruction, fostering student choice, was apparent in the following example. The simple machine thing was total student driven. All they were given was, you have to design a machine to wake you up, and it has 71

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to have six simple machines in it, four of which have to be real life examples. (Transcripts, 11/4/03) A second excerpt displayed Julie's belief about connections focusing on student needs, especially at the middle school level. This example also restated Julie's belief regarding the importance of students "doing" science. Kids learn better that way at this age, they are not ready to sit. They have so many hormones and needs and so entertainment. It's not like I try to make my classroom an entertainment zone, but they have to be doing something or they're going to tune out and won't buy into it. (Transcripts, 1114/03) Providing opportunities for students to design their own experiences for learning was another major theme that fostered student-driven connections. Julie described many examples of student-designed opportunities for learning. We did the rainforest and the kids were given a topic and they had to teach the class, however they wanted to. They had to research, we did all the getting to know it and they had to come up with a lab, something that they could teach to the class. They had to design a lab to see, How size effects how long it takes lollipops to dissolve. Their final project was they had to redesign it to do more correctly. Then, layers of the earth, they had to design a model and come up with limitations and what was good about their model. (Transcripts, 11/4/03) Bridging classroom and real life expectations was a concern for Julie. She stated this concern regarding teacher's lack of inquiry teaching and its potential affect on students. I think it's sad when teachers don't do any inquiry at all, that worries me because if these kids are ever going to go into a technical field, they're (college instructors) going to teach you the content, they are 72

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not going to teach the thinking skills part. So if we aren't teaching that part, who is going to teach it? (Transcripts, 11/5/03) Julie believed that providing student choices was an important aspect of her teaching practice. Instructional decisions were influenced by the needs of her students and focused on providing opportunities for students to design their own learning. Providing this type of environment helped students make connections with what was being learned in the classroom, and what they will need to know for their future aspirations. Communicating. As stated earlier, Julie believed that making connections was an important aspect of her teaching. An additional theme emerging from her interview expanded on making connections through communicating understandings to others and, ... support your stuffwith evidence, you can't just say because, you have to give some support to what you do.,, (Transcripts, 11/4/03). The importance of communicating about understandings promoted higher-level thinking for her students. We do a lot of reading and writing and talking in my class because if you can't explain it, you may understand it, but if you can't verbalize it or explain, it doesn't do you any good ... you have to express yourself somehow. (Transcripts, 11/4/03) Connecting new understandings through communication and explanation not only focused on speaking, but writing and reading as well. Students used reading to provide background information and supporting evidence of their understandings. 73

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Students used writing and presentations as a means of communicating their thinking to others. Julie believed that these are important skills for students to acquire. Collaboration. Julie believed that opportunities for collaboration were incorporated into her classroom. Collaboration in the form of group work and as an evaluation tool was described throughout the interview. We did all the ecosystem stuff. They were given a guiding question and there were four of them and they had to teach that topic to the class. One was, How does the destruction of the rain forest affect the health of Americans? ... How does the need for natural resources justify deforestation? and they had to justify it ... What communities live in the layers of the rairiforest and how do they survive? and How has man affected the rairiforest? They worked in groups and had to come up with a visual, verbal and kinesthetic product. (Transcripts, 11/4/03) This description of the rainforest lesson illustrated the major themes emerging from Julie's beliefs about characteristics of inquiry teaching. The use of: a) guiding questions, b) learning by doing, in this example, learning through teaching, c) making connections, d) communicating understandings, e) collaboration and f) assessment. Assessment. A final theme that emerged included Julie's beliefs about assessment. Julie described assessment as a tool for her to grade students and determine their understanding and learning. She also described assessment as an opportunity for classmates to share their knowledge with others and provide feedback collaboratively. Julie stated, "Classroom performance, one on one. I'll 74

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walk around and say, 'What's this?' and they'll start telling me and I'll say, 'Okay, they're getting it, learning it."' (Transcripts, 1115/03). Informal assessment was described by Julie as, ... a lot of performance stuff, I can see them doing it. Today I knew they got what we did, because at the end of the day they could answer the question I posed yesterday. How this works, or this happened. I make them answer questions with a little twist to it to make sure. (Transcripts, 11/5/03) Julie believed in providing student opportunities to assess each other's work as illustrated in the following description of a gallery walk. "Gallery walk ... when we do physical changes, they are all going to have to make a poster, after we talk about solids. They have to go grade each other." (Transcripts, 11/5/03) Assessment was an important theme that was relevant in Julie's beliefs about inquiry as well as in her background experiences. Julie believed that assessment was not only the role of the teacher, but a role for students as well. SelfReported Beliefs About Inquiry A major research question guiding this study included self-reported teacher beliefs about inquiry teaching. The previous sections described Julie's beliefs about characteristics of inquiry. This section ofthe chapter will describe additional beliefs that Julie described as having influence on inquiry teaching in her classroom. The predominant themes described in this section include: a) Julie's major goals for 75

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students, b) the teacher's role while implementing inquiry, c) constraints for teaching inquiry and d) benefits ofteaching inquiry. Major Goals for Students One of the patterns that emerged through Julie's interview consisted of goals for students. Julie stated that her major goals for students included developing thinking skills for her students, learning to work as a team, and developing confidence within her students regarding science. stated, Julie described her goal of developing thinking skills for students when she ... to learn to think ... for the kids to construct they're own learning. For kids to go through a process to come up with an answer at the end, and to learn to support their answers with evidence ... to get this huge concept of science. (Transcripts, 11/4/03) A second major goal for students was teamwork, which was evident in the preceding section regarding collaboration. A third major goal for Julie was developing confidence in her students. Being confident to try things they don't know how to do. When they start an experiment and they are like, "I don't know what to do, how do I do ... ?'' ... that they can do it (science) ... and it (science) is fun. I try and make the kids feel like they are scientists. A big part of it is getting them into that brain set. That they can do it, and that it is fun, and it's not just for the smart kids. Like the beginning of the year, that's the thing. "I'm too dumb to do this. It (science) is just for smart kids." By the end of the year, I want them to walk away and say, "Oh, I can do this. I did this by mysel" (Transcripts, 1114/03) 76

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Teacher's Role Julie described many beliefs about her role as a teacher and how teacher roles relate to teaching inquiry. Julie described how her role changed when she began teaching more inquiry-based lessons. "I stopped having to teach as much as facilitating ... a facilitator more than a lecturer type thing." (Transcripts, 1115/03). Julie provided an example of how she facilitated in her classroom. "I'm just checking in to make sure they are doing their work, I'm not instructing them how to do it, it's not me centered, it's them centered and I'm just there to support." (Transcripts, 1115/03). This example also restated Julie's beliefthat instruction should be student-centered. Julie believed that it was her responsibility to have materials organized and clear expectations for students while doing inquiry lessons. "I think it's a training thing, too. You have to train your kids. When they walk out with the droppers there are immediate consequences." (Transcripts, 11/5/03). The following excerpt also indicated her roles for students while incorporating inquiry into the classroom Kids are on track working in groups, developing their own learning through structured activities, they have all the supplies they need and are ready to go, they are in an organized way so we don't have to go fmd it. It's all lined up and ready to go so all they have to do is play with stuff and figure out the ideas. (Transcripts, 1115/03) According to Julie, her role of a teacher was different since implementing inquiry-based lessons with her students. She believed that she was a facilitator and manager of materials and tools that students use. 77

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Constraints oflnquiry Teaching Julie identified numerous constraints that hinder inquiry teaching. Time and lack of resources prevented teachers from teaching inquiry-based lessons. Julie provided an example of how time affected her planning of inquiry lessons. Julie stated, "Time, it takes a lot of time, to build those units, how you want them. It will take three years to get the eighth grade curriculum down where I have all the units I want to teach." (Transcripts, 1115/03). Lack of effective resources added to the time constraint. Julie discussed her issue of fmding appropriate resources in the following passage. You have to take bits and pieces. My textbook, a physical science textbook, there was no definition of matter for what a molecule was, kind of a problem. A lot of times I'll go to a different source or write my own text. I'll pull stuff out of there, I'll pull stuff out of college textbooks and put it all together and dumb it down a little bit. (Transcripts, 11/5/03) Julie provided an example of difficulties she faced when resources were lacking and money was an issue. Resources to get the things you want as your building that curriculum. Like when I do roller coasters, I want the kids designing their roller coasters on Roller Coaster Tycoon, so if we ever get a computer lab again, it's $500 bucks to get software. We are going to have to pull that from science money .... it's hard to teach like this, you either spend a lot of money on your own buying the stuffyou want to buy, or you beg, steal and borrow, and learn to write grants or whatever. (Transcripts, 1115/03) During the interview, I asked Julie why she thought that teachers don't implement inquiry-based lessons. Her first response was, "I think it's a control issue 78

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for some teachers, they don't know how to give that control to the kids." (Transcripts, 11/5/03). Another reason that teachers may not implement inquiry was illustrated in the following statement: It can be really overwhelming and it's hard to manage ifyou have a lot of kids self-directing their learning and to keep with what they are doing. If you are trying to do that in the classroom, just supplies get to be overwhelming. If you don't have strong classroom discipline where you are okay with knowing there is chaos when you are doing this, it can just be daunting. I think other teachers don't do it because they don't know how to manage." (Transcripts, 1115/03) Julie identified various constraints when implementing inquiry into her classroom. Resources and time were at the forefront of her concerns but she found ways to overcome these issues. Classroom management could be an issue for teachers as well. Benefits oflnquiry Teaching Although constraints are apparent in many reform efforts, there were also a variety of benefits that Julie identified from implementing inquiry in her classroom. Julie believed that inquiry helps students remember what they learn and inquiry provides needed experiences for students. Julie stated, They remember what they learn, they don't just regurgitate it later, and it helps them have an experience, which I think in these schools, they don't have experiences. Mom and dad don't talk about science, or when the water bill was on the election, talk about it. Kids in my neighborhood, parents were out passing out fliers, so it's just giving our kids those experiences to take with them, which is the most valuable thing that these kids need. (Transcripts, 1115/03) 79

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Julie also has more personal reasons for implementing inquiry into her classroom. I'm never bored. I never hate my job because we do fun stuff, all the time. Even yesterday we had to do notes. I had so much fun giving notes, they had put together ... why ice just expands when it freezes, well, shouldn't it contract because molecules should be closer together? ... kids never come up with the same thing twice. (Transcripts, 1115/03) Benefits of implementing inquiry included providing students with science experiences and aiding students memory of what they are learning. Julie also believed that there are personal benefits when implementing inquiry. Implementation of Inquiry In order to understand how a teacher implements inquiry into the classroom, an extensive period of time observing classroom events was necessary. Twentythree days were spent observing Julie's classroom practice. As described earlier, Julie taught four science classes each day, two regular education classes and two groups of students in the IB program. I began data collection by observing all four classes, but after the first week of observing, realized that the Julie did not teach differently between the first and sixth hour classes (regular education) and also between the seventh and eighth hour classes (gifted). I made the decision to collect data during frrst hour and eighth hour in order to understand how Julie implemented 80

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inquiry with regular education students and gifted students. Demographics of each class were described in Table 3.7. This section begins by describing how Julie implemented an inquiry project in her classroom. I begin by describing implementation with regular education students. Then, I will describe how Julie implemented an inquiry project with gifted students within each major theme. This section will end by discussing differences within the implementation of inquiry in these classrooms. Description of the Inquiry Project: Teaching the Scientific Method Julie identified her method of teaching the scientific method as a unit that was inquiry-based and incorporated a student-initiated investigation as a culminating project. A calendar, as depicted in Table 4.1, was constructed to provide a sequence of events taking place during first and eighth hour classes. Major themes of implementing inquiry that emerged from the data included: a) assessment driven instruction, b) priority to background knowledge, c) students doing science, d) making connections, e) student-centered instruction and f) release of teacher control. This section will conclude by discussing differences between the two classes that Julie taught during this unit. Each of these themes will be described in the following section. 81

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Table 4.1 Calendar of Events for Julie 9/29 9/30 lOll 10/2 10/3 1 sl: Real life 1st: Great 1 sl: cancelled 1 sl: Teacher read lsi: Problem examples of Tomato Race 8th: SEMS packet ZOOM book. questions and variables investigation of investigations. Students make a hypotheses 8th:Investigations Students hypothesis 8th: Reading rubric and Great determine 8th Summaries 8th: cancelled for Road Map on Tomato Race variables and and creating a assembly Scientific Method investigation problem question po_ster 10/6 10/7 10/8 10/9 10/10 1 sl: Data charts 1 sl: Went over lsi: Making 1 sl: Jolly Rancher No school: andM&M projects. graphs investigation District investigation Reviewed 8th: Planning 8th: Volume vs In-service Day 8th: Creating graphing Volume vs Heart Heart Rate with rubrics for data 8th: Went over Rate Instruments charts and graphs projects investigation 10/13 10/14 10/15 10/16 10/17 No school: 1 sl: Jolly Rancher 1 sl: Writing lsi: Music vs No school: Teacher Work investigation conclusions Set Heart Rate Parent Day (data chart/graph) up Music vs investigation Conferences 8th: Constants Heart Rate (collecting data) with Music vs 8th:Environmenta 8thEnvironmental Heart Rate I Temperature vs Temperature vs investigation Ice Melting Ice Melting investigation investigation 10/20 10/21 10/22 10/23 10/24 lsi: Music 1 sl: Practice on lsi: Nail vs 1 sl and 8th: 151: Candle investigation Experimental Distance Writing Burning 8th: Temperature Error 8th: Scenarios and Conclusions investigation vs Ice 8thcatch up work Writing 8th: Candle investigation day. Conclusions Burninj;!; 10/27 10/28 10/29 10/30 10/31 lsi: Soap vs l s1 Finished l sl: Practice 1 51: Post test on No Science: Amount of Drops Penny inv.CSAP CSAP Scientific Method Halloween Field on a Penny practice 8th Note taking on Trip 8th: CSAP 8th: Cornell notes 8th: Post test on chemistry practice items on taking notes Scientific Method 11/3 11/4 1 sl: What does a I sl: Poster project scientist look expectations. like? Pretest on Students draw chemistry and write about 8th: Poster scientists 8th: Note taking expectations 82

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Assessment Driven Instruction. Julie began her scientific method unit by having students complete a pretest on the scientific method. After describing the student inquiry project to her class, she provided a graphic organizer to aid each student in the development oftheir project. Based on student results ofthe pretest she placed each individual in an appropriate level. All students were provided with a graphic organizer for organizing and designing their own investigation. Level one students were given an optional list of possible questions to use as a guide in designing their own inquiry project. Level one students were also provided with a modified graphic organizer which included sentence starters for particular concepts. For example, when students wrote a hypothesis for their experiment, they were required to state it in a particular fashion. Table 4.2 displays two examples of how Julie differentiated assignments for her level one students. Level two students developed their own question for investigation and level three students developed their own question for investigation but were required to create an investigation that could be submitted to NASA for potential replication on a space shuttle. 83

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Table 4.2 Examples of Student Differentiation with Inquiry Projects (DOC 12, 10/7 /03) Concept Level One Writing Problem Questions How does affect ? Writing a Hypothesis If then because Julie assessed student work daily and planned her instruction around assessment. For example, when students turned in their project plans for feedback, Julie noticed that the majority of students had difficulty understanding and brainstorming constants for their experiment. The next day, Julie developed a mini lesson, using the previous days investigation as an example. She also created a practice sheet for students to assess their understanding of experimental error (Field Notes 10/21103) Julie provided opportunities for students to assess each other. During a lesson on creating graphs, Julie began by using the previous days investigation data to guide the creation of a graph, questioning students and modeling the process. Then Julie had students conduct another investigation, collected data and used this data to create their own graph. Student volunteers displayed their graphs on an overhead and shared them with the class. The class provided positive feedback in addition to constructive feedback to each presenter. Julie also provided feedback to 84

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individual students and justified a grade for each graph. Students benefited from this combination of class evaluation and teacher evaluation (Field Notes 1 0/8/03). Julie completed the scientific method unit with an assessment as well. The fmal assessment was the same as the pre assessment. After speaking with Julie upon the completion and grading of the assessments, she indicated that the student's average score for the pretest was forty percent and the average score for the post-test was eighty percent. Julie also indicated that she was pleased with these results because so many students made such gains in their understanding (Informal conversation, 11/4/03). This conversation reminded me ofthe reoccurring theme of assessment in Julie's interview, which lead me to a better understanding how Julie's beliefs about assessment are truly implemented in her practice. Julie used various forms of assessment with her regular education students. The unit began and ended with assessment. Weekly assessment in the form of feedback was provided to all students regarding their individual investigation. Informal assessments in the form of teacher questioning, written practice, and verbal feedback were at the forefront of her instruction throughout the unit. Julie implemented these assessment procedures with her gifted class as well. One major difference that was apparent in her gifted class was that of collaborative student assessment. Collaborative student assessment included students working together to assess each other and provide feedback. Students in the gifted class 85

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were given rubrics at the beginning of the unit, outlining expectations of a lab report. Students graded each other's work using the rubric. Student's Background Knowledge. Julie gave priority to the background knowledge of her students. Julie used questioning strategies to access prior knowledge that her students possessed and she focused on providing accurate background information in a variety of ways. Julie began her unit by having her students perform an investigation, which she used as a model and an experience for her students. On the second day of the unit, the students conducted an investigation entitled The Great Tomato Race. This investigation was a structured inquiry in which Julie presented a problem question and guided the students through the experiment design and data gathering process (Field Notes 9/30/03). Julie used this experiment throughout the unit to elicit background knowledge and remind her students of important concepts while conducting an investigation. On one occasion, Julie had assessed her students understanding on the importance of constants while performing investigations and realized that her students were having difficulty with this concept. She used her students' background experience of conducting the Great Tomato Race to brainstorm with her student's potential constants and sources of error that may have occurred while performing the investigation (Field Notes I 0/3/03 ). Julie used this investigation to lead many clarifying moments and provide opportunities to teach important background information during this unit. 86

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Students Doing Science. Julie provided opportunities for students to engage in science. Students in Julie's classes conducted numerous investigations during this unit. Julie used these investigations as a means for students to "do science," primarily through designing, collecting data and modeling scientific concepts. Students conducted the Jolly Rancher Lab in which students investigated how many seconds it took for a small and large Jolly Rancher to dissolve. The investigation was presented by Julie, but students collected and compiled data collaboratively. Julie used this investigation as a model for analyzing data and writing conclusions (Field Notes 10/9/03, 10/13/03 & 10/14/03). After Julie covered basic scientific concepts using student-conducted investigations, she provided additional opportunities for students to practice the skills of conducting investigations. Julie provided a problem question for each investigation and students designed, conducted and analyzed the results of their investigation. Investigations were the primary method of providing opportunities to engage or do science. Classroom experiences incorporated numerous investigations but the culminating project for this unit was a student-initiated inquiry. Students were responsible for developing a problem question, hypothesizing, designing the investigation, gathering and analyzing the data, and writing conclusions. Students were required to display and present their project as a culminating activity. The student-initiated inquiry project was an independent exercise that students 87

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completed at home. Julie required weekly updates and provided feedback along the way. Making Connections. A major pattern that was relevant in Julie's teaching practice was helping students make connections with previous knowledge. On one occasion, Julie used a picture book entitled ZOOM. in order to help students understand the role oftheir background knowledge while hypothesizing about investigation outcomes. She began by having students look at the picture she provided, and write a statement about what the picture was displaying. Students also had to justify "why" they believed the way they did. Students shared their ideas with the class and Julie emphasized the importance of explaining "why" for each example. The pattern continued of showing a picture, students writing their thoughts and justifying their reasons and sharing of ideas with the class. At the conclusion of the lesson, Julie explained her purpose for incorporating this book into her instruction. The whole point of reading this book is, you guys always have background knowledge on something. Even when you haven't seen anything, else, you could make a guess about why things are or what things happen. When you do an experiment, the hypothesis is just for you to think about, What do I think is going to happen? What do I already know about this that could make me guess something else? (Transcripts, 10/2/03) Julie helped students make connections through the integration of other content areas. The previous example provided a glimpse ofhow Julie incorporated literacy into her instruction. Julie also incorporated mathematics into her instruction 88

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in order to aid students in connecting to prior knowledge. When Julie was teaching an introductory lesson on identifying independent and dependent variables, Julie helped students make connections to the use of variables in math. The following excerpt provides an example of how Julie integrated other content classes into her practice. J: In an experiment, we have what are called variables, where have you heard the word variable before? S: Last year when we did a lab. J: Okay, when you did a lab. How about in math? Did you talk about variables in math? S:yeah J: How many of you have seen an equation like this? (Julie writes a mathematical equation on the board) Have you seen that before? What's this called? S: A variable J: A variable in math when you've talked about it before, has meant when you can put a certain value on a number or change that number, the letter represents any number you want it to. Well, in science, variables are things that are different, so when I did the paper clip and keys. What did I do differently the first time I did the experiment? S: You didn't drop them the same. J: I didn't drop them the same. Right. S: The independent variable J: Good job, so in science we have two types of variables that we need to talk about. Before we start to do an experiment, we have to understand what the two variables are going to be. The first kind is the independent variable. (Transcripts, 9/29/03) This excerpt is a clear example of how Julie helped students make connections through integrating mathematics content. It also illustrates how she provided experiences for students to do science and tie student learning to prior knowledge and experiences. 89

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Student Centered Instruction. Student needs and student choices heavily influenced Julie's implementation of inquiry in her classroom. As previously discussed, Julie began by assessing her students and developing classroom instruction based on her students academic needs. Julie also presented lessons that were motivating and interesting to adolescents. On one occasion, Julie presented a few ideas to the class regarding a new investigation that could test how the volume of music affects a person's heart rate. Students worked collaboratively to design the investigation, organize materials needed and conduct the investigation. Students made decisions about the type of music, which motivated and engaged them throughout the process (Field Notes 10/15/03). The student-initiated investigation was completely student-centered and driven. Julie challenged students to investigate their own problem and design an investigation that would answer their question. When students had difficulty coming up with questions, Julie would ask them guiding questions to determine their interests. One student in particular was able to come up with an investigation in which he determined the best way to throw a football (Field Notes 1 0/8/03). Release of Teacher Control. A fmal pattern that was evident in Julie's implementation of inquiry focused on how she released control over classroom decisions throughout the unit. A table of core events that displays classroom experiences during her first hour class and the independent project expectations is 90

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shown in Table 4.3. Events are sequenced and indicated a teacher directed approach or a student directed approach during implementation. Julie's pattern of assessing, determining and building background knowledge, doing investigations and making connections is depicted in Figure 4.1. As Julie presented material, she built new concepts through questioning and connections and released control and guidance from previous concepts. She continued with this cycle until all concepts were covered and students were directing their own learning and investigations. Students then were provided opportunities to practice through classroom experiences and independent investigations. Julie concluded her unit in the same manner as she started, through assessment. 91

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Table 4.3 Science EXPeriences During Julie's First Hour Class Classroom Experiences for First Hour Class Independent Experiences Assessment Building Background Knowledge through Questioning and Connecting to Prior Knowledge Students Experience a teacher directed investigation Problem Question (teacher directed/student motivated) Develop the problem question, Writing Hypothesis through literacy strategies and hypothesis, constants, and practice with authentic examples controls for independent Teacher directed/modeled investigation (m&m) investigation (student directed) Problem Question (teacher directed/student motivated) Writing Hypothesis (student directed) (teacher feedback) Data Gathering (teacher modeled) Students Experience a teacher directed investigation Practice Data Gathering (student generated data) Graphing Data (student data/teacher guided) Design and conduct Students Experience a teacher directed investigation independent investigation. (J oily Rancher) Data gathering and graphing for Problem question (teacher directed/student motivated) independent investigation Writing Hypothesis (student directed) (student directed) Data Gathering (collaborative) Graphing Data (student directed) (teacher feedback) Writing Conclusions: Interpreting/ Analyzing/ Applying (teacher modeled) Teacher generated ideas/class choice of investigation Student designed investigation Writing Conclusions (student directed) Writing Conclusions for Experimental Error (teacher guidance) independent investigation Problem Question (teacher generated) (nails) (student directed) Designed, data gathering, graphing, conclusions (student pairs) Problem Question (teacher generated) (candle) Create posters of independent Designed, data gathering, graphing, conclusions (student pairs) investigation (student directed) Problem Question (teacher generated) (soap/penny) Designed, data gathering, graphing, conclusions (student pairs) Poster Presentations Review for assessment Assessment (student directed) Poster expectations for independent investigations 92

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Figure 4.1 Julie's Teaching Cycle for the Scientific Method Assess Background knowledge (questioning/connections) Do Science Investigation Practice old concepts (student directed) Make connections Build on new concept (teacher guidance w/questioning/connections) Practice (go back) until concepts are covered and everything is student directed. Practice, Practice, Practice Assess Differences Between Classes There were a few differences in Julie's implementation of inquiry between the two classes. During her eighth hour class, students were provided with more scientifically based examples of investigations. For instance, during the introductory lesson on the scientific method, Julie gave students a packet of examples of investigations that had been selected to be flown and conducted on a space mission (Field notes, 1 0/1103). These examples were written using a higher level oftechnicallanguage and scientific understanding as compared to the examples used with the regular education students. A second difference between the two classes was that of assessment. Although Julie implemented the same assessment techniques as those implemented with her first hour class, she also required students to create rubrics and evaluate each others work in a variety of ways. During a lesson regarding data charts and 93

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graphs, Julie had students create a rubric that could be used to assess other student's data charts and graphs, as compared to her lesson with the first hour class in which she used more guidance and questioning to teach her students about these concepts (Field Notes 1 0/6/03). Julie also released control of investigations in a quicker manner and provided more opportunities for students to design their own investigations with her eighth hour class. Table 4.4 displays the eighth hour classroom experiences in relation to the independent investigation during the same course of time as was depicted in Table 4.3. 94

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Table 4.4 Science Experiences During Julie's Eighth Hour Class Independent Experiences Classroom Experiences Assessment Prior Knowledge through Literacy and Develop the problem question, Real Life Examples hypothesis, constants, and controls Teacher directed investigation. for independent investigation Use of rubric for student assessment (student directed) Real Life Experiments offthe Internet (teacher directed) (teacher feedback) Communicating and Sharing Experiments (student directed) Student Evaluation with Collaboration (student directed) Design and conduct independent Creating a Rubric for Data charts and investigation. Data gathering and Graphs (student directed) graphing for independent Teacher generated ideas/class choice of investigation investigation (music) (student directed) Student designed investigation Writing Conclusions (teacher directed) (teacher feedback) Experimental Error (teacher Teacher generated ideas/class choice of investigation (ice) Student designed investigation Writing Conclusions (teacher directed) Writing Conclusions for Teacher generated ideas/class choice of independent investigation investigation (candle) (student directed) Student designed investigation Writing Conclusions (student directed) Review for assessment Assessment Create posters of independent Use of literacy to build background investigation knowledge on next unit (Cornell notes) (student directed) Poster Presentations (student directed) 95

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Upon reviewing Julie's pattern of teaching as depicted in Figure 4.1, the same patterns existed in Julie's implementation of inquiry with both groups of students. The major difference was only that of Julie's release of control. Both groups of students were provided with the same experiences, but one group moved at a faster pace. Less teacher direction was needed and thus more student-directed experiences were offered. Do Practice and Beliefs Match? The final question of this study was determining if Julie's teaching practice and Julie's reported beliefs match. In other words, does Julie practice what she preaches? Table 4. 5 depicts Julie's self-reported beliefs and observed practice, and shows that Julie did practice as she believed. The main themes of Julie's beliefs consisted of: a) using big ideas and guiding questions, b) students learn science by doing science, c) students need to make connections, d) collaboration is an important aspect of inquiry teaching, e) developing thinking skills and confidence in students and f) assessment should drive instructional decisions. These themes appeared regularly in Julie's practice in a variety of ways. 96

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Table 4.5 Julie's Beliefs and Practice Reported Beliefs Observed Practice Using Big Ideas and Guiding Lesson plans indicated a focus on big ideas Questions in Unit Design Bulletin board displayed big ideas of science Guiding questions are discussed during lessons Students Learn by Doing Science Investigations were a primary focus Hands on activities were relevant to learning A variety of materials and tools were available Making Connections through: Integration of mathematics and literacy concepts integration of content was apparent areas triggering and developing Attention to students prior knowledge and background knowledge, misconceptions Teacher provided accurate background information when necessary fostering student centered Students took responsibility for designing instruction, investigations Assignments were differentiated for students based on abilities and understandings Investigations were relevant to students lives Student choices were apparent throughout lessons providing opportunities Students evaluated each others work for communication Students shared new understandings in large group discussions and with partner pairs Students communicated their understandings through written work, poster displays and gallery walks Collaboration and teamwork are Group work was used to conduct investigations important skills for students Students worked in pairs to design investigations Students provided feedback to classmates regarding learning Goals for Students include: High level questioning strategies were used thinking skills Students analyzed data Students wrote conclusions for lab reports building confidence Teacher provided positive feedback to students Teacher provided structure and resources to promote student success Assessment drives instructional Pre tests drive instructional decisions decisions Informal assessment included daily feedback, written and oral 97

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Summary This case study investigated the background experiences, the self-reported beliefs and the observed practice of one teacher during an inquiry-based science unit. For this individual, background experiences were tied directly to major beliefs that the teacher identified. This teacher's beliefs were in turn directly tied to the observed classroom practice. Table 4.6 displays connections among these three aspects in order to look at the entire picture of Julie. The primary experiences that Julie identified as influencing her practice included opportunities to "do" science through collaboration. making connections and project-based learning. These experiences were fostered throughout her middle school, high school and undergraduate program and spanned consistently over a period of nine years. Upon entering the Teacher-In-Residence program for teacher training, Julie's experiences led her to beliefs encompassing the importance of "doing science." Throughout her teacher education training, Julie was provided a strong support system and specific training giving her "permission" to practice according to her beliefs. Within this same time period, Julie was taking teacher education courses that planted in her mind, the importance of planning instruction based on big ideas and guiding questions and the role of assessment. These experiences reinforced her beliefs and school expectations allowed her to practice teaching as she believed. 98

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Table 4.6 Integration of Julie's Experiences, Beliefs and Practice Experiences Beliefs Practice TIR Big Ideas/Guiding Planning IB Questions Middle school Background knowledge High school (questioning/connections) Undergraduate Learning by Doing Doing science Practice old concepts (Student directed) Middle school Make connections High school Build on new concept Undergraduate Connections Practice until student TIRIIB directed High School Practice, practice, practice Undergrad Collaboration TIRIIB Assessment Assess 99

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CHAPTER FIVE CASE STUDY OF ANGELA: THE RADIUS PROJECT Introduction This chapter is the second case study of selected middle school inquirybased classrooms. The chapter will begin with a description ofthe teacher and how background experiences influenced inquiry teaching. The next section will address teacher beliefs about inquiry and how Angela described characteristics of inquiry. The chapter will continue by describing the implementation of inquiry and a brief discussion of similarities and differences among Angela's beliefs and teaching practice of inquiry. The chapter will conclude by summarizing Angela's background experiences, beliefs and practice. Description of Angela Angela had been teaching seventh grade for six years. She began her career as a seventh and eighth grade educator, teaching math, on a four-person team. She became a science educator during her second year of teaching and had been teaching seventh grade science ever since. Angela taught four science classes every day and one class of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). Each class 100

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consisted of general population students. Demographics for one class of general education students were depicted in Table 3.7. Background Experience and Inquiry As indicated in the conceptual framework guiding this study, background experiences of individuals play a role in teaching practice. Major themes emerged relating Angela's background experiences and relevance to inquiry teaching practice. Childhood family experiences and her middle school and high school science teachers provided opportunities to do authentic science. Angela's undergraduate work in elementary education, pre-service and in-service teaching experience as well as, her coursework toward her masters degree also influenced her thoughts regarding inquiry teaching. An Expectation of Science Angela's childhood and family experiences played a major role in her development of a science background. Angela recalled her parent's expectations as she was growing up. "They encouraged us to focus on science because that's where we were going to be the most successful. It was just something I knew I should just do." (Transcripts, 1117/03) My passion for science came in a round about way because my parents. My dad was a physical chemist, my mom was a med tech, 101

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and we did stuff. We went to museums ... those were some ofthe greatest experiences. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Angela's family also provided her with opportunities to play with science concepts. I could ask my dad, "Dad why does this work?'' and he would be able to tell me, ... I could almost guarantee ninety-nine percent of the time he knew how stuff worked. He encouraged me. I remember building stuff in the woodshop in our basement, just building stuff, hammering things together and building stuff. (Transcripts, 1117/03) This expectation of doing science continued as Angela began formal academic schooling, in particular in her elementary experiences. She described the role her parents played during her elementary years. My parents were very involved in my brother and my education. They would scope out who the good teachers were ... my parents would ask the neighbors ... and would go in and say, "This is who we want Angela to have," so I always had really strong science and math teachers. (Transcripts, 1117/03) This expectation led to opportunities for doing science, which were prevalent throughout Angela's academic educational experiences. OJmortunities for Doing Authentic Science Angela described her sixth grade teacher as her "first hard core science teacher." (Transcripts, 1117/03). This teacher provided opportunities for Angela to do authentic science and related instruction to real life examples. 102

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... she took an empty fish bottle and put cotton balls in it and then she sealed it, and then she put a cigarette on top. She lit it and she pumped it, like a lung, and the tar fell onto the cotton. It was the coolest thing ever, I remember taking little bits of steak and putting meat tenderizer on it setting out on the window sill and seeing how it decayed, and the other one didn't so I went home and told my parents never to use meat tenderizer because it rotted out the meat. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Middle school and high school experiences also influenced Angela's involvement in science. She described her seventh and eighth grade science and math teachers as "incredible women." Angela recalled these years of her academic school as "doing activities" and having teachers that were "fired up about stuff." (Transcripts, 1117/03) Angela spoke passionately about her Advanced Placement Biology class that she took during her high school education. I had an incredible AP biology class, ... first semester we focused on rats, we did everything to do with dissecting rats, ... we made these books ofthe digestive system and had to diagram it, too .... we had a tv and she had a little camera where she could focus in on the dissection table, she was dissecting them and we were watching and thought it was the coolest thing. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Angela not only had an opportunity to do authentic science throughout this class, but also learned the importance of the technology aspect of this project. She recalled additional opportunities to do authentic science during this class. We did a river study in partnership with DOW chemical. We went out every Wednesday and surveyed ... everyone had their own jobs ... I think I was in the nitrates group. We had a fecal content group, and one day the fecal content was extraordinarily high, extremely high, so we called into the waste treatment plant ... It was getting 103

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known in the community that we did this and it turned out that the waste water treatment plant had let go of more fecal content than normal and they were trying to keep it hush, hush. Because we called them up, they sent out a press release in the paper the next day, so we really felt like we were doing good things. We were doing titration's and ... we ran graphs. (Transcripts, 1117/03) This experience included more than just "doing" science. As Angela continued to describe the project she became enthusiastic as she recalled the culminating event, a presentation to the community. I remember being there, we did this big presentation for the community, over at DOW chemical company and we had a Power Point and I was in charge of the slide show and putting music to it. So I used the song Pressure from Billy Joel and there were all these pictures of us doing all our stuff and we generated zillions of graphs ... I ended up being one of the me's for that too, and I remember spending hours and hours on weekends at school. working on graphs and the presentation and it was all real world stuff. (Transcripts, 1117/03) The opportunities for doing science influenced Angela as she began her undergraduate work as a chemistry/biology double major. Within two semesters, Angela realized that working in a secluded lab was not what she desired to do. After consideration of her personal strengths she decided to change her major to elementary education. 104

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Teacher Education Program Expectations Angela's strong science background helped her as she pursued her teaching career. She recalled a science methods class that was inquiry-based and standards driven. We heard about standards constantly. It was standards-based and very inquiry-based and I was very overwhelmed because I would look at everything she gave us and I would think, "How am I going to come up with these ideas?'' (Transcripts, 11/7/03) During her last year of undergraduate work, Angela had a clinical experience in an eighth grade science and mathematics classroom. This opportunity reinforced her experiences of doing science. He really showed me, he had these great labs that weren't really intensive, but the kids loved them, running around and doing this or that. He would play games with the kids, he had this awesome quiz game where you would press the button and the light would come on and buzz. It was awesome and the kids loved it, he was really well liked by the kids. (Transcripts, 11/7/03) In addition to doing science, Angela learned the value of playing games with students and enjoying students. Angela also recalled how this teacher was well liked by his students. This was an important aspect of Angela's current teaching, which will be discussed in further detail in the implementation section of this chapter. Angela also learned classroom management strategies that were successful for her clinical teacher. Probably the biggest thing I learned through student teaching is that my supervising teacher said, "Any way you can mix up the environment, the more time you put the overhead projector screen up 105

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and down and the more times you turn on and off the lights, if you change the environment enough, they'll pay attention." (Transcripts, 1117/03) Teaching Experiences and School Expectations Angela began her career teaching seventh and eighth grade math. The following excerpt depicts how Angela described her first year of teaching. I always made up worksheets. I always made up games. I always made up stuff based on what the book was. We did some bookwork but I didn't like doing it or I felt like I wasn't a really teacher unless I made up stuff. (Transcripts, 1117/03) She described her first two years as stressful, related to health problems and challenging students. She identified a turning point in her teaching, two years ago, when she began to feel more confident in her teaching. First off, I got my confidence up and I was a totally different person. When I started focusing more on those awesome kids, I think my teaching started to change. Two years ago, I had the best kids I'd ever had, they weren't the smartest, but they were the nicest kids to ever come through the school. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Angela also identified that her teaching changed during that year due to the students' willingness and receptiveness to learning. She incorporated more labs and activities into her practice, which led to excitement with the students and parents. As a result, her confidence level was boosted. Throughout these first years of teaching, school expectations became a strong influence on Angela's teaching. At Rocky Mountain Middle School, as in 106

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many other schools, teachers were expected to incorporate literacy instruction into their science content. Angela took district professional development classes, which focused on incorporating reading and writing into her classroom practice. Her elementary teaching background made this focus much easier to practice. Other district classes that influenced Angela, incorporated technology and problem-based learning into her classroom. These classes led to a decision to pursue a masters degree in Information and Learning Technologies. Angela described the influence of her graduate level courses on her practice. She learned how to use technology as a tool for teaching and began integrating it into her practice. I think technology has certainly changed. I would love to take my kids to the computer lab more often, ... have them do Power Point presentations but they can't handle it. I think my technology classes have changed the most, because I use a ton of technology as far as, I'm moving toward Power Points, those two minute Power Points. Kids are fired up and they are actually watching it because it's me still talking but it's something different. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Angela's previous student teaching experience and "changing the environment" was reinforced through her technology classes. Personal Leaning Style and Perceptions A pattern that emerged throughout the data was the influence of Angela's 107

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personal learning style and the influence of others' perceptions on her teaching. She made the following statements regarding her own perceptions and beliefs about how she learns. I am a very visual person, kids will read things to me, but I have to read it. I have to read it, I have to see it, I have to do it. In college and in high school. I would go home and recopy my notes. I heard it I would write it down ... I'd have my eight colors of sharpies out and go through and color code all my notes. I would just learn better that way. So that's one thing I consciously do, is I try and give all different kinds of learning styles, it's on the overhead, we'll talk about it, color code it, so I try and hit everything. (Transcripts, 1117/03) I've always been a little bit of a control freak. I don't like to copy other people's ideas. I'll take them and change them, but I like to make them mine. I just feel I shouldn't do something the exact same way someone else did, because it's not going to work in my situation. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Angela went on to elaborate and provide an example of how this looked in her classroom. I think I spend a lot more time recreating stuff and I need to let some of that go. I know as a teacher I am very behavioral. I like to keep control. If there's not an overhead up they (students) freak out, ... setting them up and getting them going on all the procedures. Once they get set up it's like a breeze, but during the first trimester of school. it's like a training, ... there's always something more I can do but I'm a better teacher for the most part. (Transcripts, 1117/03) This excerpt illustrated how organization was an important tool for student success in Angela's perspective. Angela also struggled with how others perceived her as a teacher. I know I've gone to the gym at like a reasonable hour instead of 4:30 in the morning like I normally do. I'm terrified that a parent is gong 108

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to see me. I'm terrified to go to Starbucks at 1 :00 when a parent can see me. I have this great sense of responsibility ... to my job, my parents, to my students, to my principal. (Transcripts, 1117/03). A sense of responsibility was a key personal component of her teaching. She was very dedicated to her school and her students. A discussion of the influence of her sense of responsibility on her classroom practice will be presented in further detail later in the chapter. Background experiences shape and influence what individuals believe about teaching and learning. Angela's background experiences consisted of family expectations and influences in science and opportunities for doing science throughout her academic schooling. Angela's teacher education program and her student teaching experience influenced her beliefs about teaching. As Angela began teaching, experiences and expectations of the school allowed her to build and shape her teaching. Angela's kinesthetic and organizational learning styles also played a role in her teaching. Self-Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry One of the major questions driving this study involved understanding teacher reported beliefs regarding inquiry. Patterns emerged within the data regarding Angela's beliefs about inquiry. This section will describe these patterns, beginning with Angela's definition and characteristics of inquiry. Angela's beliefs 109

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regarding her goals for students, roles for teachers, and constraints regarding inquiry will also be described. Characteristics of Inquiry Angela's defmition of science indicated a broader view of the world and her definition of inquiry indicated problem solving as an approach to teaching. Angela believed that, "Science is an explanation of how the world works." (Transcripts, 11/7/03). Angela defined inquiry as, "Any way I can get the kids to problem solve, even if it's through a brainteaser, I try and ask open ended questions ... encourage those great discussions." (Transcripts, 9/30/03). During the second interview Angela elaborated on how inquiry looked in her classroom and the origin of her beliefs within her own life experiences. It (inquiry) is very guided inquiry for me in seventh grade. I don't want them to sit there and give up because I remember as a kid we would have these very open ended things and I would give up because it was too big and it was to abstract and I needed it to be more concrete. So I focus them a little bit more. I ask them leading questions, a little more set up and guided than it is completely open ended. (Transcripts, 11/7/03) There were numerous patterns that emerged regarding Angela's beliefs about characteristics of inquiry. Angela believed that science teaching should: a) hook students on science, b) focus on student-centered instruction, c) integrate literacy, d) foster organization and e) use resources such as experts and technology. 110

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Hooking Students on Science. Angela believed that hooking kids on science was an important aspect ofher teaching. She described the importance of fostering excitement and enthusiasm about science in her classroom. During one interview she described this as one of her major goals. Basically, what I want my kids to come out of my class with, they could hate science, they could dislike me, as long as they take another science class. Maybe it's not my science class they dislike, maybe they dislike earthquakes, not keyed up about weather, but they could handle it, ... it was tolerable, ... they had a little bit of fun while they were doing it, ... they didn't mind showing up to my class everyday, that's okay. I remember showing up to my classes, I didn't always want to be there. Science is cool but I don't really like this stuff, maybe I'll like something else. That's kind ofwhat I got out of my teachers. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Angela described an example how she fostered excitement into her classroom using the Rainbow Lab. She described the lab as a hands-on investigation in which students use three colors of water and mix the solutions together in test tubes. If the students performed the investigation correctly, they would have a rainbow at the end and each test tube will have the same amount of liquid (Field Notes 2/12/04). Angela believed that getting kids "fired up" about science was an important aspect of teaching. She used an example of her unit on rocks as a topic that students may not be excited about, but by tying concepts to earthquakes and volcanoes, she can get kids hooked on the topic and excited about learning. 111

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Angela also described the importance of "students doing science" and has focused to "find(ing) a project or find a lab or a demonstration before giving content." One example of students doing science is called the ''paper bag lab." Angela put materials in a paper bag and gave the students three conclusion questions. Angela described the Air Has Weight Lab. Students are given two balloons, a ruler and string. Students blow up one balloon and tape it to one side of the ruler and tape the other balloon to the other side of the ruler at the same distance. Students attach the string to the top of the ruler so that it hangs. Students can then "see" that air has weight from their model (Field Notes 2/12/04). Student Centered Instruction. Angela stated her beliefs about studentcentered instruction through modification of assignments, planning lessons that incorporate different learning styles, promoting organization and providing real life examples. In the following illustrations, Angela reflected on her personal struggles when learning and how she modified taking tests for her students. I panic when I take test. I remember being in anatomy and physiology, and I panicked. We did a practical of the skeletal system and I froze. I remember stuff ifl experience it but pure memorization, I forget it the second I take the test, so I try and keep that in mind for the kids. So on tests, big tests, I let them use little note cards and they can be like 4 x 4, and they can write as much as they want on there. They get on the computer and you can't even see them, (it's small) but the point is they are studying while they are making it and they don't even realize they are. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Angela also stated that she focuses on different learning styles when planning her lessons. She stated, ... it's on the overhead, we'll talk about it, and 112

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color code it. So I try and hit everything that I can to figure out how the kids need to learn it and how they'll do best." (Transcripts, 1117 /03). These statements illustrated how Angela focused on her students in order for them to be successful in her classroom. Angela believed that in order for students to be successful and excited about learning, she should be able to provide relevant, real life examples that relate to her students own lives. The following excerpt illustrated Angela's belief that she needs to focus on student-centered instruction. I really think the kids can identify with it then you can give examples. It's good for whatever you teach to be able to relate it to their world and their environment. I just think in your own little way it just shows you care about them. ... you've got to be up with what's current with the kids ... watch MTV and the Osbournes or walk into an Abercrombie store ... know the cool radio stations and listening to them. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Organization. Angela believed that organization is an important aspect of inquiry teaching. She identified a variety of strategies to assist students in developing their own organizational skills such as keeping notebooks of assignments and grades in order to promote student success. Angela also stated her beliefs about inquiry as an "organized thought process" and described how this ties to the work of scientists in a real world situation. It (inquiry) is just a format, an organized way to getting to some sort of a solution to a problem, were you have answers to a potential solution. It's not like you go into a research lab and they (scientists) have a hypothesis, they (scientists) have a problem and they have to solve it. (Transcripts, 1117/03) 113

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Real World. An aspect of incorporating real world into her classroom was through relating student's experiences as examples. Angela used the background of her students as a forum for instruction. I try to relate it to real life, kids have traveled to so many places, .. .it gives me kind of an edge. I don't have to go into too much detail, because they are ... when I went to Hawaii when I was 10 ... (Transcripts, 11/7/03) Angela believed that most ofher labs "touch real world stuff." This enables students to "try" because of the excitement and motivation of the students, and "analyze what happens." An example of a real word lab was described in the following excerpt. ... for two weeks we fly paper airplanes and write a lab report and I've had kids write the most amazing conclusions to, "Is your hypothesis proven and why?" and "What sources of error do you have?" ... you only get a couple a year that really take it and make you look at it in a totally different way. Those are the greatest ... when they come in and say "I want to do more," that is the most satisfying. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Angela had strong beliefs that her instruction should center on student learning and success. Understanding the lives of her students and fostering organization through her instruction was at the forefront of her beliefs. Real world examples assisted in fostering excitement in science. How this played out in Angela's practice will be described in the implementation section of the chapter. Integration of Literacy. One theme that emerged in the interview with Angela was that of integration and in particular the integration of literacy into her 114

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science class. Angela believed that incorporating literacy strategies such as using main ideas, vocabulary and drawing pictures helps students to learn the material (Transcripts, 11/7/03). Angela spoke passionately about an integrated unit that she and a social studies teacher collaborated on developing. He talked about climate and populations and how they are affected by weather and I teach weather. So we did a cross curricular project where I did a research paper to support language arts on different types of natural disasters and he had the kids write a newspaper article based on a specific natural disaster. So if a kid had hurricanes, they would talk about all the mechanics of a hurricane and it evolved into this pretty impressive research paper and rubric. (Transcripts, 11/7/03) Using Resources. Angela believed that incorporating resources was an important aspect of her teaching. Using experts and promoting the use of technology were resources that Angela believed could be used to foster inquiry. Angela believed that using experts, such as parents and scientists, was an important aspect of teaching inquiry. She described examples of incorporating experts into her classroom in the following excerpt. I've had parents come in and talk about their job, ... I had a parent come in one year who was a hydrologist and talked about the water cycle, ... I was lucky enough to have Kathy Sabine (a meteorologist) come in, ... I've had my dad (a chemist) and my brother (a materials engineer) come in because I think that the real world piece is important. (Transcripts, 11/7/03) This example also illustrates Angela's belief of tying learning to real world events and people, and promoting careers related science. 115

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The use of technology was evident in Angela's beliefs about teaching science. Angela believed that technology could be used as a resource for her own lesson designs and as a resource for her students' own learning. She justified the use of technology because, "Kids are going to use that the rest of their lives." (Transcripts, 1117/03). This statement reaffirmed her beliefofpromoting student success in the real world. Angela believed that technology was an important tool when planning lessons and for her students. She stated, "I would love for them (students) to think about going on the Internet and using it (technology) or going to Google and doing research." (Transcripts, 1117/03) The following section describes Angela's beliefs about inquiry teaching. Major themes that emerged included her goals for students, the teacher's role, and constraints of inquiry teaching. Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry A major research question guiding this study included self-reported teacher beliefs about inquiry teaching. The previous sections described Angela's beliefs about characteristics of inquiry. This section of the chapter will describe additional beliefs that Angela stated as influencing inquiry teaching in her classroom. The predominant themes described in this section include: a) Angela's major goals for 116

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students, b) the teacher role while implementing inquiry, c) constraints and d) benefits for teaching inquiry. Major Goals for Students Angela stated many goals for students, which included students becoming scientists and students enjoying science. Angela stated her major goals for students in the following passage. My ultimate goal is that they actually become scientists. I want them to be engaged in life science eventually no matter what area they choose, they want to be in science. Even if they don't like science, they don't want to be scientist at least they come out it at the other end and say science is pretty cool ... (Transcripts, 11/7/03) Teacher's Role Angela believed that organization was an important tool for students and it is the teachers' responsibility to foster organization in the classroom. Angela reflected upon her first years of teaching science and the importance of being an organized teacher. I used to have all my stuff for a lab in one area and she (my principal) said, "Why don't you split it up?'' So, I had two sides to the room ... each area had a station and they could go to their station, ... get their stuff. It worked awesome, it was the greatest thing ever. That's why I have all these paper towels, so each station has five rolls of paper towels. You've got to (be organized) as a science teacher. It makes it smoother, saves more time, kids are not all bunched up in one area and they can get back to work. (Transcripts, 11/7/03) 117

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Angela also described her role as a questioner and a facilitator in the classroom. My role is to ask questions. I'm not answering questions. I think they (students) feel better when I tell them, "Yea there is an answer but I'm not telling you." They struggle with it, they get angry, grit their teeth and then they go back. I think it (my role) is really just to support them ... "You are doing the right thing, you're on the right track or you may want to take this in a different way." (Transcripts, 1117/03) Constraints oflnquiry Teaching Angela identified many constraints while incorporating inquiry into the classroom. Time, student abilities, school expectations and district expectations hinder her ability to implement inquiry. Angela made the following statement about inquiry, ... a lot of work. It all comes back to time for me, how to balance my time. I'm not one ofthose people that can only go halfway on anything. .. I'm going to put my all into it." (Transcripts, 1117/03). This statement supported Angela's personal beliefs about herself and her commitment to her students. Angela also stated that time constraints keep her from planning and implementing inquiry in an effective way. You need to have time to create the curriculum you want, time to sit down and figure out the questions, and time to just, come in with no plan and just say, "I want to talk about this, what questions do you have about this?'' (Transcripts, 1117/03) 118

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In addition to time constraints when implementing inquiry into the classroom Angela identified school and district expectations as influencing inquirybased practice. School and District Expectations. Angela described constraints related to her school and district expectations. In her building the science department struggled with the large amounts of curriculum that needed to be covered. The following excerpt described the issues that this school faced and how she dealt with this issue. That's our big question for our department. Is it (the curriculum) an inch deep and a mile wide or a mile deep and an inch wide? Do you go into more depth or into breadth? I try to do a bit of both. I get shorter and shorter every year, because I find more labs. (Transcripts, 1117/03) Promoting Student Success. As stated earlier, Angela believed that her role was to foster student success. Angela stated that science may not be a comfortable subject for students as compared to other subjects. She emphasized this belief in the following passage. They (students) don't want to be wrong and it's hard for them. Math is either right or wrong, language arts, verb or it's not a verb, social studies, it happened or it didn't happen, science is very gray, it's not black or white and I think it's hard for kids. They don't like it when there's not an answer, they don't like it when it hasn't been proven yet. Why hasn't it been proven yet? ... the theory of relativity has been out there long enough it should have been proven by now. They don't like the unknown, they don't like the fact there isn't an answer in the back ofthe book. (Transcripts, 11/7/03) 119

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Personal Constraints. Angela identified many constraints for teachers during the interview. Lack of confidence regarding science content and overcoming that feeling was a personal constraint that she learned as she began teaching. I think that a lot of teachers don't like not knowing stuff, you have to be able to be confident and say "You know what, I have no idea" but I'll stop and say, "I don't know but I'll look it up" and model for them. I think it's really uncomfortable for teachers. I want to be prepared to a point but the first time going through the curriculum, I was terrified. (Transcripts, 1117/ 03) Benefits The primary benefit that Angela identified for implementing inquiry was the role of inquiry in real world events. Angela's primary goal for students was for students to become scientists. Fostering and promoting the skills of scientists was an important belief and benefit for Angela. Although Angela identified that time, school and district expectations and personal constraints influenced inquiry teaching, she did promote inquiry within her classroom practice. The following section will describe how Angela implemented inquiry into her teaching practice. 120

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Implementation oflnquiry In order to understand how a teacher implemented inquiry into the classroom, an extensive period of time observing classroom events was necessary. Thirty days were spent observing Angela's classroom practice. As described earlier, Angela taught four science classes each day, all regular education students. Due to scheduling and time issues, one class was chosen for observation and data collection. 1bis section begins by describing how Angela implemented one unit of instruction focusing on inquiry in her classroom. I begin by describing implementation of a unit that focused on the scientific method. The unit began with introducing the scientific method then, Angela implemented the Radius Project, a pilot project in conjunction with the Denver Museum ofNature and Science. At the end of the unit students practiced using the scientific method through writing a formal lab report and conducting the Airplane Lab. Description of the Inquiry Project: The Radius: Investigating and Understanding Research Project When first meeting with Angela, she described her plan for teaching students the scientific method. It began with developing background information of the scientific method and continued with the implementation of the Radius Project, a curriculum she was piloting that was inquiry-based and focused on teaching the scientific method. 1bis project was in conjunction with the Denver Museum of 121

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Nature and Science and encompassed a three-week period of time. Angela described the project in a letter that was sent to parents at the beginning of the project. The project was designed to allow middle school students the opportunity to work directly with museum scientists in the study of the ancient rainforests and dinosaurs buried millions of years ago below Denver's buildings and backyards. The project focuses on how scientists use the methods of scientific inquiry to solve questions, and how scientific discoveries often lead to more questions. (Document 1, 10/10/03) The Radius Project included fourteen lessons, two videos, a guest speaker and presentation from the museum and culminated in a live data-cast with a museum paleontologist. Angela had students apply their knowledge of the scientific method in a long-term project called the Airplane Lab. A calendar, as depicted in Table 5.1, was constructed to provide a sequence of events taking place during this project. 122

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Table 5.1 Calendar of Events for Angela 10/13 10/14 10115 10/16 10/17 Pretest on Scientific Tale ofthe Chips Ahoy Scientific Scientific Method notes Other Dog Investigation Method Quiz Method Prelab: Chips Scientific Quick Writ: Ahoy Method Scientific Review Method notes 11/3 11/4 1115 11/6 11/7 We Need Your Digging Digging Denver Video on the Brains Deeper Deeper Museum of Denver Basin (Introduction to (Articles on the Presentations Nature and the Denver Denver Basin) Science guest Basin) speaker 11/10 11/11 11112 11113 11/14 Video #2 on Power Point on Web Cast Discussion of No school the Denver Geologic What Geologic Geologic Time Basin Time line Time Is It? Post test 11/17 11118 11119 11/20 11121 Organization Introduction to Introduction to Reviewing Reviewing day lab reports Lab Reports Hypothesis, Observations, Making a Data and Conclusions Peanut Butter Graphs Rubric grading & Jelly of student Sandwich examples 11/24 11/25 11/26 11/27 1128 Student Practice folding No school No school No school examples of paper airplanes observations/ conclusions 12/l 12/2 12/3 12/4 12/5 Discuss flight Flight Day: Flight Day: Flight Day: Flight Day: days Unmodified Dart with Paper Dart with Slots Experimental Dart Clip Dart 12/8 12/9 12/10 Organization Peer grading of Collected lab day rough draft of reports, Pretest Bar graphs lab report with and PowerPoint with Excel rubric on cells 123

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Major themes of implementing inquiry included the use of assessment, students doing authentic science and fostering student success. Within the major theme of doing authentic science, patterns emerged from the data which included: a) questioning through real world examples b) developing scientific content, c) data gathering and observing, d) technology and tools for science, e) communication, f) collaboration, g) integration of other disciplines and h) using personal experiences. Each of these themes will be described in the following section. Assessment Driven Instruction Angela began her scientific method unit with a pretest in order to determine background knowledge of her students. The pretest consisted of a variety of multiple-choice questions in addition to short answer items. Angela did not use the pretest as a grade for students but as a teaching tool. After students completed the pretest, class time was used to review the correct answers and students were able to get immediate feedback and clarify misconceptions regarding the scientific method (Field Notes 10/13/03). Angela provided opportwlities daily to assess student's assignments and clearly stated the possible points. Many opportwlities existed for students to grade their own work. For example, students were required to write conclusions for the Chips Ahoy Lab for homework. Angela offered students the opportunity to share their answers and used student responses to grade the work with the class (Field 124

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Notes 10/16/03). Opportunities were also provided for students to calculate their own grades on daily assignments as well as final class grades before report card distribution. Angela used student examples to allow students to practice using a rubric to score their own work. For example, during the Airplane Lab, Angela gave students a packet of examples, written by students, to illustrate hypotheses, procedures, materials needed, observations and conclusions. Students used a teacher created rubric to score the examples. Angela used this assignment the next day to model and justify scores to her students. A pattern of student sharing and justifying their rubric score and Angela clarifying her rubric score, emerged. This lesson provided students with examples and practice that students could refer to when writing their own lab report for the fmal assignment ofthe unit (Field Notes 11/29/03). Angela provided opportunities for students to assess each other. During the Airplane Lab, Angela used the final lab report as an assessment tool and students were given the opportunity to peer review. Students brought to class their rough drafts of their lab report and worked in pairs to assess each other's reports using the rubric from previous lessons. Each student practiced scoring two other students work, which reinforced the assignment expectations, clarified their own work and provided additional examples to students (Field Notes 12/9/03). 125

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Doing Authentic Science Angela provided numerous opportunities for students to do authentic science. Real world examples, data gathering through the use of technology and tools, communicating scientific ideas, collaboration and integration were the major themes that emerged in the data. Real World Examples. One of the major themes that was relevant in Angela's teaching consisted of providing real world examples and questions in conjunction with doing science. After introducing the scientific method, students completed a homework assignment in which they were required to use their own real world question to develop a scientific investigation. Angela modeled her own problem, "I need a date for Friday night," a very relevant problem that adolescents can easily relate. The next day, Angela provided opportunities for her students to share their investigations (Field Notes 1 0/13/03). On another occasion, Angela presented an example of a scientific investigation entitled The Tale of the Other Dog. Students read the real world scenarios of a scientist who wanted to make a better dog food for his puppy. Students read and evaluated the process used by the scientist in the story to develop a deeper understanding of real life examples using the scientific methods (Field Notes 10/15/03). Angela incorporated examples of real scientists within her instruction regularly. One project that students completed consisted of researching a famous 126

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scientist on the Internet and creating a poster of the individual. Personal experiences relating to the work of scientists were apparent in Angela's classroom practice. For example, when Angela was teaching a lesson on the scientific method, she used her dad's experience as a scientist to relate to students the reality that scientists cannot change the results of experiments and are not always right ... he's a chemist .... my dad worked on brake fluid that helps brakes run but not get hot, new brake fluid. He was hoping and praying that it would work but he couldn't change the data or change the experiment to make them work he just followed the scientific method and tested it ... it was like in the 1984 and they drove his car to the top of Pikes Peak and put in the brake fluid and did all of these other tests and the final test was to drive down Pikes Peak to see if they got hot. They had a racecar driver, ... and he put on his helmet and then the engineer that was in charge of the whole experiment, said to my dad, "If you really believe in your brake fluid you'll get in that car." My dad was like "ok" and he put on a helmet and got in and drove down Pikes Peak. They drove down and tested the temperature of the brakes and found that it worked. They did it a whole bunch of times. So the scientific method takes away the bias, you have to keep it in your heads that if your hypothesis isn't proven is that ok? It's okay. Let's say you're at the bottom of Pikes Peak and the brakes are hot, is that a big deal? What does that mean? It means you've got to go back and try it again, maybe look at the formulation of the brake fluid, maybe there's something that needs to be added or something that needs to be taken out .... and go back and try it again. It's not a bad thing. It doesn't mean you're a bad scientist. It just means that your solution wasn't quite right, and it happens all the time. You've got to be ok with not always being quite right when you are a scientist. (Transcripts, 10/13/03) Angela incorporated numerous personal examples of how she used scientific processes on a daily basis. The following passage described how she 127

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organized the materials she needed for her first Thanksgiving dinner, just as a scientist would plan a material list for an investigation. We had some friends over a couple weeks ago to practice, like setting up the table, and the candles and stuff, but I don't know how to cook a turkey, ... I need to plan what I need to have. I need to have a meat thermometer, to make sure it's cooked all the way through. I need to have a roasting pan. I am thinking I might need to get one of those aluminum bags so I don't have to clean up as much ... gosh do we have these things in our kitchen? ... anyway I need to know the materials. (Transcripts, 11119/03) On another occasion, Angela used the making of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as an example of how scientists need to write clear, concise procedures for their investigation. Standing at the front of the room, with a white lab coat on, Angela had students give her specific directions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As students gave what they believed to be concise directions, Angela demonstrated what the directions were actually saying. As students were clarifying directions, a student was at the overhead, writing the procedures. As the process continued, Angela's students became more clear and concise in describing the procedures. Angela used this lesson to engage students in the work of real scientists and clarify the importance of clarity when writing procedures and designing investigations. Another example of incorporating the real world work of scientists into her classroom was through the implementation of the Radius Project. This project, in conjunction with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science brought scientists and 128

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students together to study geology and paleontology of the Denver area. The project included opportunities for building student background knowledge about the Denver Basin through observational activities, integration of literacy and mathematics, and the incorporation of technology. Communication and collaboration among students and scientists were also fostered throughout this project. Specific lessons will be described in more detail in the following sections. Data Gathering Through Observation. Angela provided numerous opportunities for students to gather scientific data and evidence. A major aspect of data gathering encompassed the use of observation, which also assisted in developing scientific knowledge and background with her students. During the introductory lesson for the Radius Project students used observation skills to ask questions and practiced connecting their observations and questions. Student groups were given two photographs and were asked to record their observations on chart paper. Angela encouraged students to, "relate observations to common places, smells, sounds, textures .... Students were asked to, ... think as an investigator and look for clues ... (Doc 26, 1113/03). As students compiled observations, they also were asked to brainstorm three questions that they had regarding the photos. This lesson provided an opportunity for students to become engaged and excited about science through observation and questioning. It also provided an example of how Angela allowed students to work collaboratively as many scientists do (Field Notes 11/3/03). 129

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On a separate occasion. Angela used a guest speaker from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to engage students and foster the development of observational skills. The presentation consisted of a series of hands-on stations in which students used observation skills to predict, analyze and hypothesize about various fossils, dinosaur bones, and rocks. Students recorded data and shared new understandings at the conclusion of the lesson. Students also had an opportunity to ask clarifying questions and gain relevant background information regarding the Denver Basin. Providing students with an expert was a valuable addition to this project (Field Notes 1116/03). Angela used the Airplane Lab as an opportunity to engage students in practicing the skills of scientific investigations. Students conducted an investigation using four different dart paper airplanes to determine which plane flew the farthest distance. At the beginning of each flying day, students gathered on the curb and recorded observations regarding the flight area and the weather. At the completion of data collection. students practiced writing observations in the form of a lab report. Technology and Tools for Science. One of the major themes that emerged in the data included Angela's use of technology within her practice. During the Radius Project, Angela used two videos, developed by the museum and in conjunction with the teachers involved in the project, to provide background information regarding the Denver Basin. the role of science, and the role of 130

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scientists in the real world setting (Field Notes 1117/03, 11110/03). Technology was also incorporated into this project through a live data cast that provided students an opportunity to speak directly with one of the paleontologists at the museum. Students, in five schools, simultaneously were able to see a presentation and ask questions to the scientist. This opportunity provided students clarifying background information, and a unique view of a scientist in action (Field Notes 11112/03). Angela also used technology in her classroom through Power Point presentations. Presentations regarding geologic time and writing scientific lab reports were implemented during this unit. This method of content delivery allowed students to gain background knowledge, practice note taking skills, and allowed Angela to provide examples and offer deeper explanations of the content (Field Notes 11/11103, 11119/03). A final example of the use of technology in Angela's classroom did not take place during the unit in mention, but as a pretest for the unit she was beginning the day after the observational time. Angela set up a computer on a cart with a set of wireless remotes. Each student was given a wireless remote and assigned a number. The students recorded their answers for the pretest, into the remote. Angela was than able to compile student results and use this information to guide her instruction ofthe unit (Field Notes 12/10/03). Communication. Angela provided many opportunities for students to communicate their thinking with others. A daily problem solver or brain teaser was 131

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used to engage students as they walked immediately into the classroom. Angela placed the problem solver on the overhead and students worked individually to answer the problem. After providing four or five minutes for completion. students shared their answers with the class. Angela used this as a forum for students to practice justifYing their answers. Angela also allowed time for groups to share their thoughts with the remainder of the class. During the introductory lesson on the Radius Project, described earlier, students worked collaboratively to make observations and brainstorm questions regarding two mystery photos. Angela allowed students to share their observations and questions with the class (Field Notes 11/3/03). During another lesson. groups of students read different articles on the Denver Basin. Each group shared three main ideas and three questions related to their article (Field Notes 1/4/03). Communicating scientific knowledge was a culminating activity for many lessons Angela implemented. Collaboration. As mentioned previously, group work was used throughout many of Angela's lessons. During the introductory Radius Project lesson. previously described, students recorded observations on chart paper and each group shared their observations with the class. Also during this project students completed an activity called What Geologic Time Is It? During this activity, students were divided into teams and given ten photographs and ten time period sheets. The groups worked collaboratively to match the photographs with the time 132

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periods and place them in order. One important aspect of this activity was that the one student in each group needed to act as a recorder and write down observations of the process used as their group completed the task. Angela used this opportunity to assist students in understanding the importance of working collaboratively and using more than one brain when completing tasks (Field Notes 11112/03). The Aii:plane Lab was another example of collaboration in Angela's classroom. Students worked in pairs to conduct an investigation involving different paper airplanes and the distances they flew. Angela gave roles to each pair of students, one recorder and one pilot. Assigning roles to students assisted on keeping students on task during this investigation (Field Notes 12/1103). Integration. A final theme that was relevant to Angela's classroom practice was the integration of literacy and mathematics. Angela provided numerous opportunities for students to practice note taking skills and vocabulary skills. Students were provided a graphic organizer for note taking on all occasions. During this unit, students took notes on the scientific method and how to write a formal lab reports (Field Notes 10/14/03, 11119/03). Vocabulary skills and writing skills were reinforced in a variety of ways. For example, students completed the Digging Deeper assignment that consisted of reading articles, highlighting important information and creating a poster of main ideas and new questions. Before Angela gave the students the articles, vocabulary words were reviewed. Upon completion ofthe presentations of main ideas and 133

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questions, groups designed their own experiment related to the articles. This assignment displayed integration of literacy in a variety of ways (Field Notes 11/4/03). Angela also integrated mathematics concepts into her science classroom on a regular basis. Every day, she began the class with a brainteaser or problem solver. On many occasions, math concepts were practiced during this time. For example, one problem solver in particular required the students to find the hypotenuse of a triangle. Angela used this opportunity to teach the students the meaning of hypotenuse and through the problem solver, related this math concept to real life (Field Notes 11119/03). Throughout all of the problem solvers that students completed during the observational period, a pattern emerged. Angela consistently required students to explain and justify their answers. Angela also integrated mathematics throughout the Airplane Lab. Students used mathematics to measure distances, calculate average distances flown and create data charts and graphs (Field Notes 11120/03, 12/8/03). In addition to mathematics skills, the Airplane Lab provided a forum for practicing the writing of formal lab reports. Fostering Student Success The final theme relevant in Angela's practice was fostering student success, primarily through organizational strategies. Angela modeled organizational skills 134

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for her students in a variety ofways. A notebook of assignments was kept so Angela could find assignments quickly. Assignments correlated with a poster displayed in the classroom that listed every assignment, and the possible points. Students were also required to keep a notebook of assignments and a list of all assignments and grades. Angela fostered student success by providing opportunities for students to organize their notebooks and calculate their grades. Angela also established clear, consistent expectations for her students. For example, at the beginning of each class, the students would enter a dimmed classroom with the overhead displaying the problem solver of the day. As students entered the classroom, they would pick up any handouts that would be used during the class, and spend the first five minutes completing the problem solver. When everyone was fmished, Angela would ask students to share their answers and justifY their thinking. Students graded their own work and added correct answers if they were wrong. Angela also required students to place everything on the floor that was not needed for the days lesson before beginning instruction. These organizational skills helped students to succeed in this classroom In order to determine patterns in Angela's teaching, Table 5.2 was constructed that displays a summary of the science experiences offered throughout this unit. Angela began the scientific method unit with assessment. A focus of building background knowledge was fostered through note taking, real world and Angela's personal experiences as examples. Students were provided opportunities 135

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to do authentic science investigations. Angela continued building background knowledge through observations and questioning strategies, guest speakers, and technology using real world examples along the way. Opportunities for communicating scientific ideas and collaboration were incorporated throughout the unit. The unit ended with a project-based formal investigation lab report. 136

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Table 5.2 Science Experiences During Angela's Class Assessment Building Background Knowledge through Note Taking, Real World examples and Personal Experiences Students Do (experience) a teacher directed investigation Problem question (teacher directed/student motivated) Developed vocabulary and student designed integrating literacy (Chips Ahoy Lab) Research and poster regarding famous scientist through technology Building background Information through observation and questioning using a real world example (mystery photos) Building background information through literacy Student initiated investigation Group Sharing Building background information through guest speaker and presentation Students do authentic science through observations with real world examples Building background information through technology and real world examples (videos, data cast, and PowerPoint presentations) Apply new knowledge using literacy and hand on activities (geologic timeJ Students do (experience) a teacher directed investigation Problem Question (teacher generated) (airplane lab) Review of scientific method through literacy and practice using real world student examples Design and data gathering (teacher directed) Design and data gathering (student initiated) Analysis through literacy and technology Peer Assessment Upon analysis of Angela's implementation of inquiry within her classroom, the data showed a pattern of teaching practice. Figure 5.1 displays Angela's pattern of teaching this particular unit on the scientific method. Angela began the unit with assessment. She developed background knowledge through literacy, observations, guest speakers, questioning and technology. While developing background 137

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knowledge, Angela incorporated a variety of real world examples that related to her students experiences in addition to her own personal experiences. The next phase of instruction included providing students with opportunities to do authentic science. Then Angela would continue building background knowledge using a different strategy. She continued with this process until students were able to analyze and communicate their results, primarily through literacy. Angela then provided an opportunity for her students to assess each other before turning in the fmal product for a final grade. Figure 5.1 Angela's Teaching Cycle for the Scientific Method Assess ....-----........ Develop Background Knowledge through Literacy, Observations, Guest Speakers, Questioning, Technology And incorporating Real World Examples Students Do Authentic Science Analyze and Communicate Results Through Literacy Peer Assessment Teacher Assessment Do Practice and Beliefs Match? The final question of this study was determining if Angela's teaching practice and Angela's reported beliefs match. In other words, does Angela practice 138

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what she preaches? Table 5.3 depicts Angela's self-reported beliefs and observed practice and shows that Angela does practice as she believes. The main themes of Angela's beliefs consisted of: a) hooking kids on science, b) student-centered instruction, c) fostering organization, d) real world examples, e) integration, f) using resources. g) students as scientists and h) promoting student success. These themes appeared regularly in Angela's practice in a variety of ways. 139

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Table 5.3 Angela's Beliefs and Practice Reported Beliefs Observed Practice Hooking Kids on Science Chips Ahoy Lab Video on Denver Basin DMNS guest presentation Airplane Lab investigation Student Centered Instruction Chips Ahoy Lab Writing Procedures for PBJ sandwich Peer Review Organization Teacher developed rubric for lab reports Students have notebook of assignments Airplane Lab Packet Real world The Tale of the Other Dog Personal experiences as examples Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich Entire Radius Project Integration Writing lab reports Articles about the Denver Basin Scientist Wanted Research and Posters Airplane Lab Using Resources (experts and Videos about Radius Project technology) Live Data Cast with a paleontologist Power Point presentation geologic time and writing lab reports Students as Scientists Mystery photos Airplane Lab DMNS guest presentation Promoting Student Success Collaboration: Geologic Time activity Airplane Lab Peer Assessment Use ofreallife experiences as examples 140

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Summary This case study investigated the background experiences, the self-reported beliefs and the observed practice of one teacher during an inquiry-based science unit. For this individual, background experiences were tied directly to major beliefs that the teacher identified. This teacher's beliefs were in turn directly tied to the observed classroom practice. Table 5.4 connects these three aspects in order to look at the entire picture of Angela. Angela identified family experiences, and elementary, middle and high school experiences as promoting "doing science." Each of these experiences influenced Angela's beliefs regarding student-centered instruction, real world applications and fostering excitement and fun in science. These experiences also allowed Angela to develop a perception of the lives of scientists. Angela's teacher education program, graduate school and school expectations required her to integrate literacy, which she incorporated into her practice through technology. These programs along with her high school experiences, promoted the use of resources within her classroom practice. Angela's personal learning style influenced her beliefs regarding organization and fostering the success of students. This belief tie into Angela's practice daily as she sets up her classroom, assessments and practice with student success in mind. 141

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Table 5.4 Integration of Angela's E?g?eriences. Beliefs and Practice BackgroWld Beliefs Practice Family experiences Hooking kids on science Doing authentic sc1ence Opportunities for doing Student centered science instruction Real World Elementary school Applications Middle school Students as scientists High school Data gathering Real world through observation Integration Teacher Education Program Integration of literacy Technology as a Tool School Expectations Graduate School Communication Using resources Communication High School Experiences Collaboration Teacher Education Technology as a Tool Program Graduate Degree Personal Learning Style Promoting student success Fostering student School Expectations Organization success Assessment 142

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CHAPTER SIX CASE STUDY OF TAMMY: THE AFRICAN CICHLID PROJECT Introduction This chapter is the third case study of selected middle school inquiry-based classrooms. The chapter will begin with a description of Tammy and how background experiences influenced inquiry teaching. The next section will address her beliefs about inquiry and how Tammy described characteristics of inquiry. The chapter will continue by describing the implementation of inquiry and similarities and differences among beliefs and teaching practice within this classroom environment. The chapter will end by integrating Tammy's background, beliefs and teaching practice. Description of Tammy Tammy had been teaching middle school science for five years. She began her career as an eighth grade educator, teaching science and social studies, in a core for at-risk students. During her career, Tammy taught seventh grade and looped with her students as they progressed to eighth grade. This pattern of looping from seventh to eighth grade and back again continued throughout Tammy's teaching 143

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career. During the data collection period, Tammy taught four science classes each day and one class of Academic Extensions. This extensions class was mandated by the district and required that teachers incorporate literacy into their content area. Each class consisted of general population students. Demographics for Tammy's Academic Extensions class were depicted in Table 3.7. Background Experience and Inquiry As indicated in the conceptual framework guiding this study, background experiences of individuals play a role in teaching practice. Four major themes emerged relating Tammy's background experiences and relevance to inquiry teaching practice. Tammy's childhood experiences fostered curiosity with nature. Her undergraduate work in kinesiology and related work experience provided opportunities to do authentic science, which led to an interest in teaching. Completion of a teacher preparation masters program, in conjunction with actual teaching experiences also influenced her thoughts regarding inquiry teaching. A Natural Curiosity and Love of Nature Tammy described her childhood experiences as fostering her natural curiosity and love of nature and the outdoors. She described herself as a "bunny chaser" and an explorer. She described interactions with the natural environment, exploring ponds, catching salamanders, snakes and frogs during her elementary 144

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years (Transcripts, 12/16/03). Throughout grade school and middle school Tammy spent the summers at Girl Scout camp. She recalled that this experience was something she really enjoyed in her youth and described camp as, ... a rustic outdoor setting ... open sided cabins and cooking on a fire and backpacking." (Transcripts, 12/16/03). These experiences indicated that Tammy had a childhood curiosity about science but little academic science experiences. Tammy summarized her feeling toward school in the following passage. I despised school. I hated it. I did not fit the standard model of a kid. I personally think I was ADHD. I was always in trouble for being up and around and talking and not paying attention and my grades were defmitely average until my senior year and they went down from there. They were government and economics classes you had to pass. I had zero motivation for those classes. I was not a sit and get book kid and had some of these other techniques been popular, I think my whole school experience would have been different. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) Tammy recognized struggles that she had in school but also recalled opportunities that allowed her to do authentic science. She identified experiences doing science during her biology class, and throughout her undergraduate degree in kinesiology as influencing her motivation for learning. Opportunities to Do Authentic Science High School and College Experiences. Tammy described her struggle with school, and herself as a high school student in the following excerpt. 145

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... not an academic kid .... the learning and memorizing, ... so that standard, lecture, take notes, study and memorize pattern of learning did not fit me at all and it scared me a lot. I never had to take any chemistry ... you didn't have to take them (science classes) to go to college. I was scared of them (science classes) because I thought they would be hard. I did take chemistry one semester and it was balancing equations and it was so hard for me, I said never again. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) Tammy struggled with fitting into academic expectations of her teachers and her fear of the content, ultimately lead her to stop taking any science courses at all. Although her fear kept her from pursuing science, she recalled opportunities that were provided within the sophomore biology class she had that focused on "doing" science. Tammy identified these experiences as motivating and exciting and she did well during those times in her classes. We did fetal pigs and that was fascinating to me, as a matter of fact I remember the progression, like flat worms, tapeworms, and then grasshoppers, ... a frog and we did fetal pigs. I probably got my best grades in high school during that semester of biology, although practicals were kind of tough. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) After graduating from high school, Tammy decided to pursue a degree in kinesiology. She wanted to get involved in corporate fitness, which provided numerous opportunities for her to do authentic science. She expressed her excitement about the science classes that she was required to take and how "labs" influenced her motivation to learn. I wanted to do corporate fitness and really did get exposed to quite a bit of science. I had exercise physiology, and physiology and anatomy labs and chemistry and physics and microbiology and those 146

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were all great fun, but mostly because of the labs. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) Tammy described particular experiences of courses that influenced her the most. The exercise physiology lab was amazing. We did a lot of things with core body temperature and heart rate, body fat analysis and nutrition, we were doing a lot ofbody fluid analysis and a lot of chart analysis. That was the first ... real lab experience that I had and then after that, general physiology. I had ethics issues with killing my specimens. I was killing the frogs that I used to catch, to do electrical muscles, and we did some labs with heart rate, ... we did open heart surgery on rats ... anatomy was fascinating, we had a cat cadaver. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) Authentic science opportunities influenced Tammy as she completed her degree and went into the world to work. Due to monetary issues, corporate fitness programs began to phase out and Tammy began working in a blood reference lab. This experience, along with other work experiences influenced and shaped Tammy's belief about real life experiences and doing science. These beliefs will be described in detail in the next section. Work Experiences. Tammy described her work in a blood reference lab and a blood donor lab. She," ... went out on mobile blood drives, drawing peoples blood. I had to prep it, separate the cells and prep it." (Transcripts, 12/16/03). She enjoyed her work for a few months and then she described it as "monotonous." She recognized that she learned a lot from this experience (Transcripts, 12/16/03). Tammy also worked in tissue banking and organ donation. She had opportunities to do authentic science, which were described in the following excerpt. 147

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I did organ extraction from cadavers. I did all kinds of prep, like making bone into tissue grafts, for fusing vertebrae and soft tissue grafts for surgery. Again, fascinating for a while and then monotonous, and the monotony of it was what made me decide I could go into education. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) The following passage described Tammy's motivation for becoming a teacher. It was just daunting to me when I was in school. I was very intrinsically curious about it (science) but it scared me to death. It was hard stuff and it didn't have to be. You can learn so much doing it (science). You didn't have to memorize the books, ... you can get hooked on it first. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) Tammy decided to enter into a teacher education program that allowed individuals to earn a teachers license in fifteen months and take an additional twelve hours of coursework to earn a masters degree. In order to gain experience with kids, Tammy volunteered at a high school for three years. She brought "rock climbing, kayaking and backpacking" to the school as an extra curricular activity (Transcripts, 12/16/03). This experience helped build confidence in Tammy as she gained experience working with students and fostering the natural curiosity ofher students. Teacher Education Program Expectations In order for Tammy to begin the teacher education program, she was required to take additional science classes to earn a teaching license in the area of a science generalist in secondary education. These classes consisted of geology, ecology and a genetics class. Again, the genetics class reinforced her motivation 148

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and excitement of doing science. She was able to do "chain reactions and building DNA and breaking it down." She described this experience as another "fascinating and cool class." (Transcripts, 12/16/03). Tammy entered the teacher education program and was required to decide on a leadership area focus. She decided to pursue technology due to her fascination with computers. She described courses and professors that helped foster confidence by decreasing her school anxiety. For example, Tammy identified one of her frrst courses as influencing her understanding of schools and learning. It was just a different environment than any school I had been in before. We started off with educational psychology and ours was co-taught, ... it was interesting because we had no classroom experience yet and we had observations (at a school that focused on expeditionary learning). It was very much not what I remembered school being so it was hard to merge my ideas and my personal ideas of school and observe the things I was supposed to be observing. It (the school) was different and actually I think it helped because then you have a broader idea of education. It does give you a broader idea ofwhat school could be but it's at the outer edge of my comfort zone. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) This experience as an observer of teaching, learning and students helped build confidence within Tammy. It was a key event as she pursued her teaching license. Teaching experiences were incorporated into her program beginning with the second semester. Pre-Service Teaching Experiences. Tammy's teacher education program included a two-day a week internship in a high school environment for eight weeks. During this time, Tammy worked with a science teacher, planning and 149

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implementing lessons in a co-teaching format. One of the key events that Tammy planned was a field trip to the tissue and bone lab for the biology students that she taught. The following passage displayed Tammy's enthusiasm for bringing real life science experiences to her students. There were observation widows where you could see. It was a sterile and clean room environment, so we wore the bunny suits and surgical masks and scrub up fifty times a day. You debrief these bones that are recovered and it's a pretty shocking experience the frrst time. The kids walked in, ... mostly ofwhat we worked on were humerus, ulna, radius, femors, tibula, fibula, vertabrae, sometimes the ribs. We would make all kinds of surgical implant grafts, we'd make maybe 150 implant grafts from one donor. Occasionally we'd get odd parts or pieces in ... we'd get jawbones, mandibles. That day when the kids got there they happened to have a male one, it still had the gold teeth. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) This situation allowed Tammy to take the lead on a project in which she had experienced authentic science. She began living her goal of exciting and motivating students about science. As this was taking place, Tammy was building confidence, about school and about her abilities. For the second eight weeks, Tammy was required to spend two days a week in a middle school setting. She continued, with the coaching of her clinical teacher, to plan and implement science lessons with seventh grade students. Tammy described the first lesson she taught and what she learned from this experience. I developed my frrst lesson on density and it was just such a crazy concept to teach to very concrete kids. I had this lesson I borrowed ofthe Internet and had all my stuff and it was a fifty minute class and she (clinical teacher) asked, 'Are you sure it's gonna go?' and I said 'I think so.' Twelve and a half minutes, boom, it was done. So 150

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we built density columns off the cuff and it ended up being okay but that was funny. It was probably the one and only lesson I really bombed, but you know, trial by fire. You never do it again. Get it out ahead oftime and do it ahead oftime. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) This experience also lead to a model of"doing science" that helped Tammy merge the concepts covered in her teacher preparation coursework to teaching practice. We did a lot of activities, we made learning the metric system an activity. It was with her (clinical teacher), even though I heard kinesthetic, do everything hands on, teach to the different intelligences, she was the first to truly incorporate that into teaching, and I think there is probably not a lesson that you couldn't make interactive at least if not fully active, and that appealed to me. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) After Tammy's second internship, she decided to stay at the middle school to complete her third and final internship. During this phase of the program, Tammy was responsible for creating a three-week unit and teaching it during her "solo" time. The time period when she was on her own in the classroom. Tammy planned her unit around the respiratory system. She described a lab in which students experienced science as scientists. We did the consumer report lab, to do scientific design. They (the students) pretend they are lab techs for Consumer Report Magazine and test different products and test it on their peers. I went into another core and did it with a long-term sub. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) The experience of teaching in a different core was a turning point in Tammy's teaching career. After spring break, Tammy was asked to become part of the staff and replaced the substitute that was previously in that position. She 151

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fmished the school year as the science teacher for this core, which provided an opportunity for Tammy to teach science to high-risk students. She reflected on this experience and equated it to the first year of teaching and the learning that takes place during that time for students and teachers. The good thing that came out of that ... you hear about your fust year of teaching experience and at least my first year of teaching was only three months long. Then I had the summer to recoup and when I started off the next year I was like I am doing this, I'm not doing that, so it was good. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) This opportunity led to a permanent science position in the school. Tammy reflected on the positive experience that was part of the culture of this environment. She stated, "I thought this whole staff and this whole building was very welcoming and very inclusive and it was comfortable, that helped. Once you're comfortable with your own position, it's easier to start and affect the kids." (Transcripts, 12/16/03). This experience became a key component as Tammy continued teaching science in this school for the next five years. Teaching Experiences Tammy began her career teaching seventh and eighth grade science and math. During the fust year she taught life skills math, which included, ... going to the grocery store, planning meals, balancing checkbooks, paying rent." Tammy described her fust full year of teaching and provided a snapshot of how she perceived her teaching looked during that time. 152

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It was pretty interactive. I tried and made things activity-based. I didn't give a lot of tests, I did assessment through games or through projects. I pretty much taught to the personality of the class. Classes were small so it was easier to do up and around activities. I incorporated stand up, kinesthetic teaching, teaching to the different intelligences and I pretty much did stick to that, because ifl'm bored, they are bored. (Transcripts, 12/16/03) This opportunity allowed Tammy to provide opportunities to do real science and motivate her students. During her second year of teaching Tammy taught science and United States History. Tammy focused on integrating social studies and science into her practice. She described on example of how this looked in her classroom. "I'll hear of an activity going on in social studies or cultures ... cooking is so much science ... I incorporate those types of things all the time." (Transcripts, 12/16/03). Again, the major theme of motivating students and making learning fun was a beliefthat Tammy held. This belief will be discussed in greater detail in the next section. Background experiences shape and influence what individuals believe about teaching and learning. Tammy's background experiences consisted of childhood experiences that influenced science and opportunities for doing science throughout her academic schooling and work experiences. Tammy's teacher education program and her student teaching experience influenced her beliefs about teaching. As Tammy began teaching, experiences with students allowed her to build and shape her teaching. 153

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Self-Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry One ofthe major questions driving this study involved understanding teacher reported beliefs regarding inquiry. Patterns emerged within the data regarding Tammy's beliefs about inquiry. This section will describe these patterns, beginning with Tammy's definition and characteristics of inquiry. Tammy's beliefs regarding her goals for students, in addition to benefits and constraints regarding inquiry will also be described. Characteristics of Inquiry Tammy's defmition of inquiry was student-centered. Tammy stated that, "Science is studying how things work, whether it's how the planet works, or how an organism works ... and how they interact." She also stated her belief about how science affects all individuals in society. "More so than any other generation, this generation has to have more of an understanding to change what's happening. The average person has to have much more science literacy than they ever had to have before." Tammy defined inquiry as, "Student generated questions that they want to fmd answers to." (Field Notes 2/20/04). During the second interview Tammy elaborated on a specific goal for inquiry. Tammy would like to "demystify scientists" and help her students understand that science is for everyone (Transcripts, 12/17/03). 154

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There were numerous patterns that emerged regarding Tammy's beliefs about characteristics of inquiry. Tammy believed that science teaching should: a) be motivating for students through real life experiences, b) focus on student centered instruction, c) integrate additional content areas and technology, d) foster "doing" science and e) incorporate higher levels ofthinking. Motivating Students Tammy believed that motivating students in science was an important aspect of her teaching. She described the importance of engaging students, fostering excitement and interest in science and promoting curiosity about science in her classroom. During one interview she described the importance of promoting curiosity and her desire to have students "look at something and wonder." (Transcripts, 12/17/03). Tammy believed that "kids are naturally curious" and that her role as a science educator was to foster that curiosity (Transcripts, 12/17/03). Tammy believed that science could be fun and foster excitement. She stated, ... there is probably not a lesson that you can not make interactive ... and that appealed to me. It's a whole lot more fun to be at school." (Transcripts, 12/17/03). Tammy described an example ofhow she fostered excitement into her classroom using models for learning. "I do a lot more projects, build a model of a cell and tell me what the parts do. We do cell models out of candy, ... food is motivating, the kids are motivated by food." (Transcripts, 12/17/03). 155

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Doing Science. Tammy also described the importance of "students doing science." She recalled her own school experiences and described that she "learned best by doing .... putting it together and taking it apart." (Transcripts, 12/17/03). Tammy described various examples of"doing science" that incorporated the use of building models to facilitate learning. I use Lego's to put together molecules for chemistry, the yellow ones can have the same atoms but not the same position so it's not the same molecule .... if they can pick it up and move it around, ... I'll use my tables for the circulatory system move all my tables and use the tape from gym and draw a red and blue heart on the floor and have kids be lungs and brain. They have to go walk through it and exchange oxygen tickets for carbon dioxide tickets and back and forth." (Transcripts, 12/17/03) Real World. One aspect of incorporating motivation and excitement in the classroom was through the use of real world examples. Tammy believed that most of her labs incorporated real world issues and promoted a deeper understanding of scientists. An example of incorporating the work of scientists into her classroom was illustrated through the ... consumer report lab. (Students) do scientific design where they pretend they are lab techs for consumer report magazine and test different products. They test it on their peers in class." (Transcripts, 12/16/03). Tammy believed that incorporating real life current events into her classroom could help students understand the work of scientists. She believed that by allowing time to discuss what they "hear on the news" students will develop an understanding of science issues (Transcripts, 12/17 /03). She also believed that 156

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bringing real life examples ofher own work experiences. The following excerpt provided an example of how Tammy believed that her experiences could benefit her students. I've had almost every kind of job in almost any field. I try and tell the kids and incorporate all those life experiences ... and it's important to learn science or math ... even if it's not what you want to learn now. You have no idea what you want to do in thirty years. I worked in a warehouse, I worked in medical labs, I worked as a group home manager, I've just done so many different things, and science in high school didn't seem important for most of them ... just until I decided what I wanted to do for the bigger chunk of my life. (Transcripts, 12/17/03) Motivating students was a major theme that emerged in the data. Tammy reported that she focuses on promoting curiosity and excitement among her students as well as provides opportunities for doing science through investigations and models. Tammy also believed that she incorporated real life examples into her classroom practice in order to foster motivation. A second major theme that was relevant in the data included the belief of student-centered instruction. Student Centered Instruction Tammy stated her beliefs about student-centered instruction in a variety of ways. Tammy believed that she focused on the different learning styles when planning her lessons. She stated, "Approach it from as many different methods of learning that you can. Whether it's an activity or lab, observing it happen, watching a quick movie on the Internet, whatever utilities you have available." (Transcripts, 157

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12/17/03). These statements illustrated how Tammy focused on her students in order for them to be successful in her classroom and how resources influenced her instruction. Another example ofTammy's belief regarding student-centered instruction was evident in the following passage. She described the struggle of having large class sizes and the difficulty of implementing science lessons with too many students. I imagine when I start having those large classes again, I will have two lessons going because I'm just not going to have thirty-six kids at Bunsen burners. I'll have fifteen or sixteen at burners and the rest sitting down and doing some kind ofbookwork and the next day they will flop because I don't want to take away that experience, it's just going to have to be modified. (Transcripts, 12/17 /03) Tammy also stated that she reflects on her teaching and modifies when she notices times when she "drifts off into teacher-oriented." (Transcripts, 12/17/03). She went on to describe the difference between student-centered instruction and teacher-oriented instruction when she stated, "It's easer to be teacher-oriented." (Transcripts, 12/17/03). This statement reflects the belief that Tammy wants to be student-centered and recognizes that it takes more effort and time. Tammy had strong beliefs that her instruction should center on student learning. Understanding the learning styles ofher students was at the forefront of her beliefs. How this plays out in Tammy's practice will be described in the implementation section of the chapter. 158

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Integration of Other Content Areas and Technology One theme that emerged in the interview with Tammy was that of integration. Tammy believed that incorporating literacy, mathematics and social studies helped students to learn the material (Transcripts, 12/17/03). Tammy spoke passionately about an integrated math unit that she developed ... the gingerbread houses. They (students) have the pattern and have to use math and this percentage and they have to scale it up. We make all the dough using the metric measurements and cook it ... and they put it together, they do the whole thing. They are always unique and kids always have a blast doing them. I rarely have any problems and that lab is probably three or four weeks long. (Transcripts, 12/17/03) Tammy also described a unit that integrated science and social studies that she implemented during her first year ofteaching. I did a whole lab, I wrote this story that was set in Jamestown and there was a kidnapping and they kept the ransom note in a time capsule for technology to later figure out who did it. We did chromatography and they had to figure out who done it. The story was tied into where we were in US History. Then we did the lab and they had to decide which ink well had written the note, it was fun. (Transcripts, 12/17/03) Technology. The use of technology was evident in Tammy's beliefs about teaching science. Tammy believed that technology could be used as a resource for her own lesson designs and as a resource for her student's own learning. She described the use oftechnology when she stated, ... using my tv as a chalk board and putting my agenda up there. I like to do the computer lab, I'm pretty comfortable on the Internet. It's limiting, the number of computers we have available to us, but 159

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for certain projects, like the lung thing, they can go do a Google search. They are doing their own learning and finding out which site is a good site to look at what looks like it might have real information. I'm not scared off by computer things. I'll fmd things for them and bring them in off the Internet. There's a lot of information out there you can't get in a textbook and our textbooks are only a snapshot of information. (Transcripts, 12/17/03) This statement reaffirmed the belief of promoting student learning by applying it to real life experiences. Tammy also indicated her comfort level while incorporating technology into her classroom The following section describes Tammy's beliefs about inquiry teaching. Major themes that emerged included her goals for students, benefits of implementing inquiry and constraints of inquiry teaching. SelfReported Beliefs About Inquiry A major research question guiding this study includes self-reported teacher beliefs about inquiry teaching. The previous section described Tammy's beliefs about characteristics of inquiry. This section of the chapter will describe additional beliefs that Tammy stated as influencing inquiry teaching in her classroom. The predominant themes described in this section include: a) Tammy's major goals for students, b) the teacher's role, c) constraints of implementing inquiry and d) benefits for teaching inquiry. 160

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Major Goals for Students Tammy stated many goals for students, which included abilities to analyze, and process and communicate their understandings about science. Tammy also stated that she wants to demystify scientists and foster excitement in her students about school. Tammy believed that students should, "be able to analyze something, look at the parts of it. The ability to think, not what the answer is, what do you think?" (Transcripts, 12/17/03). This statement identifies that Tammy believed that students should be able to use high levels of thinking during science. She also believed that students should be able to communicate their thinking and understanding. Finding the answer is only the first step. As stated previously, Tammy also believed that her major goal is to "demystify scientists." She elaborated in the following passage: ... at the end to say look you just did what a scientists does. You had a question, you figured out a way to find out if it is true and you found out whether it was true. You may not know positively but you have a better idea and you probably have a better idea how to ask the question the next time, how to change it. ... to demystify the institution of science ... science is so connected with the institute, the Smithsonian. .. to make it real that you are a scientist, you did this, you are a scientist. (Transcripts, 12/17/03) Tammy also stated that her primary goal for becoming a teacher," ... I could do those cool labs and get kids interested in science like I wasn't." She believed that fostering excitement and motivation in students benefits them in later years. 161

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Teacher's Role Tammy believed that her role as a teacher was to "trouble shoot" and "guide ideas." She provided an example of guidance when she stated, "Ifthey come up with something you know is going to be nothing right off the bat, I try to redirect ... to give hints .... not do it for them because they also learn from their mistakes." (Transcripts, 12/17/03). This passage provided a glimpse of how Tammy views her role as a teacher. I also see where there are huge gaps in their reasoning ability, they don't come up with good procedures, or don't come up with a good plan. Usually they can't write a good procedure, but if they can explain it to me I can understand if they have a good concept of it, it's very helpful to see gaps. (Transcripts, 12117/03) Constraints of Inquiry Teaching Tammy identified many constraints while incorporating inquiry into the classroom. Personal issues, time and school issues hinder abilities to implement inquiry. Tammy made the following statement about inquiry. It's easier to think inside the box. It's easier to do recipe labs ... I need to get better at getting away from the recipe labs and letting them (students) do what they want, but it's safer to do the recipe labs and it's certainly less time consuming. (Transcripts, 12/17 /03) A major risk identified by Tammy while implementing inquiry practice is that "nothing happens." Tammy elaborated in the following passage: ... and it's a let down for both students and teachers. How do you explain? There's a good percentage of science out there that nothing happens. I think that it's a myth for science that you always have a 162

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result. We teach that you do and then it's a big let down. I think the risk is that the interest isn't there, same thing for teachers. (Transcripts, 12/17/03) Tammy described that she used this as an opportunity to relate science to real life, but losing students' excitement and motivation about learning is at risk. Tammy also elaborated on how time constraints keep her from planning and implementing inquiry in an effective manner. I start with our district curriculum and try and fit in everything in the seventh and eighth grade, invariably something gets left off. They are shoving so much into seventh grade because it's all on the eighth grade CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program). (Transcripts, 11/7/03) Tammy identified money, facilities, and computers as school issues that affect implementing inquiry. Class size could affect inquiry teaching but is not an issue for her during this school year. Tammy described the class size issue in detail. We are doing glass stars today on the Bunsen burners. I had one kid with a bum and my largest class was twenty-eight. When I first started teaching my largest class was thirty-six, and I can't imagine doing this lab. (Transcripts, 12/17/03) Benefits ofTeaching Inquiry Tammy identified numerous benefits of teaching inquiry for her students and for herself. Benefits for students included the result of allowing students to conduct their own investigations, which fosters motivation and excitement about learning. Tammy stated, "The kids have more say. It's theirs. They did it. They are proud of 163

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it. They buy into it. They always buy into labs but they buy into it more when it's theirs." {Transcripts, 12/17/03) Tammy also identified personal benefits. Excitement, personal learning and assessment were primary benefits Tammy described. I think it's more exciting to see. I learn more from what they (students) do, especially ifthey come up with something that is original. I learn. I learn better how to design the labs that I do design by some of the hang-ups that they come across. You always learn best by your mistakes. I learn best by their mistakes, ... things they can do and what they can't do. (Transcripts, 12/17/03) Although Tammy identified personal constraints, time, and school issues as influencing inquiry teaching, she does promote inquiry within her classroom practice. The following section will describe how Tammy implemented inquiry into her teaching practice. Implementation oflnquicy In order to understand how a teacher implemented inquiry into the classroom, an extensive period of time observing classroom events was necessary. Thirty days were spent observing Tammy's classroom practice. As described earlier, Tammy taught four science classes each day, all regular education students. Tammy also taught one Academic Extensions class each day. The focus of this class was to integrate literacy into the science content. During this particular threeweek unit, Tammy planned to implement a student-initiated inquiry project. This 164

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class was chosen for observation and data collection. Due to scheduling conflicts, district trainings and personal reasons, Tammy had substitutes for a few of the days during this three-week period. In order to gain a full picture of how Tammy implemented this unit, I continued to observe this class for the second group of students as they completed the same project. This section begins by describing how Tammy implemented one unit of instruction focusing on inquiry in her classroom. I begin by describing implementation of a unit that focused on the scientific method and incorporated student-initiated inquiry projects that focused on African Cichlid Investigations. Description of the Inguiry Project: African Cichlid Investigations When first meeting with Tammy, she described her plan for incorporating student-initiated inquiry projects into her Academic Extensions class. She recently acquired a 210-gallon aquarium and set it up in her classroom with the intention that her students would study African cichlids. She placed a variety of cichlid species in the tank, about fifty fish all together. She called the project African Cichlid Investigations. A calendar, as depicted in Table 6.1, was constructed to provide a sequence of events taking place during this project. Major themes of implementing inquiry included developing background knowledge, students doing authentic science, integration of other content areas and 165

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fostering student success. Within the major theme of developing background knowledge, patterns consisted oftriggering prior knowledge and incorporating real life and student centered examples. Within the major theme of doing authentic science patterns emerged from the data, which included: a) real world examples, b) collaboration and c) student initiated investigations. Within the theme of integration, literacy, mathematics, social studies and technology were predominant patterns of implementation. The final theme of fostering student success, consisted ofteacher expectations, organization and guidance. Each of these themes will be described in the following section. 166

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Table 6.1 Calendar of Events for Tammy 11119 11120 11121103 KWL About Geography of Physical Fish Africa Features ofFish Problems of the Lake 11/24 11/25 11/26 11/27 11/28 Mouth Shapes National No school No school No school and Food Geographic Video 12/1 12/2 12/3 12/4 12/5 No school Organizing Question Procedures and Data Collection groups and Development Data Charts African Culture sharing and Geography investigation Clues questions 12/8 12/9 12/10 12/11 12/12 Data Data Collection Graphing, Writing Final Cichlid Mating Collection Graphing the Analyzing Lab Report and Video Swahili Math Story ofthe Results and Conclusions Cichlid Maze Lake Conclusions 12/15 12/16 12/17 12/18 12/19 New class Geography of National Jigsaw on the No class begins Africa Geographic Three African KWL About Video Lakes Fish 115 1/6 1/7 1/8 119 Identifying Students share Share testable Writing Writing Data Fish observations. questions with Procedures Chart and Characteristics Brainstorm class Procedures for Students testable Designing Experiments observe questions Investigation physical and behavior characteristics offish 1/12 1113 1/14 1/15 1/16 Data Data Collection Data Collection Data Collection Analyzing and Collection Swahili Math African Culture Graphing the Writing and Geography Story ofthe Conclusions Clues Lake 167

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Developing Background Knowledge One of the major themes relevant in Tammy's teaching practice included the development of background knowledge. Triggering prior knowledge and providing real life and student-centered examples were primarily methods for developing background knowledge in Tammy's classroom. Prior Knowledge. On the first day of data collection, Tammy used a popular method for triggering background knowledge with students called a KWL. She drew a chart on the board that consisted of two columns. One column was labeled as What You Know and the other column was labeled What You Want To Know. Tammy encouraged all students to brainstorm what they know about African cichlids as she recorded their responses on the board. Tammy was faithful to include every student's response and recorded responses using the student's words. After triggering background knowledge, Tammy asked students to brainstorm questions they had regarding the fish. Again, Tammy recorded student responses using the actual words of the students. This activity was an effective method to activate prior knowledge of her students and illicit potential questions for student initiated investigations (Field Notes 12/15/03). Real Life. A second major pattern of developing background knowledge incorporated real life examples regarding the content Tammy was teaching. On one occasion Tammy was using an Internet site to show her students mouth shapes of various cichlid species and related these adaptations to the species survival. Tammy 168

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used this opportunity to describe the process scientists used in order to obtain this information about cichlids, without killing them. They've (scientists) developed a new method that helps them observe certain structures of the fish without dissecting it and killing it. They call it clearing and staining, and this picture is going to show you what it looks like when it's cleared and stained. So it's red is the bone structure of the fish and the blue is cartilage. You can see some ofthe organs in there, too. (Transcripts, 11/21/03) On another day, Tammy was providing background information to the students about the African lakes that the cichlids lived. As she discussed problems that the Lake Tanganyika faced, she provided a real life example ofhow cichlids adapt for survival. Temperature gradients happen especially in lakes like Tanganyika, where it's so deep, fish only live in the very top part of it. So when the water temperature changes in the top of the lake this changes their habitat, the food that they can eat, their activity, and how they live there. That's what's happening in Lake Tanganyika. They've done this research study and how much the water has changed and it's changed several degrees over the last twenty years. It's getting warmer, and there is a lack of nutrients on the lower depths periodically coming to the surface where the plants and algae live and it's changing the temperature or affecting that convection. (Transcripts, 11/21103) Providing background information to students through real life examples was relevant throughout the African Cichlid Investigation. Background information was also facilitated through the use of student-centered examples. 169

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Student Centered Examples. Tammy used numerous student-centered examples to develop background information with her students. During a lesson describing Lake Victoria, Tammy read a story about the lake that provided her students with background information. She used various student-centered examples to clarify the information for her students. The following excerpt provided a glimpse of how Tammy clarified a trophic group for her students. A trophic group is, ... How many ofyou in here prefer hamburgers over pizza? How many of you prefer pizza over hamburgers? How many of you don't like any of those choices? So we have a hamburger trophic, the guys that would rather feed on hamburger, and a pizza trophic. So there are several different trophic groups among the cichlids, some eat algae, some eat lichen, some eat other fish. There's one trophic group that eats only the scales of other cichlids. They'll swim up next to them and bite their scales off. So there are different trophic groups among them. (Transcripts, 11121103) As Tammy continued reading the story of the lake, she clarified to her students what a hyacinth plant was by relating the plant to the lives of the students. She stated, "Have you seen those decorative water ponds and they have lilies in their ponds. It (hyacinth) is like that." (Transcripts, 11121103). On another day, Tammy was describing the time investment of authentic science research and related it to the common news related issue of the flu. A current issue that students had been hearing about on the news and were able to relate to their own lives. When you're talking about testing new drugs, like cancer and the flu vaccine, think about it, if you were running a test on the flu vaccine 170

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right now, the entire flu season would be one test and then you'd have to be able to repeat your results, and then you've got to do it at least twice and even that will not be accepted in the scientific conununities. You're talking about doing flu investigations for at least ten years to compare anything to anything because it changes every year. Most of the time there is a whole lot of time investment in science. (Transcripts, 12/10/03) Providing background information for students was a major theme in Tanuny's classroom practice. Triggering prior knowledge, using real life examples and student centered examples were the primary methods used during this unit of study. Doing Authentic Science A second major theme apparent in Tanuny's practice during the African Cichlid Investigation included opportunities for students to do an authentic science investigation. Tanuny used this experience to incorporate real life science, collaboration, and a student-initiated investigation. Real Life. As mentioned previously, Tanuny used real life examples to develop background information about the cichlids and their habitats in the lakes of Africa. In order to assist her students in understanding cichlid adaptations to the environment, Tanuny implemented a lesson in which students explored with various tools and foods to investigate how the shape of a cichlids mouth, helped them to survive. Each student was given materials. A paper plate represented their stomach, plastic forks represented fish eaters, spoons represented diggers, forceps 171

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represented fin choppers, and straws represented zooplankton eaters. Each student was required to eat each of the three foods, grapes, sprinkles and cookies. Students collected and recorded how much they could "eat" in thirty seconds (Field Notes 11/24/03). This activity was motivating for students and provided a real life view of how cichlids adapt to their environment. Collaboration. Tammy provided numerous opportunities for students to work collaboratively. At the beginning of the project, students were randomly assigned to groups of four in order to develop and investigate a question of their choice regarding the cichlids. Students worked collaboratively on a daily basis to determine a question, design the investigation, collect data, analyze the fmdings and write a conclusion. The following excerpt illustrated how Tammy provided opportunities for students to work collaboratively in order to write their fmallab reports. The final draft will be the best part of everybody's rough drafts put together on your official piece of write up paper and set up. Each person is writing their own rough draft of the conclusion and then you are going to read all four of those conclusions. In your group you are going to combine the best parts of all of them to one conclusion that you write on your formal write up paper. (Transcripts, 12/11/03) During a lesson that focused on providing accurate updated information to the students regarding the three African lakes, students worked collaboratively to read an article about the lake and prepared to teach other students about the lake 172

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they were studying. The following provided a brief look at how this was implemented in Tammy's classroom. You are going to study together as a group and then each group is going to trade the members of the group, so that the new groups will have two in the group. Everybody in the group is going to teach everybody else. In this group you are all going to teach Lake Tanganyika and you are going to learn about the other two lakes. (Transcripts, 12/18/03) Student Initiated Investigations. The entire African Cichlid Investigation unit was student-initiated. Students led the decisions regarding the question under investigation and experimental design. Students conducted their investigations and analyzed their results. The unit was completed through communicating their results in a written lab report. Developing a Question For Investigation. As mentioned previously, students were randomly assigned groups of four for the African Cichlid Investigation. Tammy began the unit by having the class brainstorm questions they had about the cichlids and listed them on the board. After generating this list, Tammy asked her students, "How many of these questions could you probably get an answer to it you looked it up, in a book, on the Internet?" As the students answered, Tammy placed a check by the questions. Then Tammy asked, "Which of these questions would it be possible to test on our tank?'' As the students responded, Tammy circled those questions. This student-generated list was used to assist students in determining their own investigation question for the project (Field 173

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Notes 12/15/03). Through fostering class discussion and eliciting student responses, Tammy provided potential researchable questions for her students to investigate. Procedures. After student groups determined their question for investigation, students needed to decide the procedures for conducting their investigation in a scientific manner. Tammy used the Direction Game to assist students in understanding how procedures need to be written clearly so the investigation can be replicated by others. The following passage, described the Direction Game and how Tammy used this in her classroom. One student went into the hallway while Tammy drew a diagram of a house on the board. Tammy had the students practice giving her directions on how to draw the house and modeled how difficult it was to draw exactly what the students said. After a few minutes of practice verbalizing clear and concise directions, the student came back into class and attempted to draw the picture, based on the class directions. After a few attempts, students quickly realized the importance of clear, concise directions. This activity provided a clear model for students as they began writing clear procedures for their investigation (Field Notes 12/3/03). Data Gathering. After students designed their investigation, they began collecting data to answer their question about the cichlids. Observation was the primary data collection technique used during this unit. In order for students to gain practice in observation skills, Tammy had the class sit around the fish tank and observe the fish. Students were required to choose one fish and observe its' 174

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physical characteristics for about five minutes. She asked the students to record a physical description of the one fish that each student choose. Afterwards, students read their recorded observations about their fish and classmates were challenged to determine which fish was observed. Students quickly realized the importance of recording accurate, clear observations. It was challenging to pick out one fish intermixed with about fifty others. After practicing physical observations about their fish, students again observed the same fish and recorded behavioral observations relevant to their fish. Again, this was a clear lesson on the importance of recording accurate observations when collecting data (Field Notes 1/5/04). Tammy allowed three days for data collection regarding the student investigations on the cichlids. Groups collaborated to determine data gathering procedures and perform the investigation. Each group was given a block of time during the class to collect their data and record their results. This provided students opportunities to practice gathering accurate data and do an authentic science investigation (Field Notes 12/5/03, 12/8/03, 12/9/03). Analysis. After students collected data regarding their cichlid investigation, they were required to create a graph and analyze the data to draw conclusions. Each group generated a graph depicting their data and wrote a conclusion based on their results (Field Notes 12/10/03). As described earlier, each student was required to write their own conclusion and the students worked collaboratively to take the best 175

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of each of the four conclusions to develop a group conclusion. This opportunity fostered individual analysis and group analysis. Communicating. Opportunities were provided for students to share their thoughts throughout the entire unit. As described previously, potential investigation questions were generated by the class and used to guide groups in determining a researchable question. During the beginning stages of question development, each group was required to come up with three possible questions for investigation. Students then shared their potential questions with the class and gained input from classmates regarding their question. After getting feedback from the class, groups determined the one question they would pursue during this project (Field Notes 12/2/03). The fmal product for this unit incorporated a collaboratively written lab report. As described earlier, students worked individually to write a conclusion and then collaboratively with the members in their group to tum in a written formal product (Field Notes 12/11103). When first speaking with Tammy about her unit plan she had outlined that the last day of the class would incorporate the students presenting their investigation to the class. As the unit proceeded, time became a factor and the presentations were not a possibility. 176

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Integration The third major theme emerging in the data incorporated integration of other content areas as a forum for learning. Literacy, mathematics, social studies and technology played major roles in the implementation of the African Cichlid Investigation project. Literacy. During one lesson, Tammy used a story to build background information about the three African lakes that the students were studying. Tammy read the story to students and used this as a forum for building vocabulary. During the lesson Tammy was conscious of scientific vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to her students. A pattern emerged as she read The Story of the Lake. As she was reading, she would stop and ask students if they knew the vocabulary word, provided opportunities for students to share their thoughts, and then clarified. One example was the use of the terms "flora and fauna." Tammy clarified these terms in the following statement. ... it's a scientific term anybody have a guess, flora and fauna ofthe lake .... it actually means all of the animals and plants that are indigenous to the lake that live around the lake." (Field Notes 11121103). This pattern continued throughout the entire story as Tammy provided background and understanding about the habitat and environment of the lakes. Tammy used a variety of graphic organizers to assist students in data gathering and writing lab reports. During the Mouth Adaptation lesson previously described, a data table listing the four foods used and the four types of"eaters" was 177

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provided to aid in data collection (Document 4, 11124/03). A graphic organizer outlining the fmal format for the lab report was also used to assist students in organizing their investigation. Students were required to include their problem question, hypothesis, procedure, materials, results and conclusions. (Document 8, 12/11/03). Mathematics. Tammy provided numerous opportunities that integrated mathematics into the African Cichlid Investigation unit. As mentioned previously, students were required to graph the data they collected while conducting their investigation. During an introductory lesson about the African lakes, Tammy used the surface area, depth, and volume to describe each of the lakes. While discussing these mathematical concepts with the students, Tammy quickly realized that her students were having difficulty comprehending these concepts. She decided to use meter sticks and tape to create a representation of a cubic meter. This model was an eye opener for her students as they saw the actual representation of a cubic meter and visualized the amount of water each lake holds. "Lake Tanganyika has 17, 800,000 square meters of water, 18 million of these. Victoria has almost two million, and Malawi has eight million." (Transcripts, 12/18/03). During the data collection days, Tammy taught mini lessons about relevant topics specific to African lakes. Tammy gave the students an assignment each day, to work on while other groups of students were collecting data. On the first day, students completed an activity called Swahili Math. Students were given a 178

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worksheet that contained mathematical problems written in the Swahili language and a code that indicated the Swahili numbers. This activity provided students with a glimpse of the language of people in Africa and integrated mathematical concepts (Field Notes 12/8/03). A second assignment during the data collection days consisted of students graphing information representing the number of cichlid species found in the lake. Tammy provided each student with a data table representing the number of cichlids caught from 1968 through 1991. Students used this information to create a graph of the various fish species during this time period (Field Notes 12/9/03). Social Studies. Tammy also integrated social studies concepts in a variety of ways. To begin the unit, Tammy had students use a world map to locate and label various geographical locations around the world and relevant to the area in Africa and the natural habitat ofthe cichlids. Tammy also used the story, previously described to teach about the culture and people around the lakes. She described the culture around the lake in the following passage. There was a huge population of people that started to come in to live around the shores. They all came for the fishing. People lived on these fish. They would catch the cichlids. Forty percent of the meat and the animal protein for the people around the lake were from these fish. So they would catch, dry them out and that would be a lot of their food source. Now, some people decided this lake would be great for commercial type fishing. If they had the right fish to catch. So they had something called the Nile Perch that was about this long (outstretching her arms) and they introduced it into the lake. Guess 179

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what it ate? The cichlids. What do you think will happen to the food for the people? (Transcripts, 11121/03) This lesson provided students with a view and appreciation for the African culture and the importance of the cichlid population for people. Another lesson presented during the data collection days was a geography and culture activity. Students were given clues and used maps of Africa to locate specific places while learning about the culture and geography of Africa. The following are examples of two of the problems students needed to solve. I am located in Tanzania. I am where Mary Leakey worked. I am where fossil remains ofhuman ancestors 2 million years old were found in 1959. I am the name for a group of three countries (Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda). I include people who speak English and Arabic. I grow coffee, tea and cashew nuts (Document 6, 12/5/03). Technology. As mentioned previously, Tammy used technology throughout this unit to develop background knowledge. Tammy used technology and Internet searches before presenting information to her students and to develop her own knowledge regarding African cichlids. She found appropriate background information regarding the volume, depth and surface area of each of the lakes and she used the Internet to learn about the physical characteristics and vocabulary of fish before presenting it, via the Internet, to her students (Field Notes 11/21103). 180

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Another example of incorporating technology into the classroom included a video on cichlids. In order to provide realistic background information about cichlids, Tammy used a National Geographic video called Jewels of the Rift. Heart of Africa. This video gave the students a realistic view of cichlids in their own environment including various lakes in Africa (Field Notes 12/17/03). Tammy integrated many topics into the African Cichlid Investigation. Opportunities for literacy, mathematics, social studies and technology were relevant throughout the entire project. Fostering Student Success The fmal theme relevant in Tammy's practice was fostering student success, primarily through organizational strategies and teacher guidance. Tammy modeled organizational skills for her students in a variety of ways. Each student was given a folder, specific for this class, in which they kept their assignments, data collected during the investigation and background information provided by Tammy. Each class began with students getting their folders, which were kept in a classroom at all times. Each group kept their folders together to assist in the organizational process (Field Notes 11/21/03). Tammy used organizational strategies to assist students during the data collection process. In order to facilitate five groups of data collection regarding different investigations, Tammy assigned a block of time during each class for each 181

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group to gather data relevant to their investigation. This process allowed students to be prepared and effective during their data collection time (Field Notes 12/ 3/03). Tammy's primary role during this unit was to provide guidance and feedback on a daily basis to her students. Each day, during the question development phase, planning and design phase, data collection phase and analysis phase of the project, Tammy met privately with each group to answer questions and guide students through their investigations. This was an important aspect of this project when each group was investigating a different aspect of cichlid behavior (Field Notes 12/8/03). Fostering student success was an important theme during the implementation of the African Cichlid Investigation project. Tammy used organizational strategies and provided guidance in order to make this project successful for her students. In order to determine patterns in Tammy's teaching, Table 6.2 was constructed that displays a summary of the science experiences offered throughout this unit. Tammy began the scientific method unit with triggering prior knowledge and brainstorming question for investigation. A focus of building background knowledge was fostered with real world examples through integration of other content areas. Students were provided opportunities to do authentic science investigations. Tammy continued building background knowledge through observations and questioning strategies using real world examples along the way. Opportunities for communicating scientific ideas and collaboration were 182

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incorporated throughout the unit. The unit ended with a project-based formal investigation lab report. Table 6.2 Science Experiences During Tanuny's Class Triggering Prior Knowledge Brainstonning Questions Building Background Knowledge with Real World examples through Integration of Social Studies, Mathematics, Literacy and Technology Students Do (experience) a teacher directed investigation (mouth shapes) (practice observing fish) Problem Question (teacher directed/student motivated) Data Gathering through Observation Students Do a Student Initiated Investigation Problem Question (student initiated) Student designed Gathering Data Analysis through Integration of Mathematics and Literacy Communicating Results through Literacy Upon analysis ofTanuny's implementation of inquiry within her classroom, the data showed a pattern of teaching practice. Figure 6.1 displays Tammy's pattern of teaching this particular unit involving student-initiated inquiry projects involving an aquarium of African cichlids. Tanuny began the unit with triggering prior knowledge and brainstonning student generated questions regarding the cichlids. She developed background knowledge through literacy, mathematics, social studies and technology. While developing background knowledge, Tammy also incorporated a variety of real world and student-centered examples. The next phase of instruction included providing students with opportunities to do authentic 183

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science. Then Tammy continued building background knowledge using a different strategy. She continued with this process until students were able to analyze and communicate their results, primarily through literacy. Figure 6.1 Tammy's Teaching Cycle for the African Cichlid Investigation Develop Background Knowledge through Literacy, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Technology and incorporating Real World and Student Centered Examples ______ Students Do Authentic Science Analyze Results through Mathematics and Literacy Communicate Results through Literacy Do Practice and Beliefs Match? The fmal question of this study was determining if Tammy's teaching practice and Tammy's reported beliefs match. In other words, does Tammy practice what she preaches? Table 6.3 depicts Tammy's self-reported beliefs and observed practice and shows that Tammy does practice as she believes. The main themes of Tammy's beliefs consisted of: a) motivation and fostering excitement in her students, b) student-centered instruction and c) integration. These themes appear regularly in Tammy's practice in a variety of ways. 184

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Table 6.3 Tammy's Beliefs and Practice Reported Beliefs Observed Practice Motivating Students Student Initiated Investigation Doing Science Mouth Adaptation Investigation Students choose, plan, carry out, and analyze own investigations Real World Application Authentic investigation regarding cichlids Real Life examples are provided throughout instruction Story of Lake Victoria Student Centered Instruction KWL Use of visuals and models Use of hands on materials and activities Students make decisions regarding investigations Integration: Literacy Story of Lake Victoria Graphic Organizer for Mouth Adaptations Graphic Organizer for formal lab re_!)_ort Mathematics Graphing the Story of the Lake Graphing results of investigation Swahili Math Social Studies African Lake Cichlid Habitat Culture and Geography Clues Technology Cichlid Physical Characteristics National Geographic Video Goals for students: Students analyze investigation through Ability to analyze investigations writing conclusions Graphing the Story of the Lake Ability to communicate about Students communicate results and investigations conclusions of investigation through writing a formal lab report Demystify scientists Students doing authentic investigations Fostering Student Success 185

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Summary This case study investigated the background experiences, the self-reported beliefs and the observed practice of one teacher during an inquiry-based science unit. For this individual, background experiences were tied directly to major beliefs that the teacher identified. This teacher's beliefs were in turn directly tied to the observed classroom practice. Table 6.3 integrates these three aspects in order to look at the entire picture of Tammy. Tammy's experiences as a child were relevant in her beliefs about teaching. Curiosity was a major characteristic of her personality but not fostered in her school experiences. Tammy also described her lack of motivation because school was not exciting or fun. These traits are major influences on Tammy's beliefs about teaching. She wanted to make school motivating and exciting for students, not the type of place she experienced. Tammy's undergraduate degree and work experiences brought examples of real world applications of science into her beliefs. Tammy's teacher education program helped bridge her beliefs and her practice through collaboration with her clinical teacher. She had opportunities to practice, with guidance, student-centered instruction. Once Tammy began teaching, school expectations lead her to beliefs regarding integration, analyzing investigations and communicating scientific ideas. Tammy's practice incorporated these beliefs. 186

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Table 6. 4 Integration of Tammy's Experiences. Beliefs and Background Experiences Beliefs Practice High School Motivating students Authentic Science College Experiences Doing Science Investigation Work Experiences Real World Student Initiated Personal Learning: Real Life Curiosity Teacher Education Student Centered Student Centered Program Instruction examples Student Teaching Collaboration Student Initiated High School (as an Fostering Student example of what should Success not happen) Teaching Experiences Integration Integration Teaching Experiences Analyze Investigations Analyzing investigation School and District results Expectations Personal Learning: Curiosity School and District Communicating Communicating Expectations investigation results Teaching Experiences through formal lab report 187

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CHAPTER SEVEN CASE STUDY OF LISA: DISCOVERY BOXES Introduction This chapter is the fourth case study of selected middle school inquiry-based classrooms. The chapter will begin with a description of the teacher and how background experiences influenced inquiry teaching. The next section will address teacher beliefs about inquiry and how Lisa described characteristics of inquiry. The chapter will continue by describing the implementation of inquiry within this classroom environment. The chapter will end by discussing similarities and differences among Lisa's beliefs and teaching practice of inquiry. Description ofLisa Lisa had been teaching for six years. She began her career as a sixth grade educator, teaching science and math, on a two-person team and has continued to teach sixth grade in a variety of districts and buildings. Lisa taught two science classes and two math classes during my observation time period in her classroom. Each class consisted of general population students. Demographics for Lisa's classes were depicted in Table 3.7. 188

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Background Experience and Inquiry As indicated in the conceptual framework guiding this study, background experiences of individuals play a role in teaching practice. Major themes emerged relating Lisa's background experiences and relevance to inquiry teaching practice. Family experiences and her middle school and high school teachers provided role models that shaped Lisa's philosophy of teaching. Extended classroom experiences were apparent throughout Lisa's middle school and undergraduate program in environmental studies. Course work and student teaching experiences throughout her teacher education program, influenced her beliefs regarding inquiry teaching. Teaching Role Models Lisa's family played a major role in the development of a teaching background. Lisa's mother and father were both educators, and she identified school as being a "fun place to be." (Transcripts, 2/23/04). Lisa described how her dad was a role model for her as a father and as a teacher. He had a game for everything, a rhyme or a song. He had fun. I think my dad as a teacher was the best of him. I get that from him. I can be fun. I can be sarcastic. After school I would go next door and clean the boards, and school was always a fun place to be and have time with my dad. I remember the summers with my parents. So I always saw teaching and school as this really wonderful thing. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa described her seventh grade year as one ofher favorite times growing up. Lisa's dad was one of her teachers and this experience reinforced her feelings of 189

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school being "fun." The following statement also indicated that Lisa not only had parents as role models for teaching, but that other teachers were important role models during this time . . During seventh grade, my dad was a teacher on that team, so I had my dad as a seventh grade teacher. My science teacher was a good friend of his and at our house a lot. It was a lot of fun. When I see people :from school, they are like, "How's your dad? Do you remember how much fun we had in seventh grade?" (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa also identified her high school chemistry teacher as an important role model in her life. She not only saw him as a teacher but understood him as a person as well. I had a teacher that loved what he did so much, that not only did I think science was great but that I thought being a grown up might be okay too. You could tell he loved what he did and he made sure that every once in a while we had a really good time. That was probably a huge influence. He was a friend of my dad's too, so I knew him socially. He would come over Friday nights. I had the whole person view. I could see that the person in the classroom really was keeping with his personality, as a regular person. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa recalled specific events with her high school chemistry teacher that helped her to reinforce that school can be fun. We did lots of labs and I remember the first test tube babies had been made that year and so he brought in his own version of the test tube baby and it was like a test tube rack and it had a baby doll behind it and he had painted on his face, he was funny like that. He had a skeleton he let us decorate. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa identified this teacher as a role model for teaching math and science when she stated, ''I had him for chemistry and for algebra, that's probably why I 190

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became a math and science teacher." (Transcripts, 2/23/04). Lisa's parents and teachers were important role models and influenced Lisa's beliefs about teaching, which will be discussed in the next section. Extended Classroom Experiences A second major theme relevant in Lisa's background included extended classroom experiences. Lisa described her seventh grade year, her undergraduate program and her student teaching experience as providing opportunities to participate as a student and as a teacher in extended classroom experiences. In seventh grade, I was in a program that was geared to getting out in the community called QUEST. They did a thematic unit and there was a culminating activity for each. In the fall, it was early man and we would go to Mesa Verde for five days. Then, it was winter survival and we would go to the YMCA camp in Estes Park. In the spring, it was geology and we would go to the Sand Dunes. Plus we went to the Jolly Rancher factory and we went to the Wonder bakery. We just went everywhere. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa identified a series of courses that she took during her undergraduate program that fostered extended classroom experiences . . an upper division class that you could propose projects. He would take people to the Sand Dunes and he would offer like Geology 101 and they would go down for the weekend. It was a way for non-majors to get credits. You could propose a project. I took as many of those classes that I could. I went to the Sand Dunes and studied botany, the sand effects the vegetation, so I mapped it. We hiked and backpacked in Wheeler geologic area and did a study there. We canoed down the Green River and did some water quality tests and camped along the shore. I took as many of those classes that I could, so I think that just being out of the school setting is 191

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helpful and you take what you learn and you do some research and try to put everything together. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa identified these extended classroom experiences as helpful in putting things together that you learn. She also described a chemistry teacher during her undergraduate studies that focused on connecting science to the real world in a different way. The following excerpt described the impact of this course on Lisa's thinking about science. He was the first teacher that really connected science with world events. He had this wonderful story about the creation of the nuclear bomb and how the Germans had gone to the conference in Holland and they were talking about the morality of developing it for Hitler, ... German scientists got out of Germany through Holland and came to America to work with them (scientists) to develop the atomic bomb in the United States. And he said to us, ''How would your life be different today if Hitler had gotten the atomic bomb?'' It was the frrst time I had really seen how science had a bigger place in the world rather than a class where you were doing a lab. It had this impact on me that it was really serious and based on science. Technology and history and sociology, all of that had a huge impact. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) These extended classroom experiences and connections to the real world provided Lisa with a strong background as she completed her undergraduate degree in environmental science with a minor in botany. Lisa began work in the field as a consuhant and "wrote environmental impact statements" for a few years, until she decided to leave the field and do what she always wanted to do, teach (Transcripts, 2/23/04). 192

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Teacher Education Program Expectations Lisa entered a teacher education program that involved a two-year commitment in which she received an elementary teaching license and a masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a math and science focus. The expectations of the teacher education program influenced her throughout her coursework and her student teaching experience. One of the first classes that Lisa was required to take was an integrated class in which literacy, social studies, mathematics and science was taught by a team of professors and incorporated many aspects of learning that Lisa had identified with during her own education. Lisa described the most important aspect of this course as, "meeting someone who seemed to be the kind ofteacher I wanted to be." Lisa described a professor as someone that, "keeps kids interests at heart and accepts all students for who they are." She also described her perception ofthis professor's philosophy. Lisa stated, ... being serious about moving kids forward in their lives and having fun." (Field Notes 2/27/04). This experience reinforced the characteristics of educators and role models that Lisa had identified with in the past. This course also used an extended field experience during the very first class. Students were required to go "downtown and do anything we'd like" to bring back to the class to teach to the others. Lisa also identified a children's literature class that integrated literacy into other content areas and involved the creation of a unit to teach with students. Experiences and 193

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opportunities to participate in integrated curriculum and plan integrated curriculum were at the center of the teacher education program and impacted Lisa's beliefs about teaching. These beliefs will be discussed in the next section. Incorporated into the coursework during the teacher education program, were opportunities to observe, plan and teach with practicing teachers. Lisa spent two days a week for eight weeks in a third grade classroom and two days a week for eight weeks in a sixth grade classroom. Lisa identified the sixth grade experience as a valuable opportunity to understand the type of teacher she wanted to be. While describing the role model that her clinical teacher provided she stated, ... modeling that no matter what, you want to leave kids with their dignity. I think that was modeled pretty strongly. You could communicate your feelings about things, but you could still leave them (students) in tact." (Transcripts, 2/23/04). This model reinforced Lisa's experiences of teachers that cared about students. She went on to describe the teaching method of this educator. I remember, the ease at which my supervising teacher got kids moving in the right direction. Like, I'm gonna let you (students) take care of this. I've got this information at the beginning I'm going to give you and then just let them (students) go. I remember math being hands on and discovery oriented. I remember it being, like I'm not going to micromanage your time, I'm going to give you some infonnation, let you work with it, and wrap it all up together. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa identified this experience being different than other classrooms that she observed at the time. 194

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As opposed to a classroom where you are doing the same thing. Everyone can have a different experience, even though it's the same thing. How narrow are you going to get? I think, she (clinical teacher) was very broad in that experience and there are others that are very narrow and I'd look at the kids and think well, who is having a better time here. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Opportunities to observe other classrooms provided an in depth view into other models of teaching practice. Lisa identified an important aspect of this experience as learning what you don't want to be as a teacher. You also had ... models ofpeople you wouldn't want to be, like so controlling. They wouldn't let their kids try anything on their own, without controlling it to the point where it wasn't a unique experience for anyone. Everyone had the exact same experience and ... (the teachers') going to tell you what that experience is going to be. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Throughout this experience, Lisa planned and taught various lessons and incorporated a unit on acid rain. Lisa described her thoughts about how she implemented this unit into the classroom. We diluted hydrochloric acid and tested the ph and then we tested the ph of and then they ran the acid thru the soil and coffee filters and then we tested the ph of the liquid afterwards. They could see that some soils had a buffering affect and others didn't. The town meeting was the culminating activity at the end and they had to take everything they knew and represent the different interests ofthe community. It (the acid rain unit) was a lot of fun and a lot of work. I like the fact that it was diverse and they (students) had to come back and do that town meeting. I think that is the, "Where does it figure into the bigger picture?'' That's why I liked that unit so much. We did science but where does it fit into the community? (Transcripts, 2/23/04) 195

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This passage reiterated the understanding that Lisa had about connecting science to the real world. It also reinforced Lisa's experiences ofhaving "fun" in the classroom. Lisa also taught and assisted in planning a three-day outdoor education experience for these students. Outdoor education provided an opportunity for Lisa to plan and teach in an extended field experience, which again reinforced the importance ofthese experiences in Lisa's background. Lisa also reflected on her personal feelings toward teaching sixth grade students and what she witnessed from her clinical teacher. There is something to be said about chaos that has an appeal to it that satisfies something. Life is unpredictable and uncontrollable and I know that because I teach sixth grade. Whatever comes, we are in it together and we'll just muddle through and do the best we can. Hopefully along the way they ... learn a thing or two. That was modeled pretty strongly. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa recognized that her clinical teacher was interested in the needs of the students. This statement indicated the importance of building community within the classroom as well. Teaching Experiences Student Inquiry Projects. Lisa began her teaching career in a sixth grade classroom, teaching math and science. She recalled advice from her dad during the frrst day of school. She stated, "One thing I am extremely proud ofthat my dad taught me ... my dad said, 'Never do the power struggle."' Lisa used this advice 196

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throughout her first year of teaching. This student-focused approach to classroom management helped her be successful with students throughout her career (Transcripts, 2/23/04). During Lisa's first year ofteaching she took advantage of numerous opportunities that allowed her to incorporate student inquiry projects into her classroom. The first project she participated in was during the summer before school started. Lisa spent a week learning about the Wisconsin Fast Plant project. This project involved students in studying the life cycle of plants in conjunction with a Ukraine space shuttle mission. Students communicated with the space program as they conducted experiments on the plants on Earth (Transcripts, 2/23/04). A second project that Lisa became involved in was the Endangered Lake Fish project. This student-inquiry project allowed students to study and conduct investigations using African cichlids from Lake Victoria Students designed and conducted their own scientific investigations in the classroom. Both projects incorporated communication of scientific investigations with students at different schools through an email system (Transcripts, 2/23/04). Meshing Philosophy and Practice. Lisa identified the struggles of meshing philosophy and practice during those first few years ofteaching. She stated the following: 197

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I think there has always been a pull between what you feel like you want to do and what you feel other people expect of you. I think I have always had a strong feeling that I manage my classroom a little differently than other people. I think the first couple years, not that you're apologizing, but you are kind oflooking around and thinking, "What is everyone else doing? Am I really managing my classroom? How much noise is okay? How do I make them (students) accountable?" I do think the fust couple years when you do things like that (inquiry projects) and you are not experienced, the kids really don't have accountability. It happens as you get more experience is that you learn how to build the accountability in or to get to the point where you think, "I don't need them to be accountable for this." You learn where your limits are and you learn less about what other people think, and come into your own about your philosophy. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa's philosophy was at the forefront of classroom practice from the beginning of her teaching career. She realized quickly that student accountability was an important aspect ofteaching and learned to mesh that with her practice. Background experiences shape and influence what individuals believe about teaching and learning. Lisa's background experiences consisted of family and teachers as role models and opportunities for participating in extended classroom experiences. Lisa's teacher education program and her student teaching experience reinforced the importance of role models and classroom experiences that focused on individual student learning. As Lisa began teaching, student-inquiry projects and the struggle of meshing her philosophy with practice allowed her to build and shape her teaching. Lisa summed up her thoughts regarding the relationship between her beliefs and experiences in the following statement. "It (beliefs) was always there 198

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and I think what you do in our life is you meet people that remind you of who you are." (Transcripts, 2/23/04). Self Reported Beliefs About Teaching Inquiry One ofthe major questions driving this study involved understanding teacher reported beliefs regarding inquiry. Patterns emerged within the data regarding Lisa's beliefs about inquiry. This section will describe these patterns, beginning with Lisa's definition and characteristics of inquiry. Lisa's beliefs regarding her goals for students, roles for teachers, and constraints regarding inquiry will also be described. Characteristics oflnquiry Lisa's definition of inquiry indicated a student-centered approach. When asked to defme "science," Lisa stated, Science can be content and it can be a process. I think it's how the world operates, how everything operates, and they (students) can study it. I think science encompasses inquiry but it is also literacy and curiosity and content knowledge, vocabulary and relationships, and cycles. Science is a subject. Inquiry is a process. Science is a way ofthinking and inquiry may be a different way of approaching science. I don't think you can have science without inquiry because I think everything we know about science has come from inquiry. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) 199

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Lisa defined inquiry specifically as, ... a way of helping kids approach learning that is self directed, and based on their interests. And it's based on them being actively involved, not being passive, ... about learning how to ask good questions, and then how do you take your question and go out there and either research it or collect data .... run experiments that are going to help you answer your question. (Transcripts, 9/18/03) There were numerous patterns that emerged regarding Lisa's beliefs about characteristics of inquiry. Lisa believed that science teaching should: a) be student centered, b) incorporate collaboration and c) apply to real world events and issues. Student Centered Instruction. Lisa stated her beliefs about student-centered instruction in a variety of ways. Lisa believed that promoting emotional development and enjoyment, in a safe environment was at the heart of her practice. I'm very concerned with the affective part of the kids. I want to address their emotional well being. I definitely want them walking away having a better feeling about themselves, feeling like they've learned some stuff and ... I just want them to have fun sometimes. They can enjoy all of us being together. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa identified the importance of understanding students developmentally. The following excerpt illustrated her beliefs about a basic understanding regarding students. I think understanding where kids are at developmentally, not only cognitively but emotionally, morally and all ofthose, what we really learned in college, there's a reason why kids can't do things at a certain age, it's because their brains aren't physically developed to do that. A fundamental understanding of child development and all those areas, I think that is important. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa described what this might look like in her classroom. 200

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They are twelve. Half the time will be them moving. Some of the time, will be productive and some won't. I think they will be interested in each other. I think there will be some behavior that on the surface does not look on task, but it's social. They will work on their thing and then go over and see what their friend is doing. If you didn't know better you'd think it is chaos, but if you sat back and looked you would see what is going on. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa stated her beliefs about providing a "safe" environment for her students in the following passage: I feel like the kids have a pretty good idea where their box is, what the limit is and they are safe ... and when they go out of that I'm going to correct them but I'm not going to do it at the expense of their dignity. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa elaborated on her beliefs regarding a student-centered approach to teaching and learning. I typically think of Maslow's hierarchy. I think the very first thing they need is their physical needs met. If they have to go to the bathroom, they aren't listening to anything. They need their physical needs taken care of and they need to feel safe and secure. If you feel intimidated or have to walk on eggshells, your minds aren't going to be focused. Physical comfort, emotional comfort, and I think having them do things in lots of different ways, ... have them read it, have them write it, have them do it, have them see it, have them create things in a little bit different way, ... find six or seven different ways to demonstrate it (science concepts) to them. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa described the importance of "enjoying" teaching and learning and her perspective ofthe expectations of parents. It's not worth it if you're not enjoying it, for myself and for kids. I think a lot of parents on our team appreciate what we do for kids. They will be on other teams and they'll be spending two hours a night on homework and my teammate and I say, "We believe family 201

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time is important and we don't want your kid to have homework over the weekend." People actually applaud. I think parents are happy that their kids are happy and they have a reasonable amount of success. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa described how she builds trust with her students when discussing scientific concepts that may be difficult for them to understand. They (students) know I'm not going to lie to them They are going to learn more specifics about chemistry and more complex ideas than I told them. (She tells the students) "It doesn't mean I am lying, it just means I realize that your brains aren't ready to understand the complexity of it. I'm explaining it in a simple way that I expect you to know but know that in a couple years you will be getting more information. You just need to understand it at a different level." (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Ahhough Lisa believed that the emotional well being ofher students was at the forefront ofher practice, she identified the importance of reflection on her own practice. She stated, I still think there's a part of me that always has that doubt in the back of my mind, thinking maybe I'm not doing this in the best way possible. Then I look around at kids. Ifl look at other teachers I feel differently than ifllook at other kids. They'll (students) go, "I love science. We do fun stuff." (Transcripts, 2/23/04) This passage provided an example of how Lisa continually reflected on her own teaching and kept students emotional development in mind when planning instruction. Lisa made the following statement regarding how she envisioned her classroom. She stated, "I want it to be their classroom, not my classroom where they just happen to be." This statement summarized Lisa's beliefs about studentcentered learning and instruction within the classroom 202

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Collaboration Through Relationship Building. Lisa stated that collaboration was an important aspect of teaching and learning. She described how this belief was modeled during her student teaching experience and how this carried over into her own practice. Lisa believed that an important aspect of classroom practice fostered, "being a community of learners and having fun along the way." (Transcripts, 2/23/04). I think the relationship ... it was great, because it seemed like (the teachers) weren't alike, but it wasn't necessary to be alike in order to have a good a good partnership. To have some fun together and model that for the kids. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Collaboration was also important to Lisa as she planned instruction for the variety of learners in her classroom. I have really good ideas but a lot of time you have a personality that takes you in a certain direction and you need to move ten degrees in this (opposite) direction because someone else did the method a little bit differently. So the strength of that working together. Once you get a larger point of view, it works better for more kids. It works well for the gifted and talented kids but what about the kids that can't handle an unstructured situation? So what do you do in inquiry class with that kind of kid? What about the kid that literally has no question (for investigation)? Maybe if you had someone else involved in the process, they would have alerted you up front. What are you going to do with those kids that don't have a question? So I think there is strength in working together but, what if you're in a school that doesn't work together? (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa identified struggles of implementing inquiry into practice throughout 203

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this passage. Student needs are at the forefront ofher beliefs about inquiry and collaboration was one method for alleviating those constraints. The importance of working collaboratively as adults was a major theme throughout the interview. Real World. Lisa identified the importance of providing students with examples of real world applications to science. The following excerpt illustrated Lisa's beliefs about connections among different disciplines of science. I think the one thing is that it (science) changes all the time. I think that science is a process and knowledge changes and advances with technology. I think if you look at specific things, everything is connected. Chemistry is important to understand biology. Biology is important to understand social aspects. It (science) really is a unifying topic. In order to understand one thing deeply, you have to understand other things deeply as well. Like geology, you have to understand chemistry, chemistry doesn't really make sense unless there's something, like Dinosaur Ridge or medications. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa described how implementing inquiry-based teaching has changed in her perspective. I think what is different now is that people never got to experience inquiry unless they got a PhD. I think what's happened is that it has trickled down. Why not do it (inquiry) in a masters? Why not a bachelors? I think high school is a big block though. (My daughter) comes home with all these labs and I go, "Why did you do that? Why did you invert the test tube?" (response) "Well, cause the teacher told us." I see some gaps there but everything we do has some sense of inquiry. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Applying science to real world events and examples was an important belief that Lisa described. Integrating other content areas such as mathematics was also 204

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relevant throughout Lisa's interview. Lisa described an example of how she validated mathematics instruction into the lives of her students. I show them where they would use geometry and trigonometry. Always saying, "You may not understand where this is taking you, but know that we have a bigger picture in mind for you." They (students) can feel comfortable with why they are needing to learn things. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) The following section describes Lisa's beliefs about inquiry teaching. Major themes that emerged included her goals for students, the teacher's role, constraints and benefits of inquiry teaching. Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry A major research question guiding this study included self-reported teacher beliefs about inquiry teaching. The previous sections described Lisa's beliefs about characteristics of inquiry. This section ofthe chapter will describe additional beliefs that Lisa stated as influencing inquiry teaching in her classroom The predominant themes described in this section include: a) Lisa's major goals for students, b) the teacher role while implementing inquiry, c) constraints for teaching inquiry and d) benefits of inquiry teaching. Major Goals for Students Lisa stated her major goals as learning content, fostering the affective development of middle school students and promoting a love of learning. Lisa 205

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identified the importance of learning science content, especially with obligations of state testing as a goal for students. She stated, "I think that middle schoolers, ... part of a big goal too, is you want them to learn photosynthesis or the carbon cycle or whatever it is and you go into the content." She described and example of how this looks in her instruction. What they can take in, like chemistry, you really have to introduce a lot and say these are the really big things that I want the kids to understand and beyond that you need to provide them with experiences. I think it should be appropriate for their age, and then a little more complex. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) This excerpt described Lisa's balance of scientific content and developmentally appropriate practice. She also explained that affective goals are just as important as content goals when she stated, "I really want kids to feel good about themselves." (Transcripts, 2/23/04). The third major goal Lisa identified was fostering a love of learning within her students. I want them to come away with a love of learning, I want them to have that impression I had in high school. They (students) can look at an adult that is not so terribly serious all the time. Maybe science is not (the students) favorite thing or maybe math is not (the students) favorite thing but they can see where it might be important in their future. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa's major goals for her students promoted a student-centered approach to teaching. Lisa believed that her goals are directed by the needs of students and 206

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foster fun and learning. The next section described how Lisa identified her role as a teacher and how that looked in her classroom. Teacher's Role Lisa believed that one of the roles of a teacher was to foster organization in the classroom . . the organization and having clear cut expectations for kids. Like what do I expect you to do during transitions, when we are ending one and starting another. Those expectations don't change because one day you're in the front and one day you're in the back. If you are good at routines and expectations, then they carry you through your personal ups and downs so the kids can stand by themselves. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa also described her role as a facilitator and a questioner in the classroom .. observer, listener, thinking about what question I can ask to help them focus. Keep them on task, some kids want to quit. I think some of the higher kids are like that if they don't get an immediate result, then they shut down. I ask, "What are you thinking? What are you doing? What are you learning?'' Just asking them questions to keep them moving forward. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Constraints oflnquiry Teaching Lisa identified many constraints while incorporating inquiry into the classroom. School and district support and personal issues most influenced Lisa's implementation of inquiry practice. Lisa believed that a support system within the building with teammates, and within the district through trust was the ideal 207

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situation. She made the following statement regarding district level support. "It's ideal when your district gives you broad guidelines and steps back and trusts you as an professional to meet those standards, the way you think that's best." (Transcripts, 2/23/04). Lisa also identified the importance of a role model for inquiry at the district level and in the building. Staff development (is needed). It (inquiry) is not encouraged on a district level. There are no examples of it in the classroom or in your school. If you are a first year teacher, it's rare. Ifl was a first year teacher now, I wouldn't be doing this. But, ifi walked in and someone said, "I have all the stuff to grow Fast Plants" then, yea. You have to know about it and someone willing to help you. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa identified personal constraints of implementing inquiry into her practice And described her beliefs about reasons other teachers do not practice inquiry within their classrooms. I think a lot of it is a control issue, the fear ofthe unknown, out of control, what will happen if .... They (teachers) don't know how, they don't trust themselves. Just stepping off into the unknown is the bigger thing. I can see it (discovery box unit) next year and it will evolve. It will be better because I've taken the steps to do it this year. I don't think it's external, it's internal, once you make up your mind you can manifest anything physically. Once you reconcile yourself, the intellectual aspect of it, then I think everything else becomes a detail and it's just one more thing on your list of things to do. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Lisa also reflected upon what she needs on a personal level to implement inquiry and how that tied to the support from the school. I think a lot oftimes, time to process things. I've learned that I can trust myself. Ifl was in a place where you need to show your lesson 208

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plans and why you are using this ... if you were in that atmosphere, I think you would need more support. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) When asked about risks associated with inquiry teaching, Lisa made the following statement. ... pretty low (risks). You waste a couple hours, you have a couple kids that get nothing out of it, but again you have no guarantees that if you presented a video or lecture or prefab lab, that there is any less of that going on and probably a little bit more. I don't think the risks are that big, if you straighten it out in your own mind ... you let go ofthe control ... let go ofthe predestined outcome and you are somewhat comfortable. Let it be what it turns out to be and if it bombs, you say, "Ok, we tried that and let's go on." (Transcripts, 2/23/04) This passage described Lisa's beliefs about inquiry and confidence she has about how successful inquiry can be in the classroom. She also identified her personal thoughts regarding how she perceived inquiry on a personal level, even if a lesson fails. Benefits oflnquiry Teaching Although Lisa identified many constraints to teaching inquiry, she described how the benefits outweigh the constraints. Lisa described inquiry as being "comfortable" for her as a teacher. Lisa also identified the biggest benefit as developing confidence in her students. She stated, The kids know they can ask good questions, and they don't need to rely on other people to answer them (questions), they can answer them themselves. You can listen to what other people think to get 209

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information but bring in your own new knowledge. (Transcripts, 2/23/04) Although Lisa identified that school and district expectations and personal constraints influenced inquiry teaching, she did promote inquiry within her classroom practice. The following section will describe how Lisa implemented inquiry into her teaching practice. Implementation oflnquiry In order to understand how a teacher implemented inquiry into the classroom, an extensive period of time observing classroom events was necessary. Sixteen days were spent observing Lisa's classroom practice. As described earlier, Lisa taught two sixth grade science classes each day. This section begins by describing how Lisa implemented one unit of instruction focusing on inquiry in her classroom. I begin by describing implementation of a unit that Lisa developed in order to help students understand and practice inquiry and designing investigations. The unit began with a two-week exploration ofhands on activities that Lisa called "Discovery Boxes." This experience was designed to assist students in developing their own scientific investigation that would be shared at the end of the project. 210

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Description ofthe Inquiry Project: Discovery Boxes When first meeting with Lisa, she described her plan for implementing an authentic inquiry-based project with her students. She developed eight inquiry stations for students to go through and explore. She described that each station, or discovery box, would contain materials that students would use to explore and answer a teacher-guided question. After students explored with the materials available, they were required to brainstorm potential questions that they could use to conduct an investigation in further detail throughout the school year. She envisioned a culminating event, an Inquiry Day, in which students would share their own investigations with parents and peers (Field Notes 9/18/03). The unit began with the exploration ofthe discovery boxes, every other day for two weeks. During each discovery box day, students would investigate with the materials in one box and brainstorm questions in their journals for the entire class period. During the opposite days, students worked on a culminating project for the previous unit on ecosystems. The project involved students creating an organism that lived in a particular biome. Students were required to describe the organism, the biome in which it lived, and adaptations for survival. Students drew a picture of the organism and wrote a story describing the organism. A calendar, as depicted in Table 7.1, was constructed to provide a sequence of events that took place during this project. 211

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Major themes of implementing inquiry included: a) student-centered instruction and promoting curiosity, b) opportunities for exploring with science through doing authentic science and data gathering, and c) communicating ideas about science. Additionally, the role of the teacher through questioning and guidance was apparent throughout the implementation of this unit. Each of these themes will be described in the following section Table 7.1 Calendar of Events for Lisa 10/13/03 10/14/03 10/15/03 10/16/03 10/17/03 Introduction to Create an Discovery Biome/ Discovery Discovery Organism Boxes organism Boxes Boxes project 10/20/03 10/21/03 10/22/03 10/23/03 Examples of Examples of Discovery Organism journal entries Organism Boxes Project for Discovery Narratives Boxes ll/10/03 ll/11/03 11/12/03 Discovery Discovery Rubric for Boxes Boxes journals student assessed 2/3/04 2119/04 2/27/04 3/l/04 3/17/04 Review of Inquiry Student Student Students Discovery Contracts designed Reflection on Research in Boxes: investigation, Inquiry Library to Creating and data collection Project. Plan build sharing for future background Testable research knowledge Questions 212

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Student Centered Instruction Lisa fostered an environment that focused on student-centered instruction and promoting curiosity throughout the entire Student Inquiry Project. During the first day of classroom observations, students entered the classroom and immediately became interested in various materials throughout the classroom. Some students viewed various materials under the three microscopes set up. Others went over to a fish tank and watched the cichlids. Students went to a birdcage where they could see newly hatched fmches. Still other students studied the three large frogs located in a tank along one wall, and Jake, the rabbit, was brought out ofhis cage for a little exercise. 1bis pattern continued everyday throughout the unit. Students would enter the classroom and look at the materials and creatures around the room. The environment was one way that Lisa promoted curiosity within her classroom. Another example was during the Discovery Boxes. Lisa bought seven blue plastic containers that she labeled and filled with materials and directions. As described earlier, students completed a different Discovery Box each day. Each box was designed to allow students to explore various scientific concepts. Boxes focused on scientific concepts such as electricity, fish behavior, catapults, airplanes, boat building, roller coasters and structures. The Discovery Boxes provided unique opportunities for students to explore scientific concepts. 213

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Qru>ortunities for Exploring with Science Lisa provided numerous opportunities for students to explore scientific concepts. Activities promoting real world applications, and data gathering through the use of observations, modeling and diagramming were prevalent throughout Lisa's teaching. One example of a Discovery Box incorporated scientific concepts related to electricity. Students were given light bulbs, wire, battery clips, and batteries. Students explored with the materials to create a circuit in two different ways. When students completed the roller coaster discovery box, they were challenged to use foam and tape to create a roller coaster with one loop and one curve. Students recorded the amount of time it took for a marble to complete the path. Many students found it challenging to have the marble complete the roller coaster without falling off. This activity allowed students to explore and try new ways to complete the task (Field Notes I 0/15/03). Doing Authentic Science. Although each of the discovery boxes focused on students doing authentic science experimentation with materials, the Endangered Lake Fish activity provided an example of authentic science. Students divided the fish tank into four different quadrants and recorded the number of fish in each quadrant for five minutes. After students determined the most popular quadrant, they redesigned the experiment to affect the fish behavior to a different quadrant. This activity required students to gather and record data through observation. 214

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Each "discovery box" was set up in a similar fashion. Students read a set of directions specific to the activity. After exploring with the predetermined investigation, students were required to redesign the experiment to answer a different question. During the exploration phase, students recorded data in the form of observations, data charts or diagrams, in their journals. Upon completion of the investigation, students answered guided questions and developed two testable questions that they could investigate during a later time. This process modeled authentic science investigations. Data Gathering. Lisa incorporated opportunities for students to gather scientific data and evidence. A major aspect of data gathering encompassed the use of modeling and diagramming scientific concepts. Each discovery box investigation required students to draw a diagram or model of the scientific concepts. For example, during the structures investigation, students used spaghetti and marshmallows to build a structure, at least twenty centimeters tall, and record the amount of weight it held. Students drew a diagram oftheir structure in their journals. Data gathering was also apparent throughout the Discovery Box investigations. Students recorded data in their journals for each investigation. For example, during the flight investigation, students used a pre-made airplane and recorded the distance it flew in three trials. Students then were required to redesign the airplane and record the distance flown in three trials. Data gathering was also 215

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incorporated throughout each of the investigations in the form of observations. As described previously, students used observation skills to observe fish behavior. Communicating Ideas about Science Lisa provided numerous opportunities to communicate scientific ideas within the classroom. Journaling, questioning and student examples were the primary means of facilitating communication within this unit. As mentioned previously, Lisa used student journals as a forum for communicating scientific ideas and knowledge. Students recorded data results, observations, answers to guiding questions and created testable questions of their own to be used in a follow up investigation. After a period of time away from the discovery boxes, student came back to their journals and created a final testable question using an inquiry contract. This contract required students to describe their inquiry topic and question, list the supplies needed to complete the project and design the method for answering the question. Lisa used student examples to model expectations of the journals. After two days of discovery box investigations, Lisa collected the student journals to assess her student's progress. After reviewing student journals, Lisa decided to incorporate a mini lesson on journal writing the next day. She used examples of student writing and presented the examples on the overhead. Lisa asked students to assess the examples and reviewed the expectations of journal writing for the 216

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activity. This lesson served as a reminder of expectations for journal writing and as a model (Field Notes 1 0/20/03). Communicating scientific knowledge was an important aspect in Lisa's teaching. Another important aspect was the importance of Lisa's role while implementing this inquiry project. Questioning and Guidance A pattern of teaching emerged throughout Lisa's practice. Lisa used questioning strategies along with a level of support and guidance to promote students understanding of scientific concepts. While students were completing the Discovery Boxes, Lisa's main role was that of a facilitator and to provide support for her students. Lisa continually walked around to each station and checked on student needs. Lisa would provide additional materials, clarify directions and expectations, and answer questions when needed. Although Lisa answered questions related to organization, it was apparent that she did not directly answer the guiding questions for the Discovery Boxes. On numerous occasions, students would ask a question and Lisa would respond, "What do the directions say to do?'' (Transcripts, 1 0/13/03). On another occasion students were at the electricity station and asked Lisa what they should be doing. She responded, "What do you think it is that you are supposed to be doing? Well, look in the box and I bet you will fmd something." (Transcripts, 1 0/13/03). 217

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Lisa also asked questions to guide students throughout the exploration phase ofthe discovery boxes. For instance, while students were completing the roller coaster station, students were having difficuhy getting the marble to stay on the entire track. Lisa asked, "Where does the marble fall, farther up the track or down the track?" Nothing further needed to be said, students quickly began focusing on a different section of the track to determine the problems and explore with potential solutions (Transcripts, 10/13/03). As described earlier, Lisa provided a direction sheet for each Discovery Box station. Each station was set up the same way and included a list of materials, a list of directions and a section describing what students needed to do in their journal. Within the direction section students were given specific steps to conduct an investigation and then required to redesign the investigation to answer a new question. Sometimes the new question would be teacher generated and sometimes the new question would be student generated. Within the "In your journal" section of the direction sheet, students were asked to write the title ofthe station, draw a diagram or model and answer guiding questions related to the investigation. Students were also required to write two testable questions of their own. Lisa structured these stations in the same manner, which allowed them to be very student directed (Document, 1 0/13/03). Patterns, in Lisa's teaching, are displayed in Table 7.2, which is a summary of the science experiences offered throughout this unit. Lisa began the inquiry 218

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project with exploration. Students were provided opportunities to do authentic science investigations through data gathering. Lisa used student journals to record data, answer guiding questions and create two testable questions for further investigation. Opportunities for communicating scientific ideas and collaboration were incorporated throughout the unit. Mini lessons were used throughout the unit to clarify student understanding of scientific concepts using student examples. Table 7.2 Science Experiences During Lisa's Class Students Do (experience) a teacher directed investigation (structured inquiry) Problem question (teacher directed/student motivated) Student Explore with materials to develop understanding of science Students used journals to communicate understanding of science concepts and brainstorm new questions for investigation Mini Lesson to clarify student understandings Student examples of journal entries Peer assessment Students Do (experience) a teacher directed investigation (structured inquiry) Problem question (teacher directed/student motivated) Student Explore with materials to develop understanding of science Students used journals to communicate understanding of science concepts and brainstorm new questions for investigation Student Assessment of journals Students shared investigation questions and decided on one question to investigate for the student initiated inquiry project. Students Do (experience) a student initiated investigation Students use resources to clarify misconceptions about science investigations and guide their next steps for their inquiry project 219

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Upon analysis ofLisa's implementation of inquiry within her classroom, the data showed a pattern of teaching practice. Figure 7.1 displays Lisa's pattern of teaching this particular inquiry unit. Lisa began the unit with providing opportunities to explore with materials. She developed knowledge of scientific concepts using exploration of materials and hands on activities. The next phase of instruction allowed students to gather data through observations, questioning and modeling. Students then analyzed and communicated their results in their journals. Students also brainstormed further questions for investigation. This pattern of questioning, exploring, gathering data, analyzing data and communicating the results continued throughout this unit. Figure 7.1 Lisa's Teaching Cycle for Discovery Boxes Student Explore Scientific Concepts Using Science Materials and Hands On Activities To Gather Data through Observations, Questioning, and Modeling Students Analyze and Communicate Results Through Literacy Student Assessment Students use experiences to choose one question for investigation Background information developed through research/technology 220

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Do Practice and Beliefs Match? The fmal question of this study was determining if Lisa's teaching practice and Lisa's reported beliefs match. In other words, does Lisa practice what she preaches? Table 7.3 depicts Lisa's self-reported beliefs and observed practice and shows that Lisa does practice as she believes. The main themes ofLisa's beliefs consisted of: a) a student-centered approach, b) fostering relationships and collaboration, c) real world applications of science and d) the role ofthe teacher while implementing inquiry. These themes appear regularly in Lisa's practice in a variety of ways. 221

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Table 7.3 Lisa's Beliefs and Practice Reported Beliefs Observed Practice Student Centered Environment that fosters curiosity Affective needs Discovery Box stations Fun Student Initiated Inquiry Project Relationships Daily group work during Discovery Boxes Collaboration Sharing student examples Peer feedback Communicating student questions for investigation Real World Discovery Box stations Use of resources and technology to gain background information Student Initiated Inquiry Project Integration of literacy and mathematics Teacher Role Clear directions and expectations for each Organization Discovery Box station Facilitator Journal prompts Questioner Folders for Student Initiated Inquiry Project Summary This case study investigated background experiences, the self-reported beliefs and the observed practice of one teacher during an inquiry-based science unit. For this individual, background experiences were tied directly to major beliefs that the teacher identified. This teacher's beliefs were in turn directly tied to the observed classroom practice. Table 7.3 connects these three aspects in order to look at the entire picture ofLisa. Lisa identified numerous role models, including family, middle school teachers and high school teachers that fostered her beliefs regarding student-222

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centered instruction and collaboration. Extended classroom experiences also were relevant and consistent throughout Lisa's education. These main themes were reinforced when Lisa began the teacher education program. A professor and her clinical teacher modeled student-centered instruction and collaboration and Lisa's beliefs were reinforced and reflected upon. These beliefs consistently appeared in Lisa's practice through student-centered instruction, collaboration and real world applications of science. 223

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Table 7.4 Integration of Lisa's Experiences, Beliefs and Practice Experiences Beliefs Practice Teaching Role Models Student Centered Student Initiated Parents Affective needs Investigations Middle School Fun Exploring Scientific High School Concepts Clinical Teacher Promoting Curiosity Teacher Education Students Doing Science Professor Data Gathering Relationships Observations Collaboration Models Communicating Science Teacher Role Ideas Organization Collaboration Facilitator Questioner Clearly stated directions and expectations Prominent use of questions Extended Classroom Real World Doing Authentic Experiences Investigations Middle School Use oftechnology and Undergraduate research to gain Degree background information Student Teaching Integration of literacy and mathematics 224

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CHAPTER EIGHT CROSS-CASE ANALYSIS, DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS Introduction Standards-based education is at the forefront of educational reform efforts. Science related standards consist of content standards and inquiry standards. Many teachers struggle with implementing inquiry-based teaching practice into their classrooms due to a lack of understanding about inquiry-based teaching, and a lack of experience doing science in this manner. Providing teachers with effective experiences will help promote positive attitudes and beliefs about inquiry teaching, which in turn can foster effective practice. The current study used a case study approach to understand the role background experiences, beliefs and practice occurred in four middle school classrooms engaged in promoting inquiry-based teaching methods. In Chapter Two, I described the literature related to inquiry-based teaching beginning with a definition and describing components of inquiry practice. Literature focusing on teacher attitudes and beliefs was presented along with factors related to inquiry-based science teaching in a school environment. Following in Chapter Three, I explained the case study methodology used in this study. A description of the four sites participating in this study and population 225

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selection procedures along with the researchers role was also presented. Data management procedures and steps used in analysis were described in detail. The chapter concluded addressing the steps of dissemination of this study to the participants. In Chapters Four, Five, Six and Seven, I described the background experiences of the participants and the beliefs they held regarding characteristics of inquiry practice and inquiry-based teaching. Upon observing implementation of an inquiry-based unit, a clear understanding of teaching practice was ascertained and described. The present study was designed to investigate background experiences of teachers that promoted inquiry-based teaching practice, beliefs the teachers held and how these beliefs played out in the implementation of a long term inquiry unit of instruction. Because there were only four cases under consideration, generalizations are limited. An analysis of similarities among the cases can be valuable. This chapter will look at trends and similarities across the sites. I approach this chapter in the same way I approached each chapter, through addressing each research question, beginning with background experiences, continuing with characteristics and beliefs regarding inquiry-based teaching and ending with teaching practice. The chapter will conclude with addressing limitations of the study and recommendations for further research. 226

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Background Experiences Across the Cases Each participant entered the teaching profession with a wide range of experiences that influenced their beliefs about teaching. Upon analysis from a cross-case perspective, common themes and patterns emerged within all four cases. Opportunities for doing science, influences ofthe teacher education program, teaching experiences and school expectations and the personality of the individuals were common themes among all four cases. Each of these areas was influenced differently and on different levels. Table 8.1 displays the patterns relevant for background experiences across the four cases and will be described in the following. 227

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Table 8.1 Cross-Case Analysis ofBackground Experiences Themes Julie Angela Tammy Lisa Childhood through sixth ./ ./ grade Opportunities Middle School for Doing and High ./ ./ ./ ./ Science School Undergraduate Program ./ ./ ./ Internship Teacher Student ./ ./ ./ Education Teaching Program Experiences Coursework ./ Teaching Teaching Experiences and Experiences ./ ./ ./ ./ School School Expectations Expectations ./ ./ ./ ./ Kinesthetic ./ ./ ./ Visual ./ Sense of ./ Responsibility Personality Organization ./ Time for ./ Reflection Struggled in ./ school Verbal ./ Parents ./ ./ Role Models Teachers (as a student) ./ ./ ./ Clinical ./ ./ Teacher 228

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Qru>ortunities To Do Science Each participant in the current study, described opportunities for doing science as a key component of their understanding and beliefs about inquiry teaching. Although doing science was a key event, each participant identified it as occurring at different points in their lives. One described middle school and high school experiences. 1bree teachers described it occurring during their high school and undergraduate educational experiences. Opportunities to do science encompassed a wide range of experiences within each individual. Each teacher identified labs as opportunities to do science. Three individuals identified project-based science experiences as influential in their background and represented doing science. The National Research Council (2000) stated that professional development opportunities for teachers should include aspects of conducting scientific research while collaborating with organizations, partnerships with scientists and other teachers. In the current study, Julie had only been teaching for three years but her background included nine years of scientific research in a collaborative atmosphere. Julie was also one of the strongest individuals regarding her beliefs and how they related to her background. She was extremely thorough when identifying how her experiences influenced her beliefs and directly linked her beliefs to her experiences of doing scientific research. During this same time, Julie had opportunities to tie aspects ofteaching with students. These collaborative opportunities of planning and 229

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implementation lessons built confidence in Julie that reinforced her beliefs without the pressures that a classroom teacher faces. Julie also came into teaching with a stronger scientific based background in regards to content knowledge. The combination of content knowledge and opportunities to do science in a collaborative setting, allowed Julie to begin her teaching career with clear beliefs and expectations of students. Each of the cases displayed different levels of doing science. Angela had middle school and high school experiences but her experiences during her undergraduate program, which was science based, helped her realize that she didn't want to pursue a science degree and after one year, switched to an elementary teaching degree. Angela had the scientific content when she began teaching, but did not make the strong connections to her practice. Her opportunities to do science were only reinforced within the context ofher own K-12 experiences. Tammy's experiences of doing science were the highlight ofher academic schooling. Tammy identified "doing science" as the main force driving her to complete high school. She was not a strong book Ieamer and the science content held her back to an extent. Her undergraduate program helped instill confidence in doing science and build content knowledge at the same time. In this study, it seems relevant to discuss the importance of providing opportunities for teachers to do science, in a collaborative setting. The ideal situation would provide experiences as identified by Julie. Time and practice, doing 230

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authentic science, building content knowledge in a collaborative setting, with the assistance and guidance of scientific professionals. The problem with this ideal experience is the issue of practice and time. Julie was fortunate to have middle school and high school experiences. These years of academic schooling provide an important foundation to build upon as individuals become older and choose careers. In addition, an aspect that should be addressed includes the importance of providing college experiences that align with inquiry-based teaching practice. This would require some reconfiguration in the goals and expectations at the college level. Science-related degrees should align acquisition of the needed content knowledge and models of inquiry-based teaching practice. Reform measures typically focus in K-12 settings and need to continue in the colleges and universities, perhaps through partnerships with middle school and high school settings. The bottom line is that inquiry-based practice could be a focus for all students regardless of the degree individuals are obtaining. Without this expectation, high school practices and middle school practices will be slower in reform. Teacher Education Program Experiences relating to teacher training programs influenced participants of this study in various ways. Three teachers identified one or two specific courses that influenced their teaching and beliefs about students learning. Specific science related classes were not mentioned as affecting teacher beliefs or practice. 231

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Three of the four teachers completed a degree in a science-related field prior to beginning a teacher education program. This study also included a teacher that completed a teacher-in-residence program. This teacher had a non-traditional teacher preparation program in which she completed coursework simultaneously with her first two years of teaching. Two teachers completed a masters program in which a co-teaching approach, in a professional development school was a major focus. Each teacher identified the importance of the internship or student teaching experience on their teaching. In each case, the influence of the clinical teacher was that of a positive role model for teaching. Three of the four teachers described their clinical teachers as models for providing opportunities for doing science with students and student-centered instruction. In each case, clinical teachers provided a collaborative atmosphere in which teachers and interns planned and taught lessons together. Many teacher education programs have moved toward a co-teaching model for training perspective teachers. Ediger (2002) believed that interns and clinical teachers need to experience successful meaning making tasks, interesting and challenging endeavors, relevant feedback and useful knowledge and skills. In addition, experiences that promote adequate self-concepts and the feelings ofbeing capable of excellent science teaching are needed. Each of the cases described in this study, had positive feelings about teaching science throughout the process. 232

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Research has indicated that beliefs are instilled before individuals enter a teacher education program and thus hard to change (Nespor, 1987; Pajares, 1992). Ahhough the agenda for this study did not try and identify the period of time that beliefs were developed, it was clear from the interviews that beliefs about teaching were reinforced and supported through the teacher education preparation program, primarily through collaboration and modeling of an effective science teacher. Teacher education programs need to focus on providing positive role models of exemplary science teaching for teacher candidates. This potentially can be in the form of clinical teachers, one on one with a teacher candidate, or it could be incorporated in the context of a larger perspective. Exemplary science teachers could be used as co-teaching models within coursework preparation, providing teacher candidates with a "real" picture of how science can be implemented in a classroom. Providing opportunities for teacher candidates to observe and reflect on the realities of inquiry-based teaching practice may assist in alleviating some ofthe concern and developing more confidence within teacher candidates. Teaching Experiences and Expectations Each of the participants felt that teaching experiences were an important aspect of developing inquiry-based beliefs and practice. Participants described how lessons changed each year, making them more effective for student learning. This indicates that the teachers in this study are life-long learners, continually revising 233

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their teaching based on students, building and district or state expectations. Each of these teachers also made statements regarding how their teaching had progressed and became more effective and comfortable each year. The primary outcome of teaching experiences within this study was a pattern of practicing, reflecting and revising. Teachers realized that student and building needs change each year and continued to reflect and revise lessons in order to teach as effectively as possible. Each participant also identified the importance ofhaving support at the district level and school level in promoting inquiry-based instruction. Three ofthe teachers reported that the support they received from the district level and building level was a valuable aspect of their teaching. The fourth teacher, identified support but lacked confidence about what the principal really knew with regards to what was happening in the classroom. Having a support system, close at hand, aided these particular teachers as they became comfortable and developed confidence in their implementation of inquiry-based practice. One pattern that emerged was that each of the participants also stated that they would struggle with implementing inquiry-based instruction within a building that lacked support. They each identified situations in which this may be the case and not the norm. In order for teachers to develop and practice inquiry-based teaching, a support system needs to be in place. District personnel, principals, and building mentors are methods for providing such a support system. The second major issue is time: time for reflection and revision of teaching practice. Lisa, in particular 234

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mentioned this as an important aspect when trying new techniques. Revision was a major characteristic ofLisa and Angela's implementation of inquiry. Time for reflection and support structures for reflection would assist in the implementation of inquiry-based teaching practice. Personality Individual personalities played a role within this study. Each teacher reflected on how their learning style influenced their teaching. Teachers that identified characteristics of visual learning also identified teaching that fostered visual learning. Kinesthetic learners also tended to teach using a hands-on approach. Nelson (2000) found that personality styles influenced developmentally appropriate practice, even more so than environmental factors. Personality is not an area that can be changed, but teachers can reflect on how their personalities may play a role in their teaching and beliefs. In each case of the present study, teachers reflected on their personality and identified how this influenced their practice. Angela, for instance, described how she had an organizational, structured personality. This carried over into her practice and she focused on teaching her students organization and structure in order to promote success. One ofthe important characteristics ofthese teachers included their understanding of different learning styles, which indicated the significance of 235

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personality differences within their classrooms. Each teacher believed that they focused instruction to meet the needs of their students, regardless of learning style. Providing experiences for teachers to reflect and identify their own learning style, along with identifying the learning styles of their students is an important aspect of inquiry-based teaching. Inquiry lends itself easily to implementing all learning styles within a project. Final projects can include written work, a visual representation, or oral presentation based on individual needs. Assisting teachers in understanding the various learning styles and personalities of their students will foster inquiry-based instruction. Role Models Teachers identified the importance of role models in a variety of aspects. As mentioned previously, clinical teachers during teacher preparation programs influenced beliefs. In addition, two of the teachers studied had parents that were educators. Although these parents were not science educators, their influence on the teachers' beliefs was apparent. Interestingly enough, these two individuals also identified relationships with other teachers, and friends of the family, that were educators as well. These role models provided examples of teachers that were also examples of real people leading real lives outside the classroom. It is not realistic to believe that individuals with parents as educators make more effective teachers or practice inquiry-based teaching any differently than 236

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individuals without parent educators. The important aspect of this experience appeared in the form of identifying with educators on a personal level. In tum, as students these teachers felt that they were important in the personal lives of teachers. This concept was also illustrated in their practice. Teachers provided personal examples throughout lessons that gave students a glimpse of their personal lives. Cross-Case Analysis of Self-Reported Beliefs About Inquiry A cross-case analysis of the self-reported beliefs about inquiry revealed common and varying aspects related to goals for students, the teacher's role during inquiry and constraints and benefits of inquiry teaching. Table 8.2 depicts a cross case analysis of beliefs regarding inquiry teaching practice. Each theme will be discussed in the following section. 237

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Table 8.2 Cross-Case Analysis of Beliefs Regarding Inquiry Teaching Practice Theme Julie Angela Tammy Lisa Building Confidence -/ -/ -/ -/ Goals for Students as Scientists -/ Students Life Long Learners -/ Thinking Skills -/ -/ Facilitator -/ -/ Teacher Role Guidance -/ -/ Questioner -/ -/ Organizer -/ -/ Time -/ -/ -/ -/ Constraints School and District -/ -/ -/ -/ Expectations Develops Excitement -/ -/ -/ -/ Develops Confidence -/ -/ -/ -/ Students Become -/ Benefits Scientists Develops Life Long -/ Learners Develops Thinking -/ -/ Skills Goals for Students Although specific goals for students varied among individuals, a common thread of building confidence and instilling a belief that students are scientists was relevant across all four cases. Two ofthe cases identified the importance of students enjoying science and two cases identified the importance of students building confidence in the area of science. Upon analysis of these reported goals for students, a pattern became obvious. Goals that teachers identified tended to match the experiences that they 238

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were provided in their academic background and also matched the reported beliefs of the goals of the role models influential within each individuals background. Even in the case of Tammy, who did not identify with role models during academic schooling, based her goals for students as a model for what she did not receive and identified those beliefs were modeled during her internship. A second pattern that was relevant emerged that related teachers' identified goals for students with their identified benefits regarding inquiry teaching. Across each case, goals and benefits aligned which were fostered within role models throughout individual background experiences. This indicates that teachers have justified in their minds that inquiry-based practice aligns with the goals they have for students. At a deeper level, it was justified by at least one individual and positive role model, within their background. As mentioned previously, the importance of role models for teaching inquiry-based practice is a must. Opportunities must be in place to support leadership roles within the building level, district level and beyond to foster teacher leaders in the area of inquiry-based practice. Many school districts have one science specialist position that provide a role model for science instruction for kindergarten through twelfth grade. In an environment of data driven instruction and the restraint of time on one individual in such a inquiry-based teaching may fall by the wayside in professional development opportunities. A cadre of science teacher leaders is a necessary component for effective inquiry-based instruction at the 239

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district level and at the building level. Again, time and money are issues that are needed to foster teachers in leadership roles. Teacher's Role Across the four cases, the beliefs about the role of the teacher, varied from organizer to facilitator. This indicated that science teachers believed that organization of materials and supplies was vital in the success of inquiry-based practice. Inquiry is not easy, especially when it is based on student choice. Teachers need to be able to access a wide range of materials and resources to assist students through the inquiry process. Teachers also need to posses effective organizational skills for themselves. They need to be comfortable enough with their own organizational abilities and establish clear expectations and strategies within their classroom for students to be successful throughout inquiry-based projects. The role of a teacher has moved from a traditional, lecture type teacher centered format to a student-centered approach. Each of the teachers in this study, focused on student-centered instruction, but each teacher made remarks related to the perception of others on their classroom practice. This perception indicated that teachers may not be at ease with their role of facilitator and there is uncertainty regarding this role with respect to the perceptions of others. Teachers may feel out of the norm or exhibit anxiousness about implementing such lessons during an evaluation time period by administrators or others. Teacher leaders can support 240

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inquiry-based instruction not only in the classroom with teachers, but promoting inquiry practice with administrators and parents as well. Expectations of "effective'' teachers favor classroom management, most typically in the form of teachers disseminating knowledge to students. These stereotypes must be broken in order to foster inquiry practice, in a comfortable open environment. Inquiry is not a quiet, teacher-centered atmosphere of learning. Inquiry is an active student-centered process ofleaming, which includes noise and at times confusion or even chaos. A stranger looking in at an environment such as this, may only see the chaos and may not appreciate the high level of understanding that students are engaged in. It is important for teachers to feel confident in their role during inquiry-based lessons in order to educate administrators and parents about the importance of inquiry within the classroom. Constraints oflnguiry Time was a theme common to all four cases. Each individual identified time as an important commodity when implementing inquiry-based teaching. Time for planning lessons that best fits the needs of their students, time for reflection and revision of lessons, and time to practice all the aspects of inquiry-based instruction. Time is important for students to design, conduct, analyze and redesign investigations when needed. Process skills do take more time to learn and understand than traditional content-based skills. At the same time, inquiry fostering 241

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student choice also requires more time as compared to instruction that requires each student to do the exact same lesson, with the same results. If teachers do not believe in the benefits of inquiry-based practice, the time needed for such instruction would be enough of a constraint to keep teachers from implementing inquiry into their classrooms. Each teacher also identified the influence of high-stakes testing, that does not necessarily align with inquiry-based practice. When assessment comes into play, teachers tend to identify testing with content knowledge and feel pressured to teach content in place ofthe valuable process skills fostered through inquiry. Testing requirements need to incorporate inquiry-based process skills, which is more difficult to assess. Benefits oflnguiry Each teacher identified personal benefits relating to implementation of inquiry-based instruction. Two teachers described the excitement experienced while implementing inquiry. They don't want to be bored as teachers, which indicated that they are life-long learners and continually looking for ways to make their classroom fun and exciting. Each teacher focused on student benefits as well. Student learning and understanding, motivation, excitement and confidence were patterns identified as benefits. As mentioned previously, these benefits align with teachers' goals regarding inquiry-based teaching. 242

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Cross-Case Analysis of the Self-Reported Beliefs About Characteristics oflnquiry and Implementation One of the major questions guiding this study included the self-reported beliefs regarding characteristics of inquiry-based teaching for each participant. A cross-case analysis led to patterns of: a) student-centered instruction, b) learning by doing, c) real world applications, d) integration and e) collaboration. Table 8.3 depicts a cross-case analysis of the participants' self-reported beliefs regarding characteristics of inquiry and will be discussed in the following section. Table 8.3 Cross-Case Analysis of Self-Reported Beliefs About Characteristics oflnquiry Theme Julie __b.rlg_ela Tamm_y Lisa Definition of Student Focused -/ Inquiry Guided Developmentally StudentAppropriate Centered Learning Styles Motivating -/ -/ -/ Student Needs -/ -/ Student Choice -/ Hands On -/ -/ Learning by Exploration -/ -/ -/ Doing Labs -/ -/ -/ Literacy -/ -/ -/ Integration Mathematics -/ -/ -/ -/ Social Studies -/ -/ -/ Technology -/ Teammates/Staff Collaboration Assessment -/ Group Work 243

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A second major question guiding this study included the implementation of inquiry-based practice within the classroom settings. Table 8.4 illustrates a crosscase analysis, which found common themes emerging across all four sites, and within two sites. As with the other major questions related to the present study, themes were apparent but appeared in different ways among the sites. Major patterns included: a) doing science, b) student-centered instruction, c) collaboration, d) integration and e) communicating scientific ideas. Curriculum decisions, the role of the teacher and fostering student success were themes common among two sites. Table 8.4 Cross-Case Analysis of the Implementation oflnquiry Themes Julie Angela Tammy Lisa Lab Investigations Exploration Doing Science Student Student Designed Centered Investigations Real World Relevant to Student's Lives Collaboration Group Work Peer Assessment Mathematics Integration Literacy Technology Communicating Student Sharing 244

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A third major question was designed to ascertain if teacher self-reported beliefs match the implementation or observed practice during an inquiry-based unit of instruction. Throughout each case, it was reported that beliefs and practice match. For the purposes of discussion, each of these areas will be discussed within the context of each other. For instance, teachers reported that learning by doing was a major belief and implemented learning by doing in their instruction. A discussion of each theme will begin with teacher beliefs and lead to actual practice. Each section will end with implications of the major theme for inquiry-based practice. Definition oflnguiry Cross-case analysis indicated that each teacher believed that inquiry should incorporate students and questions with a purpose of solving problem. Three teachers identified student-generated questions and one described guided inquiry as more appropriate for students in middle school. This pattern was not surprising as I used the definition teachers provided as a basis for inclusion in the study. I was selective in identifying teachers that implemented student inquiry projects. Student Centered Instruction Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation. Student-centered instruction was apparent in each of the four cases. As described earlier, student-centered instruction looked different in various environments. Two teachers used the term "fun" to 245

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describe their beliefs about science teaching. One pattern I noticed between these two teachers was that they both taught in the same school district. It made me question whether the pressures and expectations at the district level or with parents influenced teachers in middle to upper socioeconomic areas. Are these teachers provided more freedom to have "fun" with their students? Although the other two teachers didn't use the word "fun", other words were used that have similar meanings, "motivating" and "enjoying" for instance. Each of the cases focused on developmentally appropriate practice for middle school students. Real life examples of scientists at work and modeling relevant examples ofhow science relates to adolescents and their lives was incorporated throughout each classroom. Three teachers provided student choice for investigation questions. Student questions were then student designed, conducted, analyzed and communicated to others in the form of written work. Analysis across cases displayed common themes of student-centered instruction including modifications for student needs and developmentally appropriate practice. Is this a result of inquiry-based teaching philosophy or middle school philosophy? The National Research Council (2000) described effective learning environments for teaching science as learner centered, and based on the skills, attitudes and beliefs of learners. This broad characteristic is a major force behind effective science education and should be fostered at every grade level. For middle school students, relating instruction to their world, through real life 246

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applications is a relevant aspect and should be incorporated into science instruction. Developmentally appropriate practice at the middle school level requires concrete learners to explore with hands on materials and should incorporate high level thinking skills, used during the analysis and application phases of inquiry projects. An important aspect of middle school education needs to take into account the individual needs of students and teachers need to understand their appropriate role in their classroom based on their student's needs and abilities. Learning By Doing Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation. A cross case analysis ofthe major theme involving learning by doing included providing hands-on experiences, exploration of materials and labs. Labs were a common term used throughout the study and in three of the cases indicated inquiry-based instruction. In fact, the term "lab" was used in conjunction with "inquiry" indicating congruence in the teacher's minds that inquiry-based instruction, implementing the scientific method and traditional lab reports are examples of"inquiry-based instruction." Are labs and the scientific method congruent with inquiry-based teaching? According to the National Research Council (2000), teachers' experiences generally include labs and lecture, which was the case in two of the teachers participating in this study. The only teacher that emphasized student learning and understanding through inquiry not in conjunction with the scientific method, was Lisa, who viewed inquiry as a 247

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process of exploration, student questioning, more exploration and designing investigations to answer questions or research. This is a more realistic process of authentic scientific research and provided the students with opportunities to learn that science is a never-ending process of investigating questions. During actual implementation of the inquiry units, two teachers implemented labs and two teachers implemented long term student-initiated projects. One teacher overlapped both of these views through classroom "lab" work and homework consisting of student initiated projects. Activity based assignments were relevant in two classrooms as well and primarily used to build background knowledge for students. According to the National Research Council (2000) inquiry is not only understanding terms associated with the scientific method, such as variables and hypotheses, but engaging in and continued practice with the process of inquiry. Experience and understanding go hand in hand. Within the context ofthis study, teachers identified an appropriate unit of instruction that implemented the use of inquiry. Two of the teachers identified their scientific method unit as the most relevant unit they teach using an inquiry-based approach. Within each of these classrooms, it was apparent that teachers connected experiences with understanding, using the skills and vocabulary associated with the scientific method as a forum. A longitudinal study of these classrooms would be necessary to understand the role of inquiry throughout an entire school year. 248

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Integration Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation. Beliefs regarding integration consisted ofliteracy, mathematics, social studies and technology Literacy was a major belief and described in different ways. Research projects, note taking and reading about science was discussed as strong beliefs within each case. Two teachers incorporated literacy primarily through vocabulary building, reading relevant articles, and writing lab reports. Each teacher used literacy as a resource varying from teaching research strategies to using a picture book to develop understanding of hypothesizing. Mathematics was identified as a natural part of inquiry-based instruction. The National Research Council (2000) described fundamental understandings about inquiry characteristics for students in grades five through eight and stated, "Mathematics is important in all aspects of inquiry." (p. 169). Each of the teachers in this study identified mathematics as important in their classroom practice. Mathematics was clearly integrated into the practice of the teachers participating in this study Opportunities for measuring and graphing data were the primary methods used during the inquiry projects. I was surprised that three of the teachers in this study believed that social studies was an integrating aspect of science instruction. It displayed the importance of connections to other disciplines and the underlying beliefs teachers felt about social studies instruction. One aspect ofthe integration of social studies apparent 249

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for each teacher was that integration was tied to the collaboration with another teacher, usually a teammate. I have to question whether the importance of integration of social studies actually is a belief or the resuh of a positive experience fostered by collaboration with another teammate. Upon analysis of the implementation aspect of social studies integration, during the limited time in each classroom, only one of the three teachers actually integrated social studies into their instruction. The use oftechnology was a common belief among two ofthe participants in this study. One similarity that these two individuals had was the decision to pursue a master's degree focusing on technology. Although they both felt comfortable with incorporating technology, they both used technology primarily for their own planning and instruction. Students were not provided opportunities to utilize technology within the classroom setting. In order to promote and foster integration techniques within inquiry-based classroom, an understanding of other disciplines is necessary. In addition, collaboration with teammates is a necessary component. Educators need to have a strong sense of the connections that can be made through integration of other content areas and technology. In order to promote integration, teachers need to be provided with professional development opportunities that foster effective techniques for integration into science classrooms. For instance, literacy experiences should directly relate to science classrooms and illustrate models for 250

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effective practice. Support systems that provide literacy leaders an opportunity to co-teach with science educators would greatly influence the effectiveness of literacy instruction into classroom practice. Collaboration Self-Reported Beliefs and Implementation. Two teachers identified collaboration as a belief related to inquiry teaching but each of them viewed collaboration in a different way. One described collaboration as student driven, through assessment and group work in class. The other described collaboration as working with additional teachers and staff members to provide more effective instruction for students. Both types of collaboration are a necessary component to science teaching and learning. Actual practice incorporated the use of group work in all four classrooms, mostly in form of lab investigations and sharing materials and understandings informally, during various experiences. Student self-assessment was relevant in two of the cases. In both situations students assessed each other and provided positive feedback. 1bis practice illustrated an effective model for implementing collaboration into classroom practice. The National Research Council (2000) described effective learning environments as those that foster a community-centered environment. Student sharing, class discussions, talking and analyzing scientific knowledge, should be a 251

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focus in science classrooms. In order to promote collaboration, time is a needed factor and precious commodity for teachers. With the introduction of high-stakes testing requirements, classroom time for communicating and sharing work is limited and many teachers may feel the pressures of covering content knowledge instead of using the time to foster community building, sharing and discussions. High-stakes testing does not permit group work and teachers may feel compelled to require individual accountability in place of group efforts. Effective methods for incorporating group instruction and sharing scientific knowledge must be incorporated into classroom practice to facilitate student understanding of the entire mqurry process. Time constraints need to be addresses in order for teachers to work collaboratively, planning lessons for the variety ofleamers in their classrooms, or integrating curriculum more effectively. Principals need to be creative when planning schedules, focusing on common planning times among staff that can be used in an effective manner to collaborate with others. Teachers should also be encouraged to attend workshops and conferences that facilitate collaboration and communication among other teachers dealing with the same issues. Networking groups of teachers will assist them in implementing effective inquiry-based lessons through sharing lesson plans and ideas. Cross-case analysis indicated that student-centered instruction, learning by doing, integration and collaboration were common elements reported in the beliefs 252

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of individuals as well as observed in their practice. Communicating scientific ideas was a theme that emerged in the implementation of inquiry-based instruction but not a major theme identified in the beliefs of the teachers participating in this study. Communicating Scientific Ideas Implementation. Communicating scientific ideas was a common theme across all classrooms during the implementation phase of the inquiry projects. Each teacher incorporated student sharing as the major component of communicating scientific ideas. Each teacher also incorporated written work as a predominant method for communicating understandings. Three of the teachers used the scientific method format and one teacher used student journals. It is interesting to note that communicating scientific ideas was not a reported belief that teachers identified as a characteristic of inquiry-based practice. It appeared that communicating thinking and understanding was incorporated throughout the inquiry project for these teachers, and at times, taking place on a daily basis. One aspect of communication that warrants discussion is the use of communication as a forum for sharing results of the student inquiry projects. In three of the cases, teachers began their unit with the plan of incorporating a class period for disseminating research to others. In two of those cases, time became a factor and the sharing day was not implemented. In the third case, the teacher stated that she recognized this was a difficult aspect of implementing inquiry and time 253

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Issues were a concern. However, in an attempt to overcome this issue, she announced to parents and students that the culminating event for the project would be an Inquiry Day where students will share their results with parents. She knew that this needed to be in place in order for her to be held accountable for providing a forum for disseminating projects with others. It appears that the teachers participating in this study did not identify students communicating their findings and analyzing other student's findings as an important or valuable characteristic of inquiry-based teaching. They didn't identify it as a belief and thus it was not relevant in their practice. They thought, on some level it should be and began with the intention of implementing. However, somewhere along the way, communicating became less important, likely due to time constraints. This seems to be an area that teachers need more support and validation. Of the four teachers participating in the study, two identified background experiences, which required them to make formal presentations oftheir research findings. These experiences must not be enough to instill the belief that this is important for inquiry teaching and learning. Upon analysis of other important aspects of background experiences identified in this study, communicating scientific ideas did not appear regularly within teacher education programs or among role models identified by the participants. It is important to note that teacher leaders and role models for inquiry254

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based instruction should provide guidance and support during this crucial stage of the inquiry process. This is an area that needs more attention. Do Practice and Beliefs Match? As stated throughout each chapter and validated upon analysis of major themes across cases, the participants in this study typically do practice as they believe. One area that teachers implemented but did not state as a strong beliefwas the communication piece. Fostering communication needs to be a focus. For instance, class to class sharing, a school-wide sharing day or an inquiry day. Three of the four teachers began their unit with a plan for disseminating student research with each other and in two cases, with other adults. In one case, the communication piece did not take place due to space and time issues. In a second situation, time constraints prohibited the student-to-student sharing day. Although a formal sharing of research with others did not take place in the majority of cases, teachers did require students to disseminate their results through written work. This seems to be a major aspect of inquiry practice that should be explored in closer detail. Why is this aspect neglected when the rest of the project is valued? Do teachers not see the value of providing a forum for disseminating research for their students? In this study, teachers planned for sharing so they apparently valued it. The issue seems to rest in how to structure activities such that sufficient time is available for student sharing. Time constraints seem to come in to play during the end of the project. 255

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Are teachers "burned out" from the length of the project? This needs to be explored in further detail. A New Conceptualization oflnquiry-Based Practice The present study began with a model of teaching practice relating background experiences, beliefs and attitudes to one's practice. Upon analysis of this study's data, a new conceptualization of inquiry teaching practice occurred. Within the context of this study, professional development was not a predominant factor in affecting the beliefs and attitudes of the participants, but the personality of the participants was identified as playing a role in the practice of these individuals. Reflection of one's experiences with regard to beliefs should occur on a regular basis. Professional development opportunities should incorporate reflection at the beginning ofthe experience, throughout the experience and at the end ofthe experience. Furthermore, follow up reflection of the experience should occur as teachers implement changes into their practice. If reflection regarding beliefs that an individual holds is taken into account throughout professional development opportunities, these experiences may hold more meaning and assist in reforming practice. Figure 8.1 displays a new conceptualization of inquiry teaching practice, incorporating personality factors of individuals and periods ofreflection throughout one's experiences, and related to an individuals beliefs and practice. 256

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Figure 8.1 A New Conceptualization of Inquiry Teaching Practice Summary of the Findings, Discussion and Implications The present study was designed to shed light on how background experiences play a role in teaching beliefs regarding inquiry-based instruction across middle school classrooms. This study further explored how these beliefs were carried out with the classroom settings. Major themes included: a) opportunities to 257

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do science, b) teacher education program expectations, c) teaching experiences and school expectations and d) role models as affecting beliefs of inquiry-based teaching. The beliefs and practice of teachers participating in this study aligned closely. Major themes included: a) student-centered instruction, b) learning by doing, c) integration and d) collaboration. Communicating scientific ideas was a minor aspect of implementation of inquiry practice but not identified as a major theme within teacher beliefs. Limitations of the Study One ofthe major limitations with qualitative research consists of researcher bias. From the conception of the research questions, through data collection and analysis, the researcher's philosophy and personal understandings of the topic come into play. One method of overcoming this limitation is by making this potential bias apparent. Through identifying the bias, the researcher can better control the limitation. One way that I attempted to control researcher bias was during the data collection process. I remained aware that observations made of classroom practice that I was passionate about could be influenced. I continually asked myself, am I "seeing" what is there or am I "seeing" what I think is there and what I want to see? I made a conscious decision to use my journal and field notes to capture the events taking place, but at the same time, audio taped every session. By transcribing the events from audio tape I was better able to code and draw conclusions based on actual 258

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words, rather than my interpretation at that point. Some may question, whether this was a wise decision, because at the same time researcher interpretation can be a strength, but I believe it added to the reliability of the data source in this instance. An additional method used to restrict researcher bias took place during the early coding stages. I did begin the coding process by creating a start list of codes, as recommended by Miles and Huberman (1994). I generated a list, based on my research questions with which to begin coding the interviews, audio tapes, artifacts, and field notes. As I sat down to begin coding, I found that it seemed unnatural and too predetermined. After struggling with this method of coding, I decided to start over and use the "open coding" strategy recommended by Strauss and Corbin (1990). By utilizing this method, researcher bias was less apparent than beginning with predetermined codes. An additional limitation of qualitative research lies in the generalizability due to the small sample size. In order to overcome and address aspects of this limitation, I provided dense descriptions of the teachers, demographics of the students and school, and a dense description of the school goals related to the study. These descriptions will allow others to assess transferability for themselves. To ensure dependability, I provided dense descriptions of the participants, methodology, data collection and data analysis for this study so other researchers can follow an audit trail of my methodology (Miles and Huberman, 1994). 259

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The Hawthorne effect may have played a role in this study with regard to the classroom teachers. A stranger within a classroom environment can easily influence teacher and student behavior. It was necessary to question, whether the classroom teacher was making choices regarding practice, based on my presence. Granted, for three of the cases, teachers presented me with a unit plan before I actually entered the classroom, thus validating that my presence was not affecting what they planned to practice. In each of these cases, the plan was carried out with modifications. This is not atypical of any classroom teacher and shows that on a daily basis, teachers adapt to the needs of their students. In all of the cases, teachers followed through with their original plans, regardless of my presence. In order to minimize the Hawthorne effect, sufficient time was spent in each room. The Hawthorne effect also comes into play in the fact that two of the teachers studied knew me before entering the classroom. This happened by chance as a result of the sampling process. One result of this effect was drawn to my attention, when each of these teachers asked for advice about planning a lesson they wanted to teach. I was careful to not influence or guide them in their decision and asked them to reflect on what their thoughts were and providing support for their ideas, instead of providing my ideas. The effect ofthe relationships between the researcher and the participants certainly may have created a limitation in this study. 260

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Recommendations for Further Research The most pressing research needed at the current time should include longitudinal studies of teachers and their process of change that fostered inquiry based teaching practice among in-service teachers. Research in this direction would allow educators to understand the important aspects of background experiences that Jed teachers in the direction of inquiry-based instruction. How do in-service teachers, with fifteen years or more experience, incorporate inquiry into their classrooms? What is the process of change that takes place for these individuals? It was interesting to note that in the current study, the years of experiences for the four individuals was less than six years in the classroom. This indicates that inquiry based teaching is slowly making its way into teacher practice. How can we promote inquiry into all teachers' practice? Each teacher comes to the field with ingrained beliefs and an in-depth look at teacher change could guide professional development programs for in-service teachers and guide teacher education programs for pre service teachers. Analysis of specific strategies and experiences related to doing science should be explored in further detail. One of the most disturbing issues that emerged from this study, was the lack ofunderstanding teachers had regarding inquiry-based teaching practice. Eight of the teachers interviewed during the sampling period indicated that inquiry was asking questions to their students and identified that they implemented this practice on a daily basis. Granted, an aspect of inquiry-based teaching involves asking 261

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students questions. But an important component of students asking questions was lacking in the majority of cases. This situation indicates that teachers believe they are doing inquiry and meeting the inquiry standards, but in actuality they are only touching the surface of inquiry teaching and learning. More research needs to be conducted that explores the background, beliefs and practice of teachers. As mentioned earlier, teacher leaders for inquiry are much needed. lfteachers like these are the current leaders, inquiry will not develop into a high level process. A study of inquiry-based teacher leaders would shed light on the important components of effective professional development for inquiry-based teaching practice. Longitudinal studies need to be conducted to identify the long-term affects ofthese programs on teaching practice. Studies focusing on teacher perceptions of student's abilities to do inquiry based teaching would provide deeper understanding ofhow inquiry is implemented with special populations of students including those from various socio-economic backgrounds. Does inquiry look different in different environments? In addition, the role of high-stakes assessment on the implementation of inquiry-based teaching practice clearly needs to be documented. Another important direction would be to look at the affects of inquiry-based practice on student attitudes and beliefs. The teachers in the current study promoted fun and excitement as goals for students and it would interesting to determine if students perceptions of science are the same as the teachers' goals. A larger study 262

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building on the current study could include if relationships exist between teacher beliefs about inquiry-based teaching and student beliefs regarding inquiry-based teaching. 263

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APPENDIX A SELECTION PROTOCOL 264

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Attitudes and Beliefs About Science Questionnaire Teacher Background: Including this school year, which best describes your experience teaching? A. First year of teaching B. 2-5 years ofteaching experience C. 6-10 years of teaching experience D. 11-15 years ofteaching experience E. 16-20 years ofteaching experience F. + 20 years of teaching experience What was your major in college? Degree: _______ Degree: _______ What formal experiences do you believe have influenced your teaching and your conceptions about teaching science? Your Attitudes and Beliefs about Teaching: Please indicate how confident you feel about the following aspects of your teaching. Please answer for how you feel about teaching science. (Circle one number on each line.) Not Slightly Moderately Very at all confident confident confident A. Your knowledge about the application of science to everyday life ........................ 2 3 4 B. Your ability to advise students about careers in science ............................... 2 3 4 c. Your ability to use inquiry-based instructional practices ......................................... 2 3 4 D. Your ability to determine the depth, breadth, and pace of coverage of material in your teaching ... 2 3 4 E. Your ability to develop an appropriate and authentic assessment tool ....................... 2 3 4 F. Your ability to supervise research projects of your students .................................. 2 3 4 G. Your ability to make presentations at teacher in-services or professional meetings ........... 2 3 4 H. Your ability to incorporate technology (computers, the Internet, laser discs, etc.) into your teaching ... 2 3 4 I. Your ability to mentor other teachers in the area of science I 2 3 4 265

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To what extent do you feel each of the following statements describes the kind of teacher you are? Not at Small Moderate Great all extent extent extent A. I am motivated to expand on the instructional techniques that I use ............................................ I B. I am motivated to change the way I use hands-on materials and manipulatives in my teaching ................ I C. I am motivated to use more technology in my teaching ... I D. I consider myself a "subject matter expert" in my main teaching field ............................................. I E. I believe I can truly make a difference in the lives of my students in terms of their choices for further education and their careers .................................... I 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 What do you consider to be your greatest strengths as a teacher? Please be as specific as you can. Think about both areas of content mastery and instructional strategies when answering this question. What areas of your teaching do you think need improvement? Think about both areas of content mastery and instructional strategies when answering this question. Beliefs About Students Strongly Disagree Undecided Agree Strongly Disagree Agree I. Students construct meaning as they learn science ................................. 2 3 4 5 2. Students use what they are taught to modify their prior beliefs and behavior .... 2 3 4 5 3. All students can learn science . . . . . . ... 2 3 4 5 4. The role of the teacher in a science classroom is to facilitate learning ......................... 2 3 4 5 5. Students learn by remembering what they are taught ..................................... 2 3 4 5 6. Students learn by recording and storing information ...................................... 2 3 4 5 266

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7. Learning science requires special ability which most students do not have ............. 2 3 4 5 8. The role of the teacher in a science classroom is to transmit knowledge .......... 2 3 4 5 9. Modeling science ideas through the use of representation (concrete, visual, graphical, symbolic) is central to the teaching of science ............................................ 2 3 4 5 10. Representations serve as vehicles for examining science laws and principles ........ 1 2 3 4 5 11. Instruction should build on prior knowledge. 1 2 3 4 5 12. Learning situations should be embedded in authentic problem situations that have meaning for the students ........................ 2 3 4 5 13. Instruction should promote the development of both conceptual and procedural knowledge ........................................ 2 3 4 5 14. Problems and applications provide an excellent means to introduce new science content ............................................. 2 3 4 5 15. Learning situations should involve the collection and analysis of real data, construction of a graph or visual display of the data, that most closely models the data ... 2 3 4 5 16. Realistic situations contain too much "messy data" for students to handle ......... 2 3 4 5 17. An important component of scientific thinking is the process of forming hypotheses or conjectures and establishing their validity both intuitively and more formally .... 2 3 4 5 18. Opportunities should be provided for students to present their experiments to the rest of the class ................................................. 2 3 4 5 Inquiry Teaching Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly disagree agree 1. I feel uncomfortable teaching scientific inquiry ..... 2 3 4 2. The teaching of the inquiry process is important ....... 2 3 4 3. I fear that I will be unable to teach inquiry adequately. 2 3 4 4. Teaching inquiry takes too much time .................. 2 3 4 5. I enjoy the lab period in science courses that I teach ... 2 3 4 267

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6. I have a difficult time understanding science ............ 2 3 4 7. I feel comfortable with the science content in my curriculum .................................................... 2 3 4 8. I would be interested in working in an experimental science curriculum .......................................... 2 3 4 9. I am not afraid to demonstrate science phenomena in the classroom ............................................. 2 3 4 I 0. I am willing to spend time setting up equipment for a lab ....................................................... 2 3 4 11. I am afraid that students will ask me questions that I cannot answer ......................................... 2 3 4 12. Science is as important as the 3 R's ....................... 2 3 4 13. I enjoy manipulating science equipment .................. 2 3 4 14. In the classroom, I fear science experiments won't tum out as expected .................................. 2 3 4 15. Science would be one of my preferred subjects to teach if given a choice .................................... 2 3 4 16. Teaching inquiry takes too much effort ..................... I 2 3 4 17. Children are not curious about scientific matters ....... 1 2 3 4 18. I plan to integrate science into other areas ............... 1 2 3 4 19. Field experiences are not necessary in teaching science. 1 2 3 4 268

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INITIAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Describe your teaching background and experiences. 2. Describe your definition of scientific inquiry 3. Describe examples of scientific inquiry teaching found in your classroom. 269

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APPENDIX B DATA COLLECTION PROTOCOL 270

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INTERVIEW ONE Describe any memorable experiences you have had in science as a child. What individuals influenced your interest in science as a child? Why did you decide to become a science teacher? Describe your science experiences during your undergraduate degree. What were your sciences classes like? What were characteristics ofyour instructors? How did they influence your ideas about teaching? Describe your internship/student teaching experience. What was the philosophy of your clinical teacher? What did you learn most about teaching science during this experience? Describe any experiences related to teaching? What was your first teaching position? Describe your teaching during the first year. What were characteristics ofyour science teaching? What did your classroom look like? What was your philosophy during the time? Describe additional years ofteaching science? Has your science teaching changed? If so, how? Has your teaching philosophy changed? If so, how? What does your classroom look like now? What goals do you have for your students in the area of science? Describe any additional college level coursework that has influenced your teaching. How, if at all, did each influence your practice? Or philosophy? Describe any school district professional development opportunities that have influenced your teaching. How, if at all, did each influence your practice? Or philosophy? Describe any additional experiences/opportunities that have influenced your science teaching. What does your "ideal" science classroom look like? What does "scientific inquiry" mean to you? How would you define "scientific inquiry?" What are the goals of"scientific inquiry?" What would an example of inquiry look like in your classroom? How do you implement this approach into your classroom? What is needed to support inquiry teaching? Describe any success you have had while using inquiry as an approach to teaching. 271

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Describe any struggles you have had while using inquiry as an approach to teaching. What benefits, if any, do you see for students by using an inquiry approach to teaching? What risks do you see for students be using inquiry methods? What is the role of the teacher during an inquiry lesson? What is the role of students during an inquiry lesson? What additional infonnation regarding inquiry teaching would you like to add? 272

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INTERVIEW TWO How would you describe yourself as a classroom teacher? What role model do you have for yourself as a classroom teacher? Describe a well-organized classroom. When you have your classroom running the way you want it, what is it like? How did you form this model of the well-organized classroom? How long did it take you to develop this model of teaching? What do you consider to be the founding principles ofteaching? If you had to write a book describing the principles that teaching should be built on, what would those principles be? How do you learn best? When you picture a good learner in your mind, what characteristics of that person lead you to believe that they are a good leaner? What is science/math? In what ways do you learn science/math best? How do you decide what to teach and what not to teach? How do you decide when to move from one concept to another? What learning in your classroom do you think will be valuable to your students outside the classroom environment? Describe the best teaching/learning situation that you have ever experienced. In what ways, do you try to model that best teaching/learning situation in your classroom? What are some ofthe impediments or constraints for implementing that kind of model in your classroom? What are some of the tactics you use to overcome these constraints? Are there any things at the local/school/state levels that influence the way you teach? What are some examples of this? How do you believe your students learn best? How do you know when your students understand a concept? How do you know when learning is occurring, or has occurred in your classroom? What science/math concepts do you believe are most important for your students to understand by the end of the school year? How do you want your students to view science/math by the end of the school year? What do you believe are your main strengths as a teacher? In what areas would you like to improve as a teacher? When did you realize you were becoming a good teacher, understanding that you were having a positive effect on your students and satisfied that you were doing the right thing? In reference to the teaching model or teaching package that you have developed ... if you had to divide that up into a pie chart, how much of the chart would come from 273

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undergraduate training, graduate training, your on the job experience, or anything else that you can think of? 274

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APPENDIXC DATA ANALYSIS 275

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Table C. I Table of Coding Pattern Codes Name First Level Coding A Assessment Evaluation Feedback Student Sharing c Connections Graphing Literacy Real life Problem Solving Models Background Prior Knowledge Clarifying Graphic Organizer Hypothesis Student Examples Apply Technology COL Collaboration Parent Communication Student Groups DO Doing Students as Scientists Tools Observation Design Experiment Data Gathering Analysis Explanation IP Independent Practice NOS Nature of Science Science Inquiry TG Teacher Teacher Guidance Guidance Demonstration Expectations Directions Personal Exam_l)les Q Questioning Probing Open Response Investigative Questions sc Student Differentiation Centered Student Needs Student Choice Visual 276

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