Reflection: Day 1: Colors of the Rainbow - Section 3: Explore (Safety and procedures)


I chose guided inquiry for this lesson because it is the first lab of the year. At this point in the year students are just getting familiarized with performing labs, and quite honestly need as much help as possible getting through a lab.  As my students get more comfortable with the process of inquiry, I begin to change the lab investigations to more of an open inquiry. 

There are many interpretations of what inquiry is and how to go about implementing it into a lesson.   I believe the basic idea behind guided inquiry is that the teacher provides the question that is going to be investigated and helps the students through a set of procedures that will result in the collection of data that can be analyzed. This differs from a typical “cookbook” lab investigation, or structured inquiry, by having my students construct a data table, working out a set of procedures as a class and they draw a conclusion from the collected data.

Ultimately, after several guided inquiry investigations the students will progress towards performing open inquiry investigations where they state the problem (or ask a question), design an investigation based on the question, collect their own data and draw a conclusion from the data.  This process is much more student-centered and requires a better set of critical thinking skills.  Having students ask the questions that guide their own investigations is the key to open inquiry.  I usually will not have my students perform open inquiry till second semester because it truly takes practice and if implemented too early students get discouraged and learn very little from labs. It can actually set the process of learning backwards, and tell students that science is unstructured and is just a guessing game.

If you are interested in learning more about inquiry, a good resource for information is the NSTA website.  They have a bunch of books and articles that can help you implement inquiry into your lessons.

  Types of Inquiry
  Types of Inquiry
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Day 1: Colors of the Rainbow

Unit 1: Unit 1-The Atom
Lesson 7 of 11

Objective: SWBAT explain our current understanding of the atom by citing evidence from experiments.

Big Idea: The Bohr model illustrates the presence of electrons which can be demonstrated by the different colors various metal salts produce in flame tests.

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