2010 Knowledge Building Summer Institute: New Assessments and Environments for Knowledge Building. August 3-6, 2010 - Toronto, Canada

Going deeper one step at a time:
The development of a scientific inquiry process in a high school setting

Suzanne C. De Froy & Maria Sawicki


This paper examines the first phase of a design experiment that will use principle based professional development as a means to promote a knowledge building culture. A partnership was created between a university researcher, a classroom teacher and her grade eleven students who recognized the potential of a curriculum based collaborative project as a means to deepen understanding by fostering inquiry and understanding of the scientific method. Participants volunteered to be part of this study and included grade eleven students in two different subject areas (N=30 from a total cohort of 32) who were required to investigate a scientific topic of their choice. Three data sources are documented in this initial phase of the study: 1) teacher notes and observations, 2) detailed individual student logs, and 3) student group findings after conducting their experiments. Trails of evidence will illustrate links between the discourse generated among participants and efforts to implement reform, bridging practice with theory. Implications for the next phase of this particular design experiment, the building of community and curriculum decision-making is presented.
Link to draft paper