Reviewed by Deb McNabney
Science Educator - retired
The role of inquiry in secondary classrooms is effectively addressed in this collection. The 133-page book is divided into three sections: Science as Inquiry, Images of Inquiry, and Features of Inquiry Instruction. An extensive seven-page reference section is included after the appendix. The chapters contained within each section were written by experts in the field of science education, including secondary science teachers and professors of science education and curriculum and instruction.
In the Science as Inquiry section, the history of inquiry instruction and a framework for classroom practices are discussed. The Images of Inquiry section includes practical application ideas for various science education disciplines including Earth science, chemistry, field studies, and physics. Although these chapters address specific disciplines, generalizations to other types of science classrooms are not difficult. The Features of Inquiry Instruction section addresses critical components of successful inquiry instruction including accommodations for special needs students, the importance of interpretation and argumentation, the role of questioning and assessment, and the emphasis on evidence and reasoning.
As a practicing science teacher, I found myself mentally referencing this book during recent classroom discussions and activities. I embrace inquiry as effective science education pedagogy. Given the inevitable isolation of my profession, however, the focus sometimes starts to blur. This book helped to re-sharpen my commitment to authentic science learning with its practical discussion of inquiry.
Any science teacher would benefit from reading this book. It would also be an ideal professional development tool for a book discussion group and for mentoring partnerships. Preservice and beginning teachers would struggle to see the relevance unless they had been exposed to inquiry pedagogy as a student (an exception, unfortunately, rather than the rule). They would benefit most by inclusion in a mixed-discussion group with more seasoned peers.
Review posted on 3/10/2008