Inquiring into Familiar Objects: An Inquiry-Based Approach to Introduce Scientific Vocabulary

  • Hicks Pries C
  • Hughes J
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Learning science vocabulary is an often tedious but important component of many curricula. Frequently, students are expected to learn science vocabulary indirectly, but this method can hinder the success of lower-performing students (Carlisle, Fleming, and Gudbrandsen 2000). We have developed an inquiry-based vocabulary activity wherein students explore how new words apply to familiar objects, piquing their interest in the words' meanings, prior to direct instruction. Groups of students were asked to apply new vocabulary words to familiar objects set up at various rotation stations. The students were encouraged to play with the objects, discuss answers with their group, and write down the vocabulary words they thought best described each object. Since the words were new to the students, there was no credit for correct answers, making the students comfortable exploring a new topic. After the rotation stations, we led students in a discussion of their answers and followed up with direct instruction on the words' definitions. Here we give three examples of this activity used in our physical science classroom--one each for energy, simple machines, and force vocabulary--but this activity can easily be modified for biology and Earth science curricula. (Contains 1 table.) (As Provided)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Academic Achievement
  • Biology
  • Class Activities
  • Direct Instruction
  • Earth Science
  • Florida.
  • Inquiry
  • Science Education
  • Scientific Concepts
  • Student Interests
  • Teaching Methods
  • Vocabulary
  • Vocabulary Development

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  • Caitlin Hicks Pries

  • Julie Hughes

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