Evaluators also need to look for how the teacher uses curriculum materials, interacts with students to increase their understanding, and assesses student work and thinking in ways that influence teaching plans. Teachers can be asked to explain how student work demonstrates growth in student understanding. Talking to students can reveal their understanding of the content and the methods of inquiry they are using. Lesson plans and the instructional model being used can indicate whether students are actively engaged in inquiry.
Teaching science through inquiry requires a new way of engaging students in learning. It therefore requires that all educators take on the role of change agents. To foster the changes in teaching required by inquiry-based approaches, administrators and other leaders need to provide a wide array of support — from opportunities to learn, to materials and equipment, to moral support, encouragement, and “running interference.” Without such support, inquiry-based science programs are unlikely to succeed and even less likely to be sustained. With it, all students are much more likely to understand, appreciate, and actively participate in the scientific world.