• Are student outcomes listed?

  • Are some of these inquiry outcomes?

Look for student investigations or activities.

  • Where are they located? Note that in some materials, student investigations are integrated within the reading material. In others, they are located in a separate section — sometimes at the back of a chapter or book or in a separate laboratory manual.

  • Do they come after teacher explanations or lectures, or after students have read in their books? Or are they used to engage students in exploring new ideas before explanations are suggested?

Read several relevant paragraphs of student text material.

  • What is your judgment about the presentation of scientific inquiry?

  • Are the concepts in the students’ text consistent with the fundamental concepts and abilities in the Standards?

  • Does the text include more, fewer, or different concepts?

  • Do the photographs and illustrations provide further understanding of science as inquiry?


Look for evidence in discussions in the text and in the student investigations of whether and how the fundamental abilities and understanding are addressed. (See Chapter 2 and Appendix A in this book, refer to a print copy of the National Science Education Standards, or access the Standards through the World Wide Web at www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses.) Examine several lessons in the student and teacher materials. To what degree do the lessons provide students the opportunity to develop the abilities and understandings of scientific inquiry?

Read through the text narrative, looking for student investigations and examining any suggestions for activities outside of class time. Consider:

  • Are opportunities provided for students to develop abilities of scientific inquiry such as posing their own questions, designing their own investigations, using appropriate tools and techniques to gather data, using evidence to communicate defensible explanations of cause and effect relationships, or using scientific criteria to analyze alternative explanations to determine a preferred explanation?

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