Skelton, P., Blackburn, J. J., Stair, K. S., Levy, N., & Dormody, T. J. (2018). Agriscience education through inquiry-based learning: Investigating factors that influence the science competence of middle school students. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(1), 223-237. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2018.01223

Abstract:

Inquiry-based teaching methods have been found to enhance students’ abilities to understand the process of scientific inquiry. The purpose of this study was to determine if middle school students taught through an inquiry-based teaching approach consisting of scientific skill development, scientific knowledge, and scientific reasoning were more likely to meet their respective science grade level expectation. Participants consisted of predominantly Hispanic sixth and eighth grade students enrolled in school enrichment programs through the MMSAEEC. Inquiry-based instruction was integrated within science classes using lessons in soil pH and water quality. Overall, sixth grade students scored highest on items related to science skill, while the eighth grade students scored highest on the science knowledge portion of the instrument.  Regarding the sixth grade students, science reasoning and science skill were found to be significant predictors of grade level expectation, while science skill was significant for the eighth grade data. It is recommended that teachers incorporate inquiry-based learning strategies into their classrooms to encourage students to ask questions and refine their ability to think critically and solve problems.  Further research is needed to clarify the role of science comprehension and the associated sub-dimensions with the ability to predict grade level expectation.

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