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Scientific Enquiry Skills

A Debate of the Nature of Scientific Enquiry Skills and their Role in Children's Learning in Science

Children tend to have their own primary ideas of the way the world works and it is important for taking these very seriously when teaching them at university as "if you insist upon children 'learning' the correct idea when they still have their own ideas, they will possibly memorise the correct one, but without really believing in, and can hold onto their own ideas to seem sensible of real phenomena around them. " (Harlen & Qualter, 2009: 69)

Therefore it's important to take into consideration the children's ideas as they have got known reasons for what and why they think and it needs to be attended to correctly to help the kids progress and make sense with their ideas. You will discover both functional and theoretical reasons to why carrying this out is important to a child's learning. Nearly, this is done through medical research and by instructing them the enquiry skills had a need to supply the children with scientific knowledge to clarify their own ideas.

By carrying out scientific investigations the children use different skills to learn the results, these skills include:

* Observe

* Predict

* Plan/ accumulate evidence

* Investigate

* Interpret proof/record

* Communicate and reflect

'Observation' in just a scientific investigation is an important aspect to teach children to use as they can easily see what they might not need experienced before and it could be dissimilar to what they first thought so that it gets them to think about other alternatives. "Providing time is significant in encouraging observations, perhaps more than for other inquiry skills. Children need time to go back to things they could have seen only superficially or when a question has occurred to them about something they want to check. A screen enables children to make use of odd moments as well as research activity time for observing and so raises an important item in the development of the skill. " (Harlen & Qualter, 2009: 125)

By getting them to 'anticipate' what might happen in their own analysis they build independently experience as they'll already have an initial idea of the particular answer is. By getting them to anticipate what they think will happen will then encourage them to think about the reasons behind why they think this. If their predictions were incorrect it gets them to again think about why these were wrong and mirror upon this. In the countrywide curriculum under key level one it claims that children need to "consider what might happen before deciding what to do" (DfES, 2000)

Once a child has made their predictions to an activity it is then essential that they 'plan' their activity i. e. how they want it to be carried out and what equipment they want to use and then apply the experience i. e. 'investigate'. By getting them to investigate, it means they are simply experiencing it for themselves - first- hands experience - which is important as unless the children have the possibility to find out what really happens to the planet they stay in for themselves they'll hardly ever really understand it and could still have myths if it is merely advised to them by the tutor.

Once they may have finished the activity they will then need to 'record and interpret' what they discovered as they may then relate their results to their original predictions therefore building on their prior experience. Children have to be in a position to "compare what took place with what they expected would happen, and try to explain it, pulling on the knowledge and understanding" (DfEE, 2000)

Finally it is important for the kids to 'connect and indicate' with their peers and educators of what they have found out and make clear why it has happened as it is then getting the children to consider the technological reasons behind the experience and not just their own ideas.

All of these inquiry skills take place within an individual activity which is up to the educator to provide the children with these within the classroom as these skills help children to build up their original ideas into scientific reasons and ideas therefore growing their knowledge and understanding for the world around them.

Constructivist theorists such as Bruner, Piaget, and Vygotsky all have their own ideas to how children learn and develop which are crucial for professors to successfully instruct knowledge for example to the kids.

Piaget assumed "when children come across a new experience they both 'hold' their existing thinking to it and 'assimilate' areas of the experience. In so doing they move beyond one point out of mental 'equilibration' and restructure their thoughts to generate another. " (Pollard, 2008: 175).

Assimilation and accommodation are intentionally happening at the same time however assimilation is a more frequent process as we simplify and collect familiar materials around more regularly but we also have to change it with the data we know.

Piaget also assumed that we now have stages that children develop and pass through which were approximately related to the age of the child. The periods were:

ј "The Sensori-motor stage (beginning-2 years) - this stage is utilizing their senses to learn things about themselves and the environment.

ј The Pre-operational stage (2-7 years) - this stage is when the child's thinking is self-centred or egocentric which is where the child has difficulty understanding other's feelings.

ј The Concrete Operations level (7-12 years) - this level is when the kid commences to reason logically and organise thoughts coherently. At this stage children can get better at most types of conservation tests and begins to comprehend reversibility.

ј The Formal Functions level (12 years onwards) - this stage is characterised by the ability to formulate hypotheses and systematically test them to arrive at a remedy to a difficulty. However Piaget believed that not everyone extends to this cognitive developmental stage. "

(Pollard A, 2008: 175)

"Constructivists imagine learners build their understandings of the world from their experience and observations. They claim that children bring many myths and misunderstandings to the class from their experience of the planet. " (Arthur J et al, 2006: 140)

Bruner and Vygotsky got slightly different ideas to Piaget. Both Burner and Vygotsky possessed Social-constructivist views however both thinking and thinking slightly diversely. Jerome Bruner assumed that a child is predisposed towards learning and that there are structures set up so that the child can follow a series of phases in their intellectual development. Bruner believed that people play an important role as they support children as they undertake different stages of development.

Bruner's phases of development are:

ј "Enactive (0-1 years) - learning through doing - physical movements

ј Iconic (1-7 years) - producing mental images

ј Symbolic (7+) - using icons such as dialect and other representational settings to transfer thoughts. " (Snaith, M. & Tassoni, P, 2007: 256)

Lev Vygotsky experienced that children's development is highly recognized by the adults. The level of development for a person child became known as 'the area of actual development' but Vygotsky sensed that children were capable of higher levels with support and the help of men and women. The difference between these two levels was known as the 'zone of proximal development'.

From the science sessions I have attended this term my understanding of how knowledge is trained to small children has modified and developed my understanding of how it is done successfully. The theorists' beliefs and the inquiry skills taught to children are connected in the manner that focusing on how children learn can affect how the tutor plans the lessons so it is important for taking this into account. Each inquiry skill is vital in the training of research as it can help to advances children's original ideas into clinical ideas without just informing them the right answer.

By getting involved in the course activities I used a number of inquiry skills which showed how important it is to instruct these skills to children, for example getting involved in the planning of the investigations offers children the opportunities to explore new encounters first palm, shows them the value of fair trials and the way to execute one. "Recognise whenever a test or comparability is unfair and use first-hand experience and simple information sources to answer questions" (DfEE, 2000)

Interpreting the data to their research is also an important skill to have as "this means looking for patterns and relate various bits of information to the other person and to the ideas being examined. Much like other inquiry skills, children need the chance and encouragement to do these exact things if they are to develop these abilities. Some of the ways educators can help are: make sure that the thinking will not stop when data have been accumulated or observations made and saved; ensure the results are being used to decide whether a prediction was verified or whether a question was replied. " (Harlen & Qualter, 2009: 129-30)

References and Bibliography

Arthur, J. Grainger, T. & Wray, D. (2006): Abingdon: Routledge

DfEE, (1999) The National Curriculum for Research, London: QCA

Harlen, W. & Qualter, A. (2009) The Coaching of Science in Primary Universities, Oxford: Routledge

Pollard, A (2008) Reflective Teaching, London: Continuum

Snaith, M. & Tassoni, P. (2007), Children's Attention Learning and Development, Oxford: Heinemann

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