Research Towards an Expanded Understanding of Inquiry Science Beyond One Idealized Standard

Nancy Butler Songer, Hee Sun Lee, Scott McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The work presented builds on a multiyear effort to study the implementation and adaptation of Kids as Global Scientists (KGS), an inquiry-based, technology-rich middle school learning environment enacted simultaneously in hundreds of classrooms across the nation. Two groups of teachers participated in this study. One group consists of "maverick" teachers: those distributed across the nation that find us and customize our program to their needs without systematic professional development. This group of teachers tends to work in schools with a relatively rich fund of resources and supports. Another group-urban teachers-resulted from a recent partnership between KGS and teachers from a large, high-poverty urban school district. We provide these teachers with targeted professional development to help them overcome constraints common to their schools. This study provides profiles of both maverick and urban teachers, and then examines teacher and student data from five focus classrooms that were successful in implementing KGS. In all cases, successful classrooms were defined as those where students made significant positive gains on open-ended and multiple-choice assessments. The focus classrooms consisted of three classrooms from urban teachers in high-poverty environments and two classrooms from maverick teachers in middle-class suburban environments. The paper discusses the need for research that provides multiple exemplars of classroom science inquiry that are realized through large-scale enactments responsive to diverse learning environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-516
Number of pages27
JournalScience Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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