Final Reflections

In my first reflection, I used the KWHLAQ (below) strategy proposed by Barell (2007, p 6) to evaluate my inquiry into Guided Inquiry (GI) and will now revisit that post an reflect on how my thinking has progressed.

K What do we think we already Know about the subject?

W What do we Want/Need to find out about it?

L what do we expect to Learn? What have we Learned?

A How will we Apply what we have learned?

Q What new Questions do we have following our inquiry.

I discovered during my inquiry that guided inquiry in the scientific form was widely used in science education, GI was not greatly used or even frowned upon.  Schmidt, Kowalski, and Nevins (2010) identified that it could be used within the scientific inquiry structure during the literature review to research an area prior to scientific investigation.  In my essay, I identified creation of new scientific content knowledge as a valid application of GI and went on to raise a question of how this would work in practice.  I had wanted a way to test this thinking in practice and the ILA was a great opportunity to study using GI in this manner.  The ILA was part of a science unit covering endangered species.  The aim of the GI was not to prepare for or study the results of examination but purely to learn new scientific content.  This ILA was a great way to apply what I had learnt, however I have been left with several questions.

As noted in the analysis and recommendations section, GI does have a place in teaching new scientific content however, in the current curriculum, there is not the time available to use GI in a way which is useful.  The combination of time  and curriculum restrictions in the current climate mean that GI would need to have the backing of administration in giving it the appropriate resources.     Now that I know that GI can be used in science inquiry, the new question is how to apply it in the current situation.   I am hoping that approaching administration with a proposal to trial GI for a school wide teaching strategy to be included in several different areas across several year levels.  This will hopefully give me a chance to trial an ILA with a larger scope for both a longer time frame and a fuller utilisation of an inquiry model.

Aside from the question of GI’s place in science education, one of my initial questions in my very first post regarding GI was how it differed from information literacy and if it was different what value did it add.  The limitations of the ILA meant that it answered this question; it was mostly an application of information literacy without a full application of a GI model.  While the information literacy skills were of use to the students, a fuller implementation of GI models would have made the ILA more effective.  Discovering that GI does have a place in my ‘educational toolkit’ and that it is greater than simply information literacy has dispelled my early cynicism regarding the subject.  However, I am now sceptical how it can fit (as mentioned in the previous paragraph) in the current curriculum climate.  Lupton (2012) has identified areas within the science, history, and geography curriculum where GI can be utilised which hopefully can be used to persuade administration to allow the trial mentioned in the previous paragraph.

References

Lupton, M. (2012).  Inquiry Skills in the Australian Curriculum. Access, 26(2), 12-18.

Schmidt, R. K., Kowalski, V., & Nevins, L. (2010). Guiding the inquiry using the modified scientific literature review. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 13.

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Analysis and Recommendations

In this post, the ILA is analysed using several different models and theories surrounding Guided Inquiry (GI).  This analysis will help identify strengths and weaknesses of this ILA and the recommendations that follow will help inform future guided inquiry units.

Analysis

Lupton (2014) summarises a range of scholars who discusses science inquiry units in terms of a continuum based on how open the inquiry is (see the table below).

Table from Lecture Series by Mandy Lupton

While students had some choice over the specific plant or animal chosen to research they were given a limited number to choose from and were given the questions they had to answer.  Using this table, the ILA would be somewhere between structured and guided.  The initial searches they carried out had been modelled in a lesson with the TL.  This level of structure was due to two limiting factors; time and the classroom teacher’s desire to hurry through the assessment task.  There were only four lessons available for the ILA.

Kuhlthau, Maniotes and Caspari (2012) describe a model of inquiry (the Guided Inquiry Process) which has eight phases.  Of the eight phases, the ILA only covered three; explore, identify and gather.  The phases that were covered by the classroom teacher included the open, immerse, create, share and evaluate.  Access to class time was only available for these sections.  There were some initial lessons on endangered animals, but not with the aim of creating curiosity in the students which are the aims of the ‘Open’ and ‘Immerse’ phases.  Since guided inquiry works by stimulating students “innate  curiosity (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, Caspari. 2007, p25)” this is a significant hole in the ILA.  It is possible the dip in student interest at the completion of the topic could be due to this lack.

When compared with Callison’s (2006) inquiry model, the ILA is also shown to be lacking.  Callison’s model includes five elements; questioning, exploration, assimilation, inference, and reflection.  Callison states that “depending on the level of intellectual nourishment […] curiosity  can be destroyed, stymied, or greatly enhanced” (2006, p 6).  This ILA would seem to stymie curiosity by providing questions for the students in the student worksheet rather than giving students questioning skills to come up with their own questions.  His Assimilation element “involves linking diverse new information to what is previously known” and “also the interactive processes of critical analysis” (Callison 2006, p 7) which was not encouraged by the student worksheet which did not include any evaluation or analysis questions, only list and describe questions.  The inference element requires students to make judgments on available information (Callison 2006 p8) which again is not encouraged in this ILA.  Inclusion of these stages would raise the level of cognitive process required of the students but also provide an opportunity to teach students these skills which would be of value for the rest of their education.

Lupton and Bruce (2010) describe three “windows” which  guided inquiry can be viewed through; generic, situated and transformative.  Despite both the TL and the classroom teacher acknowledging the value of inquiry, in practice, this ILA dealt with inquiry learning in terms of the generic perspective.  The teacher directed portions of the ILA focused on discrete information literacy skills such as constructing google searches, evaluating websites, the use of synonyms for both searches and locating and understanding information.

Evaluating information is an important step in an ILA.  The students were taught some specific things to look for during one of the teacher directed sessions, but evaluating information sources was not thoroughly addressed.  Students were shown how google displays paid ads as search results and how to look for the domain in the web address.  The students were told to look for official government sites or education sites by looking for .gov and .edu domains in the web address.  While these did help avoid some unhelpful sites, a more thorough investigation of information evaluation through the use of rubrics such as the CRAP test would have been useful.

The ILA was designed around a C2C science assessment task which, for a research based task, had a lack of emphasis on inquiry.  The assessment task as outlined by the unit was heavily structured and without modification from the classroom teacher, lacked many of the important characteristics of guided inquiry.  The assessment task did not address research skills at all but assumed students would be able to locate suitable information to answer the set questions.  Lupton (2012) when referring to the Australian Science Curriculum, points out that student directed open inquiry “is advocated throughout”.  Adding a stronger emphasis on inquiry to this assessment task made it align with the Australian Science Curriculum more than it had in its original format.

The ILA did not make use of any questioning models as the questions for the ILA were provided for the students in the student research booklet from the C2C unit.  The majority of these questions were low order with the majority of the questions being either list or describe.  These two types of questions are listed in the two bottom categories of Bloom’s Taxonomy, knowledge and comprehension.  McKenzie (2005, p22) argues that questioning in classrooms is usually of low level such as recall and also claims that when questions are discouraged, they are are allowed within “safe” zones such as science and technology” (McKenzie 2005, p 16).

While inquiry normally plays a large role in science education, it is normally scientific inquiry which uses experimentation.  The role of inquiry in this ILA was not to have students perform experiments to create knew data, but rather to learn unfamiliar content knowledge through discovering and analysing information already available.  Schmidt, Kowalski and Nevins (2010) used GI as a means of having students create a modified scientific literature review.  According to their paper, instead of using the scientific literature to “examine prior scientific studies about potential research questions or hypotheses the researcher may choose to study” (p15) they used the scientific literature review to “introduce and educate their students in the excitement and content of ‘real time science'” (p15).  While using this form of inquiry is a break from the traditional use of inquiry in science education, it has a real and valid place in the profession and so is a valuable form of education in the area.

Recommendations

The analysis identified several weaknesses in this ILA.  The majority of these issues had to do with the scope of the ILA in one manner or another.  When compared against two inquiry processes (Kuhlthau et al (2012) and Callison (2006)) the ILA was shown to lack several stages of a successful inquiry.  The addition of Kuhlthau et al‘s (2012) open and immerse phases would help engage the student’s curiosity and so help improve student motivation.  The ILA already covered the explore stage covered in both models, but the inclusion of Callison’s (2006) questioning element in a way which both educated students how to ask questions and then guided them in creating their own questions would help Improve student motivation through ownership (Kuhlthau et al 2007).

Questioning itself was another area of weakness identified in the ILA.  The combination of questions being provided rather then student generated and that the questions were of low cognitive level meant that the students did very little questioning themselves.  As was noted earlier, the majority of the questions in the student research booklet were low on Bloom’s Taxonomy, the assessment task that the ILA was working towards required students to recall information for their peers; a task which itself requires very little higher order thinking.  Instead of simple requiring students to gather data and then retell it in a different format, the ILA could have asked students to evaluate (which is the highest category on Bloom’s Taxonomy) an already existing strategy being used to save an endangered animal and suggest possible redesigns.  The content material covered would have been the same but the types of questions would have been of a much higher order.

Barrell’s (2008) concept of ‘problematic scenarios’ could be used to address the weakness of the questioning and student engagement.  Barrell (2008, p??) states that problematic scenarios can be used “to intrigue students and roster their desire to become involved”.  Given more time, the ILA could be restructured to include both a fuller inquiry model as has already been discussed, but could also be based around a problematic scenario in a fuller sense.  The C2C assessment task was framed to some extent as a problematic scenario.  The students had been tasked with educating their peers about an endangered species.  However, this played very little role in the student’s inquiry and, as was discussed in the previous paragraph, engages students at a low cognitive level.  Changing the scenario to the evaluation scenario suggested in the previous paragraph and making it a larger part of the ILA should improve student engagement as their curiosity and ‘desire to become involved’ rises.

Another outcome of using a realistic problematic scenario that evaluates and questions current practice is that students would be participating in inquiry at a Situated or even Trasformative level (Lupton and Bruce 2010).  The task of evaluating current local practice to protect endangered species will help students engage with the information in a real social context with real social meaning for the student’s community which Lupton and Bruce (2010) include as a description of the situated window (p 12).  Advanced students could be encouraged, upon evaluating their chosen protection strategy, to think about why it was put in place as it was, who’s choice it was to do it that way, who benefited from it, and if they found that the strategy was not particularly effective, why was it implemented at all?  Questions such as this would fit in Lupton and Bruce’s (2010, p 13) Transformative window.  This change in the ILA should lead to a more “holistic information literacy […] education” (Lupton and Bruce 2010, p 21).

Another problem identified with the ILA is the difficulty students had finding some of the required information.  According to the findings, students had great difficult with finding information for two reasons; they did not understand the language used on the webpages and they did not have a thorough enough understanding of constructing searches that they could find specific information.  Both of these problems require more time spent in the unit.  As an example of the first problem, students were unable to identify the information which made up a life-cycle simply because the language that the websites used was not located on their task sheet.  Spending more time studying the content in the immersion stage targeting a range of different synonyms and language would help students identify the information they are searching for.  While there was time put towards teaching students how to construct searches to find information through search engines, this time could be expanded to include a session later during the ILA to help students find specific information.

References

Barrell, J. (2008).  Why are School Buses Always Yellow? Teaching for Inquiry Prek-5.  Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.

Bonanno & Todd (2006). Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives and Information Skills.   Retrieved October 28, 2014, from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/policies/gats/assets/pdf/usci6kw01bloom.pdf

Callison, D., and Preddy, L. (2006). The Blue Book on Information Age Inquiry, Instruction and Literacy. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C., Maniotes, L., and Caspari, A. (2012) Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in your School. Santa Barabara: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C., Maniotes, L., and Caspari, A. (2007) Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st century. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.

Lupton, M. (2014). LCN616 Inquiry Learning: Module 1 [Lecture Notes]. Retrieved from http://inquirymodules.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/inquiry-learning-guided-inquiry/

Lupton, M. (2012).  Inquiry Skills in the Australian Curriculum. Access, 26(2), 12-18.

Lupton, M., and Bruce, C. (2010).  Windows on Information Literacy Worlds: Generic, Situated and Transformative Perspectives.  In A. Loyd and S. Talija (Eds.), Practising Information Literacy: Bringing Theories of Learning, Practice and Information Literacy Together (pp. 3-27).  Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies

McKenzie, J. (2005).  Learning to Question to Wonder to Learn.  Washington: FNO Press.

Newman, B. (2010).  Crap Detection, A 21st Century Literacy.  Retrieved from http://librariesandtransliteracy.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/crap-detection-a-21st-century-literacy/

Schmidt, R. K., Kowalski, V., & Nevins, L. (2010). Guiding the inquiry using the modified scientific literature review. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 13.

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Findings

This post will discuss the results from the reflection sheets that students filled in at the various stages of the ILA.  These reflection sheets are discussed in more detail in the methods section.  Reflection sheet one (RS1) was given out at the beginning of the ILA, reflection sheet two (RS2) was given out mid way through the ILA, and reflection sheet three (RS3) was given out after the completion of the ILA.  Each Reflection sheet had five questions, apart from reflection sheet three which had six.

Question one.  Take some time to think about your topic. Now write down what you know about it.

Q1) Write what you know about your topic

Number and type of responses to question 1.

The student responses were organised into three categories; fact, explanation or conclusion.  The students initial responses to this were largely simple statements of what it meant to be endangered.  These statements had very little detail.  For example, one student wrote endangered animals are going extinct.  It is interesting to note that the quality of these statements did change through the ILA.  The 16 statements in the second survey were all statements about the topic and in the final survey, many students wrote multiple responses listing detailed content specific knowledge.  The shift in the nature of the comments does seem to indicate an increase in both the student’s knowledge and their clarity.  Kuhlthau’s (2013) Information Search Process notes this transition from vagueness to clarity through the first four (of seven) stages.  During Initiation, the students’ thoughts are vague, but they transition through to focused during the formulation stage and then through to an ‘increased self-awareness’ after the assessment phase.  This transition describes the change in the nature of the statements from vague statements about the question, through to some clear comment statements on specific topics, ending in multiple clear and concise knowledge statements.

There was a lack of explanation or conclusion statements generally, but this may be due to the way the survey was taken rather than a lack of knowledge.  Recall (fact) statements require low level cognitive processes according to Bloom’s taxonomy where they are classified in the lowest cognitive category, knowledge.  Explanation statements require higher cognitive processes falling under the comprehension category, one above knowledge.  Conclusion statements require even greater levels of cognitive ability falling under the analyse category, several levels higher again.  It is, therefore, possible that the lack of explanation and conclusion statements do indicate the low cognitive level that the students are operating at.  However, it is possible that students have responded to the question with a ‘fact’ statement because that is what they thought was expected of them.  McKenzie (2005, p 22) claims that students are often asked recall statements rather than questions requiring higher order thought.  If this is the norm, students would interpret the question in the reflection sheet to be asking a simple recall question.  If the question was rephrased to encourage higher order thought the students answers may well have included more explanations and conlusions.

Students did have trouble with the openness of this question, more direction from the survey or the TL may have elicited a broader range of responses.  Sub questions could be added to the survey asking specifically for the different types of statements to give students more confidence providing answers.

Question two.  How interested are you in this topic? Check () one box that best matches your interest.  Not at all  not much  quite a bit  a great deal 

Q2) How interested are you in this topic?

Percentage of student answers for question 2.

Student interest went through some interesting changes during the course of the ILA.  According to Kuhlthau’s (2013) Information Search Process (ISP), student’s should have an early surge of optimism during the early selection stage followed by a drop during the exploration stage.  In this ILA, student interest only dropped after completion of the task.  Initially, RS1 shows that students were somewhat interested, and there were no students who listed ‘not at all’ as a response.  RS2 indicates that student interest levels had risen by the middle of the ILA, with fewer students listing ‘not much’ and ‘quite a bit’ as their responses and many more choosing ‘a great deal’ to indicate their interest.  If RS2 had been taken during the exploration stage, then Kuhlthau’s ISP would suggest that the interest levels should drop; however, the second survey may have taken place during the formulation or collection stages.  These stages are characterised by clarity, sense of direction and confidence.  This would explain the rise of student interest in the second survey.

At the end of the inquiry, the student responses in RS3 show a leveling out of their interest.  One student listed they had no interest at all, more listed ‘not much’ than ‘quite a bit’.  Also, fewer students listed ‘a great deal’ than in the second survey, but more than the initial survey.  Overall, more students were greatly interested initially, however there was a slight increase in the number of students listing ‘not much’ and ‘not at all’ compared with the first survey.

Question Three. How much do you know about this topic? Check () one box that best matches how much you know.  Nothing  not much  quite a bit  a great deal 

Percentage of student's responses

Percentage of student answers for question 3.

Student knowledge, on average, went through an increase by the end of the ILA, but this happened slowly.  There was a slight initial move toward the middle categories of ‘not much’ and ‘quite a bit’ from the first survey to the second.  As students began to research they realised they revised their estimation of their knowledge; those who knew nothing realised they now knew something and one student who listed ‘a great deal’ revised their estimation as they found holes in their knowledge.  By the end of the survey a large majority of students listed ‘quite a bit’ as their estimation of their knowledge on the topic.

Question 4) What do/did you find about research?

Student responses to question 4, reflection sheet 1.

Student responses to question 4, reflection sheet 1.

Student responses to question 4, reflection sheet 2.

Student responses to question 4, reflection sheet 2.

Student responses to question 4, reflection sheet 3.

Student responses to question 4, reflection sheet 3.

It was encouraging to see that student confidence regarding finding information online rose through the course of the ILA.  The responses in the table below on RS 2 and RS 3 reflected the knowledge they had learned from the teacher directed sessions on information literacy.  Use of words such as ‘search engine’ and ‘qld sites’ echoed the language that had been used in discussions of finding useful and credible websites.

One sad note was the one student who wrote ‘nothing’ (the same student is recorded as the ‘entire task’ as difficult in quesiton 5 hence the same colour on the graphs).  This student did have extreme learning difficulties and found that, despite the structure of the ILA, the task was too open.  This student did have help from a teacher aide for some of the lessons but still found it very difficult.

Student responses to question 4 tabulated by theme and reflection sheet.

Student responses to question 4 tabulated by theme and reflection sheet.

Question 5) What do/did you find hard about research?

Student responses to question 5, reflection sheet 1.

Student responses to question 5, reflection sheet 1.

Student responses to question 5, reflection sheet 2.

Student responses to question 5, reflection sheet 2.

Student responses to question 5, reflection sheet 3.

Student responses to question 5, reflection sheet 3.

It is interesting to note that ‘finding an information source’ was one of the largest categories for both question four and question five.  While the number of students picking this option did shrink in question five on reflection sheet three, it is indicative of a major issue that did arise.  After doing two teacher directed sessions on constructing a basic internet search and identifying reliable internet sources, students were able to do basic Google searches fairly easily as indicated by their response to question four.  However this was accompanied by a combination of a lack of background knowledge and a lack of experience constructing complex searches which lead to students being unable to find specific information shown by the increase in the ‘understanding/interpreting the information’ and ‘finding specific information’ themes.  This resulted in the students uncertainty about their responses, with one student writing the same response for both question four and five on the same reflection sheet.  Students were asked to find information on the chosen animal’s life cycle but were unable to identify this information unless it had a heading ‘life cycle’ on the web page or was displayed as a flow chart diagram.  As the ILA progressed, more students did indicate they had trouble with understanding information and finding specific information.

As was noted in the actions taken post, McLean (2011, p 29) experienced a similar issue; he found that students were not assimilated or understanding some of the information they were finding.  He noted that the issue arose from a lack underpinning understanding of some of the concepts surrounding endangered species (McLean, 2011.  p 29) and addressed the issue through more lessons covering these topics.  In this ILA, the students difficulty to understand that information they were reading did pertain to the question they were trying to answer did seem to arise from a lack of understanding.  The fact that students did not understand that the length of life, or gestation period did pertain to the life cycle meant that they did not understand what was meant by a life cycle.  The students difficulty in finding specific information could be tied to this issue as students may not have understood that their difficulty.  A change to the reflection sheets here would be helpful, instead of leaving questions four and five completely open ended, it would have helped to have some general themes that students could have ticked and some teacher guidance in picking which one they were experiencing.

Student responses to question 5 tabulated by theme and reflection sheet.

Student responses to question 5 tabulated by theme and reflection sheet.

Question 6) Waht did you learn in doing this research project?

Student responses to question 6, reflection sheet 3.

Student responses to question 6, reflection sheet 3.

This question was only on the final reflection sheet and was meant to capture a broad range of things the students had learnt.  However, as the classroom teacher guided the students through the final reflection, this question may have been misunderstood.  The Majority of students simply drew an arrow to question one where they were asked to write down what they knew about their topic.  Some students wrote new statements about their topic, but just under a quarter of students added statements about information literacy.  These answers included how to use google, the ‘right words’ or key words to use and how to use a website.  This misunderstanding of the question reflected the limitation of the ILA in that it was stuck at a level that focused on gathering and recall of information rather than analysis and evaluation.  Further and earlier collaboration between the Teacher-Librarian and the Classroom Teacher could have helped overcome this issue.

References

Kuhlthau, C. (2013). Information Search Process.  Retrieved from https://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm

McKenzie, J. (2005).  Learning to Question to Wonder to Learn.  Washington: FNO Press.

McLean, Ian. (2011). Taking the plunge: Guided Inquiry, persuasion and the research river at Penrith Public School. Scan Vol 30 No 4 pp 26 – 35

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Actions Taken

There were several issues that arose during the ILA which required intervention.  Most of the intervention was done on a 1 on 1 basis between either the Teacher-Librarian or the classroom teacher and the student.  One issue was addressed through a short class discussion.

Students had difficulty finding answers to their set questions when the information was phrased using different words. Students had to find their species life cycle but many of the websites did not use the phrase instead listing gestation/birth, growth, age at maturity. The students did not understand that this information was to do with the life cycle even though it did not use the term. This indicated that the students had a fairly large deficiency in their background knowledge and in their ability to understand the information they were reading.

Due to the time limitations, there was very little room for action to be taken to address this. Ideally, we would have had further lessons discussing each of the search questions in more detail, brainstorming with the students what sort of information might answer the questions. McLean (2011, p 29) experienced a similar issue which was over come through extra lessons.  However, the Teacher was not willing to spend any more time so we were limited to a brief class discussion during the middle of one of the research sessions. We discussed some of the possible words websites might use instead of the words that were included in their handouts.  This did help some of the students however the issue continued to come up in individual contact with the students.

References

McLean, Ian. (2011). Taking the plunge: Guided Inquiry, persuasion and the research river at Penrith Public School. Scan Vol 30 No 4 pp 26 – 35

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Methodology

This post looks at how Data was gathered from students in this ILA.  Data to measure the effectiveness of this ILA was gathered mainly through the use of the SLIM (School Library Impact Measure) toolkit developed by Todd, Kuhlthau, and Heinstrom (2005) at the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries (CISSL) at Rutgers University.  The purpose of this toolkit is to “assess student learning through guided inquiry in the school library” (Todd, Kuhlthau, Heinstrom 2005, p 5).  The data from this toolkit will be used to analyse the effectiveness of the ILA on student’s inquiry.

The reflection sheets were used as taken from the CISSL website without any modification and were distributed at three stages of inquiry; firstly before the students had undertaken any inquiry, then in the middle of the inquiry task, and finally upon completion of the task.  The first two reflection sheets were completed by the students with guidance from the Teacher-Librarian and the final reflection with assistance by the classroom teacher.  Time constraints limited the amount of input from the teachers during these sessions and only 10-15 minutes was allowed for students to complete them.  While this is close to the 15 minutes suggested (Todd, et al 2005, p 18) for the first reflection sheet (RS) the time allocation does fall short of the suggested 20 – 25 minutes for RS 2 or the 30 minutes for RS 3.

The data from the reflection sheets were analysed in different ways and are reported in the findings post.  Question one asked students to make statements about their topic.  Their answers were classified as either fact, explanation, or conclusion statements and then graphed.  The data from questions two and three on each reflection sheet were simple ‘tick a box’ questions.  These results were counted and the results from the three reflection sheets graphed together and can be found.  Questions four, five on all reflection sheets, and the sixth question on the third reflection sheets were open ended and so students gave a range of different answers.  These answers were grouped based around familiar themes, tabled and then graphed.  Both tables and graphs can be found in the findings post.

References

Ross J. Todd, R. J., Kuhlthau, C. C., Heinström, J. E., (2005) School Library Impac Measure S*L*I*M; A Toolkit and Handbook For Tracking and Assessing Student Learning Outcomes Of Guided Inquiry Through The School Library  Retrieved from http://cissl.rutgers.edu/images/stories/docs/slimtoolkit.pdf

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Description of Inquiry Learning Activity (ILA)

The inquiry learning activity (ILA) was carried out in term 2 with a year four class of 28 students.  The students had a total of four lessons, two lessons a week over two weeks which were given to the research/inquiry portion of the unit.  The ILA was to support an assessment task from a C2C Science unit (Unit 2 – Science Year 4) covering endangered flora and fauna.

The classroom teacher initially introduced the topic and had several lessons before introducing the assessment task.  The Teacher-Librarian (TL) collaborated with the classroom Teacher to assist with the research portion of the assessment task.  The assessment task was to create a multi-media presentation to inform their peers about a local endangered species.

The inquiry learning unit was limited in its scope due to curriculum and time issues.  The students had to answer set questions about the endangered species they had chosen that were in a booklet that was provided as part of the C2C unit.  These questions were mostly describe and list questions with one final question which asked students to give a list of measures taken to help an endangered species and why they were set in place.

The unit began with two lessons on searching for information.  The students were guided through two work sheets which covered how to construct a google search, synonyms, and evaluating websites.  These were followed by several lab sessions where the teacher and the TL assisted students on an individual basis.

The criteria covered by the assessment task are listed below, they are taken form the C2C Unit plan.

Science understanding

Describes relationships that assist and hinder the survival of living things. Describes key stages in  life cycles. Identifies something that assists or hinders the survival of a living thing.

(ACSSU072, ACSSU073)

Science as a human endeavour

Describes human actions and related scientific reasons.

(ACSHE062)

Science inquiry skills

Presents research using scientific language. Demonstrates links between ideas in concept map.

(ACSIS071)

The C2C unit plan lists several general capabilities that are also covered through the unit.  Of interest for the ILA are the ICT capabilities and the critical and creative thinking capabilities, these are listed below.

ICT capability

  • Investigating with ICT
  • Creating with ICT
  • Communicating with ICT
  • Managing and operating ICT

Critical and creative thinking

  • Inquiring – identifying, exploring and organising information and ideas
  • Generating ideas, possibilities and actions
  • Reflecting on thinking and processes
  • Analysing, synthesising and evaluating reasoning and procedures

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Search Screen Cast

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