Science involves an inquiry process that pupils utilize to understand the world around them. The inquiry process demands the use of both thinking skills and practical skills. Together, they help pupils to develop their understanding of science by combining scientific knowledge with reasoning and thinking skills. (Teo N. 2003) I note that inquiry in science begins with observation of a phenomenon that is sparked by curiosity. It then develops questions predominantly from the knowledge background. Following which, data is gathered as evidence before hypotheses is derived and communicated. At this juncture, findings are shared and can possibly be challenged if new evidence is prevalent. Thus the scientific knowledge that we come to know today is a result of communication of ideas, concepts and hypotheses that shaped the knowledge. The nature of human inquiry is congruent to the processes described earlier as we reflect by observing, gathering, assembling and synthesizing information. I had attempted to plan the lesson with the principle of inquiry based learning in mind. As there was no clear local phenomenon that I can use as a context for the lesson, I created a case study of the Giant Panda in China. In reality, I was unsure of the definition inquiry itself. Just as for many popular educational terms, the term inquiry has suffered from overuse. (Settlage J., Southerland S. A. 2007) According to them, inquiry is divided into two major categories. The first category as described by the National Science Education Standards: “Scientific inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on evidence derived from their work. (NRC, 1996, p 23)” while the second category refers to “the activities of students in which they develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as understanding of how scientists study the natural world. (NRC, 1996, p 23)” From here it is evident,...
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