Level of inquiry as motivator in an inquiry methods course for preservice elementary teachers

Bulunuz M., Jarrett O., Martin Hansen L.

School Science and Mathematics, vol.8, no.8, pp.74-85, 2012 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Journal Name: School Science and Mathematics
  • Journal Indexes: Other Indexes
  • Page Numbers: pp.74-85
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Of great importance for achieving science education reform may be teachers' interest in science and enjoyment of science. This study explores the motivational qualities (rated for interestfun, and learning value) of different levels of inquiry of hands-on class activities. The participants, 53 preservice teachers in two sections of a science methods course, rated the activities at the end of each class. At the end of the course, these activities were categorized by level of inquiry (levels 0–3), with 30% rated as level 0 (no inquiry), 40% as level 1, 22% as level 2, and 8% as level 3, according to how much choice was given for posing questions and designing investigations. Ratings of each hands-on activity indicated that participants perceived activities of higher levels of inquiry to be more fun and more interesting. They also perceived that they had learned more. These findings suggest that course instructors should determine level of inquiry when planning course activities, and degree of participant input into course activities may be important in the development of interest in science. A focus on hands-on learning especially at higher levels of inquiry may serve both to capture the interest of teachers and to model how they can make science more authentic and engaging for children.