Inquiry-Based Science Curriculum for Elementary Students

Insights is an inquiry-based, hands-on approach to science for elementary students. Originally developed in the 90s and currently published by Kendall Hunt, our current project revisits several units, aligning them to the Next Generation Science Standards and incorporating 3-Dimensional learning, paying particular attention to the Science and Engineering Practices.

The research aspect of our project focuses on those practices that support computational thinking (CT), including data collection and analysis, and modeling and simulation. For instance, we are developing digital models that directly connect to hands-on activities within the unit, then extend students' experience to similar phenomena. We seek to establish how well young children connect work they do on the screen with the real world—do they understand the digital model, expressly built to reflect an actual phenomenon, as a game, world unto its own, or can they relate what the model is doing to be representative of something real?

The driving force of our curricula is to provide experiences where students can improve their ability to think creatively and critically, get engaged in problem solving through experiences in the natural environment, and bridge science concepts to social and environmental events.