Inquiry-based Science Education as Multiple Outcome Interdisciplinary Research and Learning (MOIRL)

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authentic inquiry, productive disciplinary engagement, stakeholders, school-university partnerships


The article provides the basis for a model of inquiry-based science education in which K-12 teachers’ and pupils’ engage in authentic science experiences as participants of a scientific research project, which we refer to as Multiple Outcome Interdisciplinary Research and Learning (MOIRL). We provide the basis for the model for inquiry based science education (IBSE) by first describing how the model came about through our 10 years of research on how people learn to do science in research groups. We then turn to the literature on the relationship among scientific inquiry, inquiry learning and MOIRL. As our case studies of MOIRL projects show, by being participants along with scientists and their graduate/undergraduate students in authentic scientific research, school pupils learn how to do science and gain a better understanding of scientific concepts. Productive disciplinary engagement can be fostered with learning environments that are problematic in the sense that they encourage students to ask and seek answers to intellectual questions. By incorporating as many stakeholders and outcomes as possible, the likelihood increases of pupils’ learning of science concepts and processes. In addition, the incorporation of multiple stakeholders and outcomes provides pupils with a view of the many authentic ways that science and scientific inquiry is connected to the world outside of school, which increases the likelihood that they study more science and aspire to scientific careers. Finally, the MOIRL projects provide teachers with the opportunity to engage in scientific research, which can better prepare them to teach science as inquiry and through the use of inquiry methods.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Science Educational International, v. 23, issue 4, p. 328-337