Getting the Question Right

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Science  13 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6078, pp. 132
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6078.132-d

An inquiry-based science curriculum requires teachers to generate scientific questions for their students. Are students studying to be teachers (preservice teachers) learning this skill? Graves and Rutherford examined the ability of elementary preservice teachers to generate a testable question from earth science data available online. One group was given instruction on what constitutes a testable question, and the other was referred to a conclusion rubric in a laboratory manual. Generated questions were categorized as testable or nontestable, and testable questions were analyzed using a rubric designed to evaluate the preservice teacher's ability to identify variables, state investigative parameters, and identify relationships between variables. The majority of preservice teachers from both groups wrote questions that were testable but still needed modification, suggesting that the instruction given to the test group did not improve the quality of their questions. Moreover, it highlights the need to provide preservice teachers with more opportunities to experience the nature of science by participating in research.

J. Coll. Sci. Teach. 41, 46 (2012).

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