Thu 18.09.2014 - 10:30-12:40 - Plečnik 2-3

Inquiry Based Science Education and Opportunities for Teaching the Gifted  Paper  Presentation 


We prepare our children for a continuing changing world and future occupations that are still unknown. Informational technology, media and technology literacy will become the currency of the future. However, there are huge shortages in science technicians. Therefore, science education in primary education is even more important than ever before. Science education can form a framework in order to develop the so called, 21st century skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, cooperation and information and communication technology literacy. A pedagogical approach proven to be effective and upcoming in many countries is inquiry-based science education (IBSE). Teachers teach children to develop scientific process skills and understanding of science concepts through children’s own activity and reasoning. By doing their own investigations, based on their own research questions and hypotheses, they learn HOW to think instead of WHAT to think. In the Netherlands, the inquiry or research cycle consists of seven steps: introduction, exploration, designing an experiment, conducting an experiment, concluding, presenting, and elaborating/ broadening. IBSE is especially suited for gifted children as it matches the way these children think and learn, i.e., top-down, taking huge thinking steps, using creativity for example in the solutions for a problem and in the design of an experiment. One of the difficulties teachers experiences when teaching gifted children in a regular classroom is how they can differentiate in their teaching and thereby justify the capabilities and learning styles of the gifted children. In our presentation, we elaborate on our research towards and experiences with inquiry-based science education, the steps of the inquiry process, and the opportunities of this approach for the gifted. We illustrate some examples of how teachers can differentiate for the gifted children during the inquiry cycle based on a newly developed approach, and how schools could implement this approach.

Authors(s): Marieke Peeters, (Radboud University Nijmegen, Science Hub, The Netherlands), Jo Verlinden, (BCO Onderwijsadvies, The Netherlands), Lana Goossens, (Science education HUB Radboud University, The Netherlands), Lianne Hoogeveen (Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands)