Date of Award

Summer 1999

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Betsy Ann Balzano

Second Advisor

Linda Schloner

Third Advisor

Scott D. Robinson


Information collected in this investigation should help educators begin to frame a picture of the kind of discourse that occurs in an inquiry-based elementary science classroom. Four questions were asked:

  1. How do students interact with one another?
  2. Who does most of the talking in the classroom – the teacher or the students?
  3. Who raises the questions in the classroom?
  4. What level of questions occurs most frequently – low cognitive or high cognitive?

This study found that students used high-cognitive questions when talking to each other. The students worked cooperatively while exchanging ideas, thoughts, and concepts. The researcher concluded that inquiry science lessons do help to promote higher cognitive thinking and that it is beneficial to have students’ actively engaged in hands-on questing activities while working in groups. Further study over the course of a full school year is recommended to measure students’ performance and to compare student performance in inquiry classrooms with those in non-inquiry classrooms.