Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Younkyeong Nam


Inquiry in the classroom has been interpreted and explained in many different ways. However, at its foundations, inquiry is essentially learning by questioning. In the context of a classroom, inquiry is student lead learning that can occur at various levels of student responsibility. While inquiry based instruction is important in all content areas, this project focuses on using inquiry in the science laboratory. The benefits of inquiry-based instruction are significant and include increases in student engagement, critical thinking skills, creative problem solving, and autonomy in the learning process. While the benefits of inquiry-based instruction are worthwhile, the challenges of developing and implementing inquiry-based activities may prevent some teachers from shifting their instruction to include a more appropriate level of inquiry.

This capstone project has been designed to support science teachers by explaining and demonstrating how to shift their instruction to higher levels of inquiry. The project contains to two key components. The first is a chart that was developed to help science teachers identify the current level of inquiry in a given lab activity. The second is a series of “Laboratory Revision Sets” designed to demonstrate how to determine the optimal level of inquiry for a given lab activity and how to modify that lab activity to contain the desired level of inquiry. Teachers can use these two resources to identify the current level of inquiry in their lab activities and modify those activities to contain the optimal level of inquiry for the specific content and context of each lab.