Doing Science: The Process of Scientific Inquiry
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National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Doing Science: The Process of Scientific Inquiry

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Teacher's Guide

Using the Web Site

The Doing Science: The Process of Scientific Inquiry Web site is a wonderful tool that can engage student interest in learning, and orchestrate and individualize instruction. The Web site features simulations that articulate with two of the supplement’s lessons. To access the Web site, type the following URL into your browser: http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/inquiry/teacher. Click on the link to a specific lesson under Web Portion of Student Activities.

Hardware/Software Requirements

The Web site can be accessed from Apple Macintosh and IBM-compatible personal computers. The recommended hardware and software requirements for using the Web site are listed in the following table. Although your computer configuration may differ from those listed, the Web site may still be functional on your computer. The most important item in this list is the browser.

Recommended Hardware/Software Requirements for Using the Web Site*
CPU/processor (PC Intel, Mac) Pentium III, 600 MHz; or Mac G4
Operating system (DOS/Windows, Mac OS) Windows 2000 or higher; Mac OS 9 or newer
System memory (RAM) 256 MB or more
Screen setting 1024 × 768 pixels, 32 bit color
Browser Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or Netscape Communicator 7.1
Browser settings JavaScript enabled
Free hard-drive space 10 MB
Connection speed High speed (cable, DSL, or T1)
*For users of screen-reader software, a multichannel sound card such as Sound Blaster® Live!™ is recommended.

Getting the Most out of the Web Site

Before you use the Web site, or any other piece of instructional software in your classroom, it is valuable to identify the benefits you expect the technology to provide. Well-designed instructional multimedia software can

Ideal use of the Web site requires one computer for each student team. However, if you have only one computer available in the classroom, you can still use the Web site. For example, you can use a projection system to display the monitor image for the whole class to see. Giving selected students in the class the opportunity to manipulate the Web activities in response to suggestions from the class can give students some of the same autonomy in their learning that they can gain from working in small teams. Alternatively, you can rotate student teams through the single computer station. If you do not have the facilities for using the Web site with your students, you can use the print-based alternatives provided for the Lesson 3 and 4 activities.

Collaborative Groups

We designed many of the activities to be done by teams of students working together. Although individual students working alone can complete the activities, this strategy does not stimulate the types of student-student interactions that are part of active, collaborative, inquiry-based learning. Therefore, we recommend that you organize collaborative teams of two to four students each, depending on the number of computers available. Students in groups larger than four often have difficulty organizing the student-computer interactions equitably, leading to one or two students’ assuming primary responsibility for the computer-based work. Although large groups can be efficient, they do not allow all the students to experience the in-depth discovery and analysis that the Web site was designed to stimulate. Team members not involved directly may become bored or disinterested.

We recommend that you keep your students in the same collaborative teams for all the activities in the lessons. This will allow each team to develop a shared experience with the Web site and with the ideas and issues that the activities present. A shared experience will enhance your students’ perceptions of the lessons as a conceptual whole.

If your student-to-computer ratio is greater than four to one, you will need to change the way you teach the module from the instructions in the lessons. For example, if you have only one computer available, you may want students to complete the Web-based work over an extended time period. You can do this in several ways. The most practical way is to use your computer as a center along with several other centers at which students complete other activities. In this approach, students rotate through the computer center, eventually completing the Web-based work that you have assigned.

A second way to structure the lessons if you have only one computer available is to use a projection system to display the desktop screen for the whole class to view. Giving selected students in the class the opportunity to manipulate the Web activities in response to suggestions from the class can give students some of the same autonomy in their learning they would have gained from working in small teams.

Web Activities for Students with Disabilities

The Office of Science Education (OSE) is committed to providing access to the Curriculum Supplement Series for individuals with disabilities, including members of the public and federal employees. To meet this commitment, we will comply with the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 508 requires that individuals with disabilities who are members of the public seeking these materials will have access to and use of information and data that are comparable to those provided to members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities. The online versions of this series have been prepared to comply with Section 508.

If you use assistive technology (such as a Braille reader or a screen reader) and the format of any materials on our Web site interferes with your ability to access the information, please let us know. To enable us to respond in a manner most helpful to you, please indicate the nature of the problem, the format in which you would like to receive the material, the Web address of the requested material, and your contact information.

Contact us at

Curriculum Supplement Series
Office of Science Education
National Institutes of Health
6100 Executive Blvd., Suite 3E01 MSC 7520
Bethesda, MD 20892-7520
supplements@science.education.nih.gov

Doing Science: The Process of Scientific Inquiry 508-Compliant Web Activities
Lesson, activity For students with hearing impairment For students with sight impairment
Lesson 3, Activities 1, 2, and 3 No special considerations are required.

Students using screen-magnification or screen-reading software can choose an alternate, text-based version of the activity. The content of the two versions of the activity is equivalent.

The “Progress Map” at the bottom of each page keeps track of the student’s progress. If the student closes the activity and returns to it later, the activity will resume where the student left it. The last page of the activity provides a summary of all the student’s answers. The student can use the Progress Map to return to any page and edit his or her responses.

The computer the students use must be connected to the Internet.

Supervision is recommended.

Lesson 4, Activity 1 No special considerations are required. Same as Lesson 3, Activities 1, 2, and 3.

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