#SOLSC21: Science Inquiry?

As a fourth grade teacher, I loved the learning from the FOSS kits. (Not the stocking, restocking, and prep when I had 29 students.) If my memory is correct two of the units we used were Soils, Rocks, and Landforms and Sounds. When I saw the NGSS standards, I immediately saw connections and loved how easy I thought alignment might be for both content and the Gradual Release of Responsibility which was our lesson format.

At the TCRWP Supper Club I was introduced to Paul Anderson, science guru in Montana, and his inquiry cards during a Zoom session that was highly engaging, quite riveting, and easy to incorporate a minilesson.

Inquiry Cards

Keys to Successful Inquiry:


Time for Exploration

Time for Questions

Time for Explanations

Time to Test, Plan and Carry out Investigations

Time for Argumentation



“Science needs to be LESS about following directions and more about the process of INQUIRY. Stop turning science into a cookbook! NGSS Exploration is first!”

“A five year old can have the same level of inquiry in nature as an adult in science. (Not so in math or literacy.)”


Resources or to Learn More:


(Under resources check out minilessons. Also check out performance assessments.)

And recommended:


(three units available for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade)

Does your “inquiry” in genre or author study include these steps? How teacher-directed is your inquiry? Where might you provide more time for students?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.

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2 responses

  1. I think many of us forget that inquiry takes time, In this day of instant gratification so many are unwilling to put in the time it takes to doo a thorough inquiry. “Stop turning science into a cookbook!” Love this line.

  2. Yes. To the cookbook quote. That is how I totally remember science. One cookbook page after another.

    Time … and the ,”but what if they don’t get the right answer?” are issues in inquiry

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