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Why (not) Inquiry Labs? It's easy!

WEBINAR (61 minutes) recorded February 27, 2019


How do you make a rainbow cylinder? What ratio of hydrogen:oxygen is most explosive? How do we unmix it? What part of the flame is the hottest? These are the questions that drive inquiry-based labs. The standard for labs in many classrooms is still the packet with pre-lab introduction reading, some basic pre-lab questions, a prescribed procedure, pre-formatted data table, banal conclusions questions and probably some exam practice questions to finish it all up. Student thinking, writing, and learning is minimal. If your school or state mandates a minimum number of hands-on lab minutes, these meet the requirement and have little other benefit. Students truly enjoy these cookbook labs about as much as teachers enjoy grading them. So why keep doing labs this way? With a few changes in mindset, both teachers and students can turn almost any cookbook lab into an inquiry learning lab that is rich in writing and thinking. This webinar will provide examples of old cookbook labs, from easy to difficult, that are successfully converted to inquiry labs. An example lab report template based on Google Slides will be shared and some advice on useful grouping strategies will help teachers transition their lab assignments to something closer to inquiry learning that aligns with NGSS and State standards derived from the same.