Inquiry: The Yearlong Experience


This video was one of the final group projects turned in. Simply put, I asked students to tell the story of their project and do it in a way that would engage the audience. This group even put in a bonus song halfway through the presentation that captured the overall idea of their work.

This ends another year of inquiry. Personally, I set goals for myself that I didn’t keep. One of the goals was to write more about the process. I got started; writing at the beginning as students decided on their questions but then I got side-tracked. The overall picture is that students began the first few days of the school year walking through campus, wondering and questioning. Groups were formed based on interest and students then prepared background information reports, hypotheses, and procedures. By September, most groups began collecting data and this repeated for the rest of the year. Approximately once a month, the class would scatter as students logged in a new data point. In May, we began wrapping up the project and discussing results. Students individually created a report and as a group prepared a presentation.

Will I continue this next year? If I was staying at my current job, the answer would be a resounding “Yes!” Each year of this project reinforces the idea that need the opportunity to work on perseverance. How many times is a lab performed where students collect data and move on? They miss the chance to retool ideas, to improve technique and to return time after time to the same idea. Here are a few thoughts provided by students in their final reflection:

When asked the benefit of a year-long project:

  • The question can have more data points which shows a wider range and there is more time focused on one project. It can also show how effective in the manipulated variable of time.
  • We had the privilege to go out in the field to a location of our choosing and learn what we wanted at our own leaning pace.
  • In this year, we have all improved a lot. We have learned how to have great conversations with group members, team-building and responsibilities.
  • At first, some of us wanted to do some things alone; however, it does not work out well. We needed to hep each other to get everything done.
  • It is extremely important in a year long project to organize your data and develop strong observation skills.
  • The project taught me a lot of things on team-building, responsibilities and time managing.
  • I learned a lot from this inquiry project, from how to collect samples and other lab techniques to how to organize data and analyze it and then present to others. It gave me a good idea of how to do a good experiment and what experiment is like.

  • After a year, I have learned not only how to test starch; the process of how to do an experiment became my valuable property.
  • I learned to overcome difficulties without having an emotional breakdown.

A few student “surprises”/”enjoyments”:

  • I was definitely surprised about how complicated to start an experiment.
  • At the start, I thought this project was going to be a burden on my shoulder, however after having fun in every field day with other members of the group, I fell in love with this project.
  • I enjoyed how we got to have fun times and serious times doing this project. We had some days we are just so busy, it was not fun but there are days we get to have fun and relax at the pond with the good weather.

  • I really enjoyed when the other group members were there, we were exploring around the pond like scientists.
  • I personally dream to become a mad scientist so practicing experiment skills is very important to me.

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