Classroom Inquiry Rubric for Student Interactions

When students are doing inquiry-based science, an observer will see that Students View Themselves as:

Active Participants in the Process of Learning

1. They look forward to doing science.
2. They demonstrate a desire to learn more.
3. They seek to collaborate and work cooperatively with their peers.
4. They are confident in doing science; they demonstrate a willingness to modify ideas, take risks, and display healthy skepticism.
5. They respect individuals and differing points of view.

Students Accept an “Invitation to Learn” and Readily Engage in the Exploration Process

1. They exhibit curiosity and ponder observations.
2. They take the opportunity and time to try out and persevere with their own ideas.

Students Plan and Carry Out Investigations

1. They design a fair test as a way to try out their ideas, not expecting to be told what to do.
2. They plan ways to verify, extend, or discard ideas.
3. They carry out investigations by handling materials with care, observing, measuring, and recording data.

Students Communicate Using a Variety of Methods

1. They express ideas in a variety of ways: journals, reporting out, drawing, graphing, charting, etc.
2. They listen, speak, and write about science with parents, teachers, and peers.
3. They use the language of the processes of science.
4. They communicate their level of understanding of concepts that they have developed to date.

Students Propose Explanations and Solutions and Build a Store of Concepts

1. They offer explanations both from a “store” of previous experience and from knowledge gained as a result of ongoing investigation.
2. They use investigations to satisfy their own questions.
3. They sort out information and decide what is important (what does and doesn't’t work).
4. They are willing to revise explanations and consider new ideas as they gain knowledge (build understanding).

Students Raise Questions

1. They ask questions—verbally or through actions.
2. They use questions that lead them to investigations that generate or redefine further questions and ideas.
3. They value and enjoy asking questions as an important part of science.

Students Use Observations

1. They observe carefully, as opposed to just looking.
2. They see details, seek patterns, detect sequences and events; they notice changes, similarities, and differences.
3. They make connections to previously held ideas.

Students Critique Their Science Practices

1. They create and use quality indicators to assess their own work.
2. They report and celebrate their strengths and identify what they’d like to improve upon.
3. They reflect with adults and their peers.

Adapted from materials created by the Vermont Elementary Science Project and the Continuous Assessment in Science Project, ©1995. Courtesy of Gregg Humphrey.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©