Inquiry science

How is inquiry science different?

The concept of science as inquiry emphasizes thought processes and experiences that are both hands-on and minds-on. Investigative science allows students to explore and discover, rather than simply perform the steps of a scientific “recipe” as is often taught in classrooms. Through inquiry, students are challenged to observe, draw inferences, test hypotheses and defend ideas. Through inquiry, students are led to the understanding that answers are not always simple and posing the right question may be as important as getting an answer. Through inquiry, students learn to think.

Why use insects in an elementary science curriculum?

Most of us consider insects as annoying creatures that are to be squashed, sprayed or swatted. Yet, a quick survey of all species indicates that we vertebrates are a distinct minority; insects are by far the most diverse group of organisms on this planet. Of the species described to date, more than 70% are insects. What makes this all the more intriguing is that insects have evolved behavioral, morphological, physiological, and biochemical mechanisms to exploit nearly every ecological niche on the planet. Thus, when asked why we chose to center the curriculum on insects, our answer is simple – just look around you.

Why are insects wonderful for this project?

Insects are relatively inexpensive to rear and have short life cycles that are ideal for classroom studies. Insects have a number of organ systems similar to ours and are thus useful experimental models. Insects can be studied both indoors, using classroom reared animals, or outdoors, using insects in the wild. Principles observed in the classroom can be taken to the field, where further experiments can be performed. The diversity of insects provides a wonderful chance to compare and contrast the evolution of different species. But no matter how you look at insects, in either disgust or delight, one thing is sure – a question arises, and that is the beginning of scientific inquiry.

Why are Manduca the ideal subject?

The use of a living organism, likeĀ Manduca, is an ideal tool through which to explore inquiry-based science. The materials are relatively inexpensive and the organism takes up little space. It has a fairly short life cycle with clearly defined stages of egg, larvae, pupa and adult. The insect is bred in captivity for homogeneity which reduces the impact of external, uncontrolled variables upon an experiment. It also possesses all body systems – nervous, respiratory, digestive, and reproductive, that can be compared and contrasted with human systems. Manduca larvae demonstrate easily observable behaviors that can be altered by outside stimuli.

Students should be encouraged to discover and speculate from their own observations. Once students are familiar with the insect, teacher may choose provide resources illustrations this website as a reference for further investigations. especially helpful when altering variables that affect growth, or external features of larva. We hope that you find Tobacco Hornworm an exciting new tool inspire ask questions about insect ultimately themselves world.