Becoming Scientists

  • Title:Becoming Scientists: Inquiry-Based Teaching in Diverse Classrooms, Grades 3-5
  • Author:Rusty Bresser, Sharon Fargason
  • Publication Date:July 2013
  • Grade Level:3-5
  • ISBN:9781571109781
  • Publisher:Stenhouse

Most important to being a good science teacher is holding the expectation that all students can be scientists and think critically. Providing a thinking curriculum is especially important for those children in diverse classrooms who have been underserved by our educational system.

 — Becoming Scientists

Good science starts with a question, perhaps from the teacher at the start of a science unit or from the children as they wonder what makes a toy car move, how food decomposes, or why leaves change color. Using inquiry science, children discover answers to their questions in the same way that scientists do—they design experiments, make predictions, observe and describe, offer and test explanations, and share their conjectures with others. In essence, they construct their own understanding of how the world works through experimentation, reflection, and discussion.

Look into real classrooms where teachers practice inquiry science and engage students in the science and engineering practices outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards. Rusty Bresser and Sharon Fargason show teachers how to do the following:

  • Build on students' varied experiences, background knowledge, and readiness
  • Respond to the needs of students with varying levels of English language proficiency
  • Manage a diverse classroom during inquiry science exploration
  • Facilitate science discussions
  • Deepen their own science content knowledge

As the authors state, "Inquiry science has little to do with textbooks and lectures and everything to do with our inherent need as a species to learn about and reflect on the world around us." Join your students on a journey of discovery as you explore your world via inquiry.


Author Bio

Rusty Bresser first became interested in teaching while doing anthropological research on children and families in a rural farming community in French Polynesia. His interest in applied anthropology led him to the Teacher Education Program at the University of California, San Diego. After graduating from UCSD, Rusty began his teaching career at The Children's School, a small private school in San Diego that was based on the British Infant Schools' model of child-centered education. Seven years later, Rusty made the move to public schools, where he taught kindergarten through sixth grade, rounding out his twenty years as a classroom teacher before moving on to higher education, where he teaches today. Currently, Rusty is a lecturer and supervisor of teacher education in the Education Studies Department at the University of California, San Diego. He teaches mathematics and science courses to graduate students, education courses to undergraduates, and supervises student teachers. He is also a mathematics consultant for Math Solutions at Scholastic. Rusty is interested in issues of equity and social justice in math and science education.

Sharon Fargason is a classroom teacher at Fay Elementary School in San Diego, California. She is interested in fostering and growing the natural curiosities that children develop as they learn about and interact with the world. She also teaches literacy and math methods courses to graduate students at Brandman University. Although Sharon began college with dreams of practicing psychology, she entered the teaching program after working with the homeless population in San Diego. Sharon graduated from the Teacher Education Program at the University of California, San Diego. Sharon says that she enjoys teaching "because every day is an opportunity to watch students grow and learn."

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