by Marcia Talhelm Edson
Young children arrive at school with unrestrained curiosity and wonder about the world. A fact-based, hands-on activity approach to teaching science, however, is not enough to help them deepen their scientific thinking or discoveries. In Starting with Science: Strategies for Introducing Young Children to Inquiry, Marcia Talhelm Edson explores the big ideas surrounding inquiry-based science; she helps teachers thoughtfully plan for and implement a conceptual approach to teaching and learning science so students can engage in observation, questioning, predictions, collaboration, data collection, and a deeper understanding of topics important to their lives.
Through numerous examples from classroom discussions, teacher commentary, and children’s work samples, Starting with Science provides practical suggestions and models for beginning teachers as well as those who are fine-tuning their practice. Four key questions underlie the book:
What is inquiry-based science?
How can pre-K, kindergarten, and primary-grade teachers incorporate inquiry-based science when faced with limited science background, insufficient time, and lack of resources?
What roles do the children, the teacher, and the environment play in an inquiry-based science program?
What instructional strategies are effective in implementing inquiry-based science?
In answering these questions, Edson provides a framework from which teachers can devise their own in-depth inquiry investigations based on district requirements and students’ own interests. She also integrates literacy opportunities as well as explicit suggestions for effective assessment of inquiry-based science.
Starting with Science shows us what inquiry looks like in an early childhood classroom and introduces strategies teachers can employ to confidently and competently teach science to students in grades pre-2. Children will gain skills for problem solving and an attitude about learning that they will carry with them not just to the next grade but throughout their lives.