Date of Award


Degree Name

Education Specialist


Science Education

First Advisor

Dr. Robert H. Poel

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Jenness

Third Advisor

Dr. David Rudge


Inquiry teaching often rests upon the assumption that through the use of questioning and response strategies, teachers can stimulate students to actively construct knowledge. Based on this hypothesis, middle-school science lessons were observed and questioning and response strategies were identified that are related to inquiry-based instruction.

Twenty-four science lessons were observed, videotaped, and ranked by inquiry characteristics other than questioning strategy. The video and audio portions of the recordings were analyzed to determine the student and teacher’s questioning and response strategies in each classroom. These strategies were then compared to teaching style, along a continuum from traditional to inquiry, to identify questioning and response strategies that stimulate students to ask questions, solve problems, analyze evidence, consider alternative explanations, and other similar inquiry behaviors.

The analyses indicated several questioning strategies of teachers that are related to inquiry teaching and learning and might be used as indicators of inquiry teaching in middle school science lessons. These include the number of content related questions asked by teachers, the number of divergent questions asked by teachers, the number of times teachers probe for the intended response, the number of times teachers answer students’ questions, and the number questions per concept asked by teachers. Perhaps more important was the observation that even after several decades of emphasizing the importance of inquiry methods in science education, neither students nor teachers participating in this study are asking higher level cognitive questions deemed to be an important facet in the effective teaching and learning of science.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access