Teacher Spotlight: Dr. Bob Gilmore

This Teacher Spotlight goes to:
Dr. Bob Gilmore
5th grade, Massachusetts

What is your favorite Inq-ITS Lab?
Lunar Phases.

How do you use Inq-ITS?
I am using Inq-ITS to increase data literacy skills for my students. The comfort that my students have with their data and their ability to talk about their data intelligently is light years ahead of other students.

Any good stories?
I’ve done a preview with students and once I have that data I take a picture with my phone and then I have the students discuss the data. It was hard not to rescue kids when they made mistakes, but the kids have made big progress by being allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.

Anything else to add?
For my kids I gave zero instruction on the mechanics of doing Inq-ITS. Literally I just gave them the code and the kids were off and running. They were intuitively able to get started on their individual investigations.

Teacher Spotlight: Sarah Boese

This Teacher Spotlight goes to:
Sarah Boese
9th grade, North Dakota

What is your favorite Inq-ITS Lab?
Forces & Motion on Different Planetary Bodies.

How do you use Inq-ITS?
It varies, sometimes I use Inq-ITS as an assessment tool to see how well they understand the concepts. Sometimes I use it as a preview for a future hands-on lab.

Any good stories?
(Laughing) My students love and hate Rex all at the same time.

Anything else to add?
Overall I just love using Inq-ITS because it forces my students to think like Scientists. It forces them to think more about analyzing information rather than just regurgitating knowledge.

Claim – Evidence – Reasoning – WHY?

With the start of the 2016-17 school year, Inq-ITS is making a change in the final stage of our Virtual Inquiry Labs. In the past, students would conclude their lab reports by writing a standard open response conclusion. However, whether your focus is on the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core, or the current political climate, one thing is abundantly clear:  It is imperative that our students practice not only making claims, but also backing up those claims with evidence. With this focus on critical thinking skills, Inq-ITS has changed the final stage of our Virtual Inquiry Labs to include three separate sections:

  • Claim: Students need to state a claim from their investigation.
  • Evidence: Students need to provide and describe scientific evidence from their data table that supports (or refutes) their claim.
  • Reasoning: Students are asked to explain why their evidence supports or refutes their claim.

This is a great resource on teaching your students to engage in argument from evidence:Requiring students to write out their findings in a Claim-Evidence-Reasoning format may take them more time, but is necessary if we want students to develop the critical skills needed to communicate in science. By requiring students to not only write out their argument, but to also validate that argument through analysis of their data, students have the opportunity to learn a skill that will extend far beyond the classroom.

Science Practices Leadership Strategies

3D Learning

The Next Generation Science Standards call on educators to provide students with authentic inquiry experiences.  By giving students the opportunity to think critically in the classroom, we make it possible for students to think critically in other areas as well.  Inq-ITS virtual labs provide students the opportunity to embark on individual inquiry experiences in a short period of time, while also yielding real time assessment data.  This new video from The Teaching Channel focuses on why it is important to give students authentic inquiry experiences.


Well written article is a must read

Well written article by Carolyn Higgins, Rhode Island Science Teachers Association, President. “Doing science does not require expensive equipment or a college degree. Doing science does require curiosity. Children are full of curiosity and we need to make sure they use it.”


Five recommendations for standardized test designers

Fantastic Article!  “Can standardized tests…enhance education instead of just assessing it?”

What makes Inq-ITS unique is the ability to not only assess student inquiry skills, but also to receive real-time data so teachers can tailor their instruction to enhance student learning.  We are seeking teachers to pilot Inq-ITS in their classroom as we work to make assessments that enhance student learning.