viernes, 23 de octubre de 2009


In order to accomplish the objectives proposed for this action research project, I followed three stages in which I used different data collection instruments. In the pre-stage, the instruments that helped me to confirm that there was a problem were:

1. a pre-test
2. a pre-survey

First, the group of students took a pre-test of ten multiple choice questions and three open questions about the different systems of the human body. The purpose of this pre-test was to check how much students knew about this topic, after studying it for about four years following a traditional teacher-centered approach which did not foster autonomy in students, before starting the inquiry-based unit.

The second step was to give students a pre-survey of thirty-eight questions about aspects related to inquiry-based learning and autonomy awareness. The purpose of giving students this pre-survey was to revise how much students knew about the inquiry-based learning approach compared to the traditional method they had used to learn science and also to know how autonomous they were before applying the inquiry-based learning unit which was more student-centered and fostered more autonomy in students.

During the while-stage, the implementation of the inquiry-based learning unit about the systems of the human body took place. It was a total of eight lessons that started with the skeletal system and ended with the nervous system. All the lessons had an inquiry-based learning methodology which followed these steps:

• Students engaged with a scientific question, event or phenomenon.
• Students explored ideas through hands-on experience, formulated and tested hypotheses, solved problems, and created explanations for what they observed.
• Students analyzed and interpreted data, synthesized their ideas, built models, and clarified concepts and explanations with the teacher and other sources of scientific knowledge.
• Students extended their new understanding and abilities and applied what they had learned to new situations.
• Students extended their new understanding and assessed what they had learned and how they had learned it.

The purpose of the inquiry-based lessons was to create a more student-centered class environment in which students had more opportunities to ask questions and discover knowledge by themselves using different resources in order to demonstrate how a methodology like this would increase their autonomy awareness more than the traditional methodology they had used so far. At the end of this document you will find a description of the inquiry-based lessons that were taught.

Students made a portfolio in which they collected all the work they did along the process. While students carried out the inquiry-based activities, the teacher took field notes in order to monitor students’ performance in terms of autonomy awareness and record any increase due to the implementation of the activities.

Finally, in the post-stage, I designed a post-test and a post-survey in order to confirm whether these fourth grade students had increased their level of autonomy awareness. Once students finished the inquiry-based learning unit, they were given a post-test about the different systems of the human body. The purpose was to check if they had shown improvement in terms of knowledge about the topic after studying the unit following an inquiry-based learning approach, in order to compare the results with those obtained in the pre-.test and measure to what extent they had improved. Then students took a post-survey of thirty-eight questions which provided valuable information on the way students perceived different aspects related to inquiry-based learning and autonomy awareness after the implementation of the inquiry-based learning unit. The purpose of giving students this post-survey was to check how much students had changed their views about aspects that dealt with autonomy awareness compared to those they had following a traditional teacher-centered methodology instead of a more student-centered one that encouraged students to explore and discover knowledge themselves with the teacher assuming the role of a facilitator.

Table 1
Project Program
Week Date Tasks

1 Monday, April 20.
Tuesday, April 21.
Thursday, April 23. Pre-test activity.
Inquiry-based unit introduction (The skeletal system)

2 Monday, April 27. The muscular system
Tuesday, April 28. The respiratory system
Wednesday, April 29. The circulatory system

While-stage Thursday April 30. The heart.
3 Monday, May 4. The digestive system
Tuesday, May 5. The nervous system
Wednesday, May 6. Inquiry-based unit review

4 Monday, May 11. Post-test
Wednesday, May 13 Post-survey

As a conclusion, I would say that the methodology I applied and the instruments I designed were appropriate for the study, and they helped me to collect useful data to achieve the main aim of this action research project.

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