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Catalyzing Student Research NARST Paper

Science education has dual goals of producing students who know science and can do science. The knowing, perhaps because it is easier to teach and assess, receives greater attention than the doing. The ideal way to develop abilities to do science and to assess abilities is to have students engage in science research. In most places, however, this ideal is just a murky dream, with science education characterized by textbooks and teacher lectures, peppered with an occasional recipe-style lab devoid of genuine investigation. Full-inquiry experiences help develop all the skills needed for authentic research and they help learners better understand and appreciate the nature of science.

Science education has dual goals of producing students who know science and can do science. The knowing, perhaps because it is easier to teach and assess, receives greater attention than the doing. The ideal way to develop abilities to do science and to assess abilities is to have students engage in science research. In most places, however, this ideal is just a murky dream, with science education characterized by textbooks and teacher lectures, peppered with an occasional recipe-style lab devoid of genuine investigation. Full-inquiry experiences help develop all the skills needed for authentic research and they help learners better understand and appreciate the nature of science.

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