- Prof. Anat Yarden
- Dr. Tom Bielik
Asking questions is a fundamental scientific practice which can direct students’ learning and knowledge construction, foster communication, assist self-evaluation of their understanding, and increase their motivation and curiosity. Authentic scientific inquiry provides an opportunity for developing the ability of students to ask questions, and enables students to practice their use of scientific language. In this study we set to characterize the development of the ability to ask questions exhibited by students participating in the ‘Bio-Tech’ inquiry-oriented program. Our research question is: How does the participation in the Bio-Tech program influence students’ ability to ask questions? To this end the study is focused on possible changes in the percentage of researchable questions, on questions regarding an experiment presented to the students in a popular article, and on the ability of students to use scientific metalanguage in their questions. Our research population includes 11th-grade biotechnology students, some of whom are participants in the Bio-Tech program. Our results indicate that participation in the Bio-Tech program contributes to the students’ ability to ask questions – primarily to their ability to use scientific terms and metalanguage, and to focus their questions on the experimental process described in a popular scientific article. These are crucial factors in advancing the teaching and learning of science in general, and of this practice in inquiry-oriented educational programs in particular.