TOOLS FOR INQUIRY
Selecting a Content Module


Before starting the Tools to Support Inquiry topic, each INTECer must choose one of eleven INTEC content modules for in-depth study. The first challenge is, naturally, "Which one do I choose?" You will find a variety of tools that span the mathematics and science content areas. There are both "techie," software items as well as non-technical options.

Here you'll find a set of materials to support your selection process. You may be able to download the software itself or a demo to review. Many of the tools are described on websites you can visit.

The goal of the project is production of an inquiry-based unit that fits the goals and expectations of your classroom and student population, and that challenges you to bring an inquiry-based approach to content learning. With this in mind ask yourself these questions as you make your selection:
  • Do I want a software-based module? OR, do I want materials that will let me do inquiry in any classroom?
  • Do I want a module that targets one specific set of concepts? OR, do I want materials that are for teaching a number of different concepts?
  • How do these materials fit with existing curricula? Are they supplements, replacements, or tools for complete reconstruction of the course?
  • Where do you want to be at the end of the course, yourself and as a local study group? For instance, will it make more sense to have all participants use the same content module or for each person to choose a different one? Is it worthwhile to pair up on some tools? You may want to discuss this at your next LSG meeting.

The table below is the source of all the information you will need to make a decision.

One-Stop Shopping for the InquiryWorks! Module of your Choice
For further details, click on the module titles down the LEFT-HAND column. You will find:
  • What you actually get;
  • the additional equipment, if any, that you'll need;
  • how to preview each product or view a website; and
  • a pointer to a sample InquiryWorks! activity.

CONTENT MODULE

Description

Platform/licenses

Grade Level

Algebra: Themes, Tools, Concepts

Algebra offers a practical, non-technical option for the study of inquiry in mathematics. This module explores a unique set of tools applicable to any algebra class.

None needed.

Middle school to secondary.

The CameronBalloon Factory
Inquiry activities in world business

This is an interactive web site designed to help students understand the many processes involved in the production of a model product, in this case hot air balloons. Web browser and "What-If Builder" Middle school and secondary

BioLogica
Exploration of genetics in a constructivist framework

An elegant approach to genetics using a hyper model. Students explore genetics of artificial organisms at the molecular, gene, phenotype, organism, and population levels.

Viewable with a web browser.
Available from a CD ROM for both platforms.

Elementary, middle school, and secondary.

BioQUEST
Environmental Decision Making (EDM)

Simulation software:
visual modeling of ecological systems, predicting, and exploring relationships.

Cross platform (Both Mac and PC).
4 meg of disk space and 16 meg of RAM. Through InquiryWorks!, you get permission to mount EDM on any computer used by an InquiryWorks! teacher or his/her students.

Middle school to secondary.

CBL
Calculator-Based Laboratory

The Sonic Ranger, a distance measuring device, sends data to a port on the CBL interface. The CBL downloads data to the calculator for real time display.

Cross platform (Both Mac and PC).
You'll need a TI Graph Link and a calculator: TI 82 or higher.

Middle school to secondary.

Decisions Decisions:
Building a Nation

Simulation software

A simulation of decisions facing a nation as it recovers from colonial rule. What kind of state do the people want? How will it work? Cross platform (Both Mac and PC). license, 5 computer site reduction in fee System Requirements: Macintosh LC II or Better: System 7.1 / 16 Mhz / 4 MB RAM; Windows 3.1: CPU 386SX / 16 Mhz / 8 MB RAM

Middle school and secondary

Can be repeated in different grades with increasing sophistication.

Global Lab
Remote sensors, environmental monitoring

An indoor air quality testing unit that simulates the international GL telecollaboration project.

Cross platform (Both Mac and PC).
Kit-based.

Upper elementary to secondary.

HOP: Hands On Physics
A kit-based physics course

Combines an Internet-based curriculum with a hands-on kit of materials for building projects with students.

Cross platform (Both Mac and PC).
Kit-based.

Secondary.

The Hero's Journey
Inquiry activities in language arts

This is an interactive web site in which students are guided through the creation of a heroic story. The tool guides students in a shared space in constructing narratives about real or imaginative heroines or heroes. Web-based and CD ROM version available soon Middle school and secondary

ImagiProbe:
Temperature Sensor

Handheld Computer Laboratory

The Temperature Sensor, a temperature measuring device, sends data to a port on the ImagiWorks interface. The ImagiProbe displays on the handheld computer screen for real time display and downloads data to a desktop computer.

Cross platform (Both Mac and PC). license, Palm OS handheld computer required and desktop System Requirements: Macintosh LC II or Better: System 7.1 / 16 Mhz / 4 MB RAM; Windows 3.1: CPU 386SX / 16 Mhz / 8 MB RAM

Middle school to secondary.

Language Logic
Inquiry activities in world languages

Using Kidsolve's Hypothesis Builder, and sets of language resources, students discover for themselves, formulate and share rules describing the nature of linguistic differences. Browsers and computers capable of receiving audio files. Middle school and secondary

LOGAL: Chemical Kinetics
Simulation software

Chemical Kinetics provides a micro-world into the interaction of atoms and molecules. Students can vary such parameters as molecule size, mass, activation energy, and temperature.

Cross platform (Both Mac and PC).
4 meg of disk space and 8 meg of RAM.
CD-based.
You'll get a single-user license.

Secondary science students of physical science, particularly chemistry.

Mars Exploration Project
Hands on and 'Net-on approach to the Mars Landers

An Internet-based curriculum using text materials and images sent by the Mars probes.

Cross platform (Both Mac and PC).
Kit-based.

Middle school and secondary.

Measurement in Motion
Math through Visual Data

The focus is on mathematics and graphical/dynamical representations of data derived from visual data sets. Video clips from a CD or made by students provide material for investigation.

Cross platform (Both Mac and PC).
4 meg of disk space and 16 meg of RAM.
CD-based.

Middle school, early secondary.

VideoPoint

Uses a visual approach to data collection and graphing. Movies are analyzed to understand the mathematics of motion. Equations are fit to the data.

Cross platform (Both Mac and PC).
CD-based.
VP requires a strong machine: pentium with minimum 16 meg of RAM.
A QuickCam is needed if you want to make your own movies.

Secondary. Middle school extensions are possible. A fine tool for physical science.