Science & Education

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 247–267

Teaching the Nature of Inquiry: Further Developments in a High School Genetics Curriculum

  • Jennifer L. Cartier
  • Jim Stewart

DOI: 10.1023/A:1008779126718

Cite this article as:
Cartier, J.L. & Stewart, J. Science & Education (2000) 9: 247. doi:10.1023/A:1008779126718


In order for students to truly understand science, we feel that they must be familiar with select subject matter and also understand how that subject matter knowledge was generated and justified through the process of inquiry. Here we describe a high school biology curriculum designed to give students opportunities to learn about genetic inquiry in part by providing them with authentic experiences doing inquiry in the discipline. Since a primary goal of practicing scientists is to construct explanatory models to account for natural phenomena, involving students in the construction of their own explanatory models provides a major emphasis in the classroom. The students work in groups structured like scientific communities to build, revise, and defend explanatory models for inheritance phenomena. The overall instructional goals include helping students understand the iterative nature of scientific inquiry, the tentativeness of specific knowledge claims (and why they should be considered tentative), and the degree to which scientists rely on empirical data as well as broader conceptual and metaphysical commitments to assess models and to direct future inquiries.

biologyepistemologyinquirygeneticsinquirymodelsproblem solvingsecondary curriculum

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer L. Cartier
    • 1
  • Jim Stewart
    • 2
  1. 1.NCISLAMadisonUSA
  2. 2.MadisonUSA