Research in Science Education

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 1–28 | Cite as

Questioning Questions: Elementary Teachers’ Adaptations of Investigation Questions Across the Inquiry Continuum

  • Mandy Biggers


Questioning is a central practice in science classrooms. However, not every question translates into a “good” science investigation. Questions that drive science investigations can be provided by many sources including the teacher, the curriculum, or the student. The variations in the source of investigation questions were explored in this study. A dataset of 120 elementary science classroom videos and associated lesson plans from 40 elementary teachers (K-5) across 21 elementary school campuses were scored on an instrument measuring the amount of teacher-direction or student-direction of the lessons’ investigation questions. Results indicated that the investigation questions were overwhelmingly teacher directed in nature, with no opportunities for students to develop their own questions for investigation. This study has implications for researchers and practitioners alike, calling attention to the teacher-directed nature of investigation questions in existing science curriculum materials, and the need for teacher training in instructional strategies to adapt their existing curriculum materials across the continuum of teacher-directed and student-directed investigation questions. Teachers need strategies for adapting the teacher-directed questions provided in their existing curriculum materials in order to allow students the opportunity to engage in this essential scientific practice.


Elementary Curriculum Inquiry continuum Investigation questions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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