Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Reflect

Reflection happens throughout the inquiry process. The end of an inquiry cycle provides a special opportunity for the student and the classroom community to reflect on what they learned and how they learned it. Through these kind of reflections, students become better aware of the ways they learn best. Was it the science talks? Was it documentation? Was it working with friends? There are many ways for students to reflect, and have fun in the process! 

Reflect and Learn!

Reflection is a powerful learning tool in many ways:

  • Students make connections between their previous knowledge and new information

  • Empowers students to process concepts in their own terms, deeply over time

  • Clarifies ideas through conversation with teacher and peers

  • Validates students through sharing experiences and encourages collaboration

  • Reinforces experiences and solidifies understanding

 


 

A Teacher's Role

Teachers have a wonderful opportunity to guide students through science learning. Their are many ways for a teacher to encourage students to reflect.

For successful inquiry science learning, it is important to set-up a classroom environment that keeps your students inspired and engaged. Setting up your classroom environment for inquiry is likely similar to the way that you set-up your classroom now.

For successful inquiry science learning, it is important to set-up a classroom environment that keeps your students inspired and engaged. Setting up your classroom environment for inquiry is likely similar to the way that you set-up your classroom now.

Teachers can use a chart during Science Talks to document students' ideas and/or discoveries about a science concept.

Promoting Reflection and Analysis

Teacher responses can promote reflection by:

  • Restating or paraphrasing what children say,

  • Asking children for their ideas, and

  • Accepting children's ideas without judgment.

Teacher responses can promote analysis by:

  • Asking children for descriptive details,

  • Asking children for examples, comparisons and/or alternatives, and

  • Using "What if...? Why do you think....? How do you know...?" questions.

Remember....

Teacher responses can limit inquiry when:

  • Leading them to the "correct" answer,

  • Telling them what to do or think, or

  • Moving on to a new idea too quickly.

Teacher responses can prevent children's thinking when:

  • Explaining the observation to children,

  • Interrupting students off during conversation, or

  • Correcting students without validating their ideas.

Thinking takes time!

Allow students ample opportunity to think, formulate theories, ask questions, and go back to the drawing board!