This approach also is supported by volumes of empirical research and it is particularly well suited to effective learning in the physical sciences. Instead of focusing on narrative explanations of scientific concepts in the traditional educational approach, inquiry-based methodology utilizes practical materials designed to allow students to experiment and directly observe and experience the scientific concepts presented in each lesson (Huber & Moore, 2001).
According to the available research, hands-on inquiry-based active learning is much more effective than traditional educational methods (Huber & Moore, 2001; MDE, 2010). While the financial costs associated with procuring commercially-produced active-learning educational materials can be a considerable barrier for many public education systems, the general approach can also be implemented through improvised materials without substantially detracting from the value of the instructional method (Huber & Moore, 2001).
Based on the available empirical research on active learning and inquiry-based learning, it should be anticipated that the new standards implemented by the Minnesota Department of Education will have a tremendously beneficial effect on learning. Active learning, in general, is well documented to improve learning and subject matter retention and inquiry-based learning corresponds to significantly improved learning and retention, especially in the sciences. Ultimately, the MDE standards seem to be perfectly in line with the relevant research literature on teaching methodologies that are most conducive to learning and should, therefore, achieve their intended objectives.
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Huber, R.A. And Moore, C.J. "A Model for Extending Hands-on Science to be Inquiry
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Minnesota Department of Education. (2010). Minnesota Academic Standards -- Science
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