Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

First half of SaI

LuisanaT's picture

This years Science as Inquiry (SaI) institute so far has been a valuable experience for the participating teachers in many ways. There is a good balance of discussion and constructive work each day which thoroughly engages everyone involved and also accommodates nicely to everyone’s different interests and/or hopes of the institute.

I am happy to see that at the midpoint of this institute we are becoming more aware and may I say, comfortable with the intersting relationship both the Sciences and the Humanities have with inquiry, understanding as well as with one another (please refer to the 1959 The Two Cultures excerpt).


Mentioning that BOTH the Sciences and the Humanities have a special relationship with Inquiry, is it appropriate to title this institute “Science as Inquiry”? Is it sufficient? (Yes, that does mean reconsidering the name yet again.)

With that said, might it not be interesting, for the rest of the institute, to ask the participating teachers to find interactive, interdisciplinary, open-ended, inquiry based Humanities lessons/activities? Or at the very least, -based Sciences lessons/activity that openly incorporates things from the Humanities and makes the teaching/learning experience more effective? This can be incredibly appropriate for the “non-science” teachers in this institute and for those that want to abolish the bridge (please, The Two Cultures excerpt again) separating the Humanities and the Science a reality.

To help facilitate all the inquiry in this institute, I feel that it is necessary for the members conducting the institute dedicate more time in preparing for the next particular day. Briefly touching bases with each other on what to expect and even brush up a little for the next day(s) will help minimize wasting precious time. This definitely needs to apply to both Julia and I as we are here support the institute and all of its participants to the best of our ability just as much as we are here to critique it. For example, this would have made the session learning about the iflip video camera go much more smoothly and efficiently. Granted, this particular institute is being run by multiple professors, but Julia and I should be utilized to the fullest to help resolve any difficulties, technical and otherwise, that can arise in the sessions for the institute’s betterment.


Anne Dalke's picture

responding to images

One easy "humanities"-based exercise (sorry I didn't think of doing it when I visited the Institute last Wednesday morning) would be to have your students view and respond to a provocative or ambiguous image--first with words, perhaps then with an image of their own. Then compare: how is their understanding enhanced (or limited) by seeing other perspectives on the image? The point here would not be to get it "right," but to illustrate the variety of interpretations available.

Paul and I use this exercise frequently to kick off our first semester writing workshop; see Getting Started for the most recent run.

Cross-posted @