Sliding toward inquiry

12 July 2012
MaryKay Orgill
MaryKay Orgill

Sliding toward inquiry: Using the Essential Features of Inquiry to improve learning in the laboratory environment

MaryKay Orgill, Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), USA.

Bio: Dr. MaryKay Orgill is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (USA). After a high school teacher told her that girls couldn't "do chemistry," she entered Brigham Young University as a chemistry major (B.S. 1995). She was surprised to find that she actually liked chemistry—and loved teaching it; so she enrolled in a graduate program at Purdue University to study both biochemistry (M.S. 1999) and chemical education (Ph.D. 2003). She continued to pursue both interests as a first-year faculty member with a joint appointment in biochemistry and science education at the University of Missouri-Columbia. During that year, she took on the extra challenge (and incredible learning experience) of teaching a high school chemistry class. In 2004, she moved to UNLV, where her research focuses on using qualitative methods to examine students' understandings of chemistry and biochemistry concepts (for example, students' understandings of buffers or of protein translation).
Since her arrival at UNLV, Dr. Orgill has delivered professional development courses designed to increase the science and mathematics content knowledge of local primary and secondary teachers. In recent years, she has also become involved with faculty professional development, as both the international advisor for the Australian Advancing Science by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory (ASELL) project and as the principal investigator of the corresponding chemistry-focused project in the USA.
Dr. Orgill is a co-editor of Theoretical Frameworks for Research in Chemistry/Science Education (Pearson Education, 2007) and is the recipient of several teaching awards, including the UNLV Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award.

Abstract: In recent years, there has been a repeated call for science instructors to improve learning in the laboratory environment by modifying laboratory activities to make them less "cookbook" ("recipe book") and more inquiry-oriented. But what does that mean? What is "inquiry"? What does it look like in a laboratory learning environment, and what can an instructor do to make a laboratory activity more inquiry-oriented? In this session, we will discuss four historical laboratory instructional styles, their relationships to "inquiry," variations of "inquiry," and how instructors can use the "Five Essential Features of Inquiry" to make their laboratory activities more inquiry-oriented.

Time: 12.00 - 1.00pm

Location: Physics Lecture Theatre 5 (Rm 337), School of Physics.

Cost: Free

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