How does guided inquiry learning motivate and engage students?
This research study investigated whether or not the use of guided inquiry instruction would act to increase the motivation and engagement of science students more than the use of traditional instructional methods. The researcher conducted an action research study using two grade 8, linear math-science classes at a secondary school in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Two different science units were taught to both classes. One class was taught a science unit using guided inquiry while the other class was taught using traditional instructional methods. Then the classes were taught the second science unit using the other instructional method. Students were surveyed after the completion of each science unit, using a two part survey which consisted of semantic differential ranking questions and written response questions. Survey questions asked the students to evaluate their enjoyment, interest, motivation, effort, and to assess the difficulty of the science units. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics: Average scores were calculated for each semantic differential question, for each survey, for each class. Written responses were shown as percentages of the total responses given. The study found that students preferred traditional instruction over guided inquiry instruction; however, many students enjoyed inquiry type activities, even though they found inquiry instruction to be more challenging. Although the study did not conclusively show that guided inquiry increased motivation and engagement, the results did show that all students had high levels of both motivation and engagement during both science units.