Resource Reviews

from the March/April 2000 issue (vol. 13, Issue 4) of Connect,
a publication of Synergy Learning

Beyond the Science Kit bookcover

Beyond the Science Kit, edited by Wendy Saul and Jeanne Reardon, is a collection of articles by classroom teachers about their own experiences with using kits and other hands-on materials. The goal of the book is not to argue against the use of kits, but to suggest how they can be adapted to the needs of individual classes and children.

These chapters come directly from classroom experiences of skilled teachers, complete with examples of student work and classroom dialogue. Reardon reminds us, "Our best teaching will come from listening to and watching the children with their hands in science."

Beyond the Science Kit ($24.00 plus $4.00 shipping & handling for first book, $1 for each additional book) is available from Heinemann.


Nurturing Inquiry, Real Science for the Elementary Classroom, by Charles R. Pierce, tells the story of the author's classroom in Maryland. But in doing so, Pierce examines the theoretical underpinnings of his own teaching. He writes about children's learning styles and the challenges of encouraging inquiry among students who have had little opportunity for it in the past.

The book includes many specific ideas for projects, investigations and communicating ideas.

Nurturing Inquiry, Real Science for the Elementary Classroom ($21.00). Available from Heinemann.

Nurturing Inquiry bookcover


Inquiry at the Window, by Phyllis Whitin and David J. Whitin, is largely the story of one fourth grade classroom where children's sense of wonder is both developed and supported. The window of this classroom is where a great deal of observation of birds takes place and this becomes the topic of the students' long term inquiry. The Whitins use examples from the classroom to elaborate on inquiry learning in very helpful and clear ways. The book includes children's work, classroom dialogues and explanations of links to many members of the local community.

Inquiry at the Window ($21.00). Available from Heinemann.

Inquiry: Thoughts, Views, and Strategies for the K-5 Classroom, is part of the Foundations series now being published by the National Science Foundation. This book contains thirteen diverse articles, including several by authors on the staff of the Exploratorium. Also featured is an excellent chapter by Hubert Dyasi, who has worked extensively with New York City schools, and two useful chapters on assessment, one by Wynne Harlen and another by George Hein and Sabra Lee.

Inquiry: Thoughts, Views, and Strategies for the K-5 Classroom, is free of charge. An electronic version is available on the NSF webpage, under "Public/Media Information", document NSF99-148. Or write Div. of Elementary, Secondary & Informal Education, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Rm#885, Arlington, VA 22230. Call (703)306-1620

Collaborative Inquiry in Science, Math and Technology, by Dennis Adams and Mary Hamm, argues that scientific inquiry and mathematical problem solving skills can best be encouraged in an atmosphere of cooperative learning. Field tested activities and assessment strategies appear throughout the book. They illustrate specific points, but they are also well explained and usable in classrooms. Examples include investigations of light, sound, patterns and the use of manipulatives to promote inquiry in math.

Collaborative Inquiry in Science, Math and Technology ($19.50). Available from Heinemann.

Talking Their Way Into Science, by Karen Gallas has been reviewed previously in Connect. We list it here because it is such a remarkable approach to supporting inquiry with young children. Children raise central issues in "science talks" which form the basis for longer investigations. The book reports on the technique in Gallas's own classroom and beyond.

Talking Their Way Into Science ($16.95 plus $3.50 shipping for first book and .75 for each additional book) is available from Teachers College Press, PO Box 20, Williston, VT 05495-0020. Call 800-575-6566, fax 802-864-7626.

The Science Detective, opens possibilities for inquiry through problems posed in a fictional video about an astronaut searching for extra-terrestrial life. Developed by the SETI Institute, the book and video represent a high level of confidence in the existence of life on other planets. To encourage inquiry, you would have to adapt some of the activities in the teacher's guide. The material is listed as appropriate for grades 3 and 4. Some of the activities about the solar system could easily be used with older students.

The Science Detective ($54.00 includes book, video and full-color poster) is available from Teacher Ideas Press, PO Box 6633, Englewood, CO 80155-6633. Call 800-237-6124, fax 303-220-8843. Web site address is

Taking Inquiry Outdoors, edited by Barbara Bourne, has the subtitle, "Reading, Writing and Science Beyond the Classroom Walls." Like Beyond the Science Kit, reviewed here, it comes from the work of a group of teachers connected with the University of Maryland.

This book focuses on science as motivation for reading, research and writing and on ways that conventional subject matter can be integrated to make a more useful whole for students. Chapter authors include eight classroom teachers from preK to eighth grade.

Taking Inquiry Outdoors ($17.00 plus $3.50 shipping) is available from Stenhouse Publishers, PO Box 1929, Columbus, OH 43216-1929. Call 800-988-9812, fax 614-487-2272. Web site:

Taking Inquiry Outdoors bookcover

For any of the titles published by Heinemann, contact them directly at: PO Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881. Call 800-793-2154, fax 800-847-0938. They offer 10% discounts on web orders through their site:

These Resource Reviews focus on books which can help with discussion and planning of inquiry investigations, but inquiry in the classroom demands good materials and equipment. Synergy Learning is developing a basic materials list for science and math inquiry. To receive a copy of the draft, or to submit ideas, please call us at 800-769-6199 or e-mail: The annotated list will be published in Connect in the fall of 2000.


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