The Learning Sciences and Geoscience
M.C. Linn 200? National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation
The author asserts that too often, science instruction in the United States results in memorized details rather than linked or connected ideas. High stakes assessments can inadvertently reinforce this form of instruction with multiple choice items on isolated
topics. In contrast students who conduct inquiry projects develop more cohesive, robust and coherent accounts of
complex science and continue to develop their ideas after completing science classes. These students perform well on
tests that require them to integrate their ideas into coherent arguments. To capture the excitement of science and
stimulate knowledge integration by students, teachers, and district leaders, the author advocates inquiry instruction which is
well suited to learning in the geosciences.