Tool IJ-3: The potential of IBL to promote key competencies

For this tool you will need the following resource:

  • II-3 PowerPoint

This tool aims to promote thinking about different teaching approaches and the competencies download_powerpointstudents will develop. The tool involves a short whole group discussion about using IBL in the science classroom and time for individual reflection.


As a group, discuss the following recommendation from the report ‘Science Education in Europe: Critical Reflections’ (Osborne and Dillon, 2008) and draw some conclusions in terms of teaching practices.

“The emphasis in science education before 14 should be on engagement. Evidence would suggest that this is best achieved through opportunities for extended investigative work, and ‘hands-on’ experimentation and not through a stress on the acquisition of canonical concepts”.

According to the below definition, compare inquiry-based learning to transmission pedagogies in terms of their potential to promote problem solving skills, critical thinking and science knowledge application.

By definition “inquiry is the intentional process of diagnosing problems, critiquing experiments, and distinguishing alternatives, planning investigations, researching conjectures, searching for information, constructing models, debating with peers, and forming coherent arguments” (Linn, Davis, & Bell, 2004).

nextstepsConsider a lesson you are planning to teach in the next week and reflect on:

  • the teaching approaches you will use;
  • the competencies students will develop.


Linn, M. C., Davis, E. A., & Bell, P. (2004). Inquiry and technology. Internet environments for science education, 3-28.

Osborne, J., & Dillon, J. (2008). Science education in Europe: Critical reflections (Vol. 13). London: The Nuffield Foundation.