Characterizing the development of students’ ability to ask questions in an inquiry-oriented program in biology

Leading team

Prof. Anat Yarden

Postdocs and students

Tom Bielik, PhD student


Asking questions is a fundamental scientific practice which directs students’ learning and knowledge construction, fosters communication, helps self-evaluating their understanding and increases their motivation and curiosity. Authentic scientific inquiry should provide an opportunity for developing students’ ability to ask questions and enable students to practice the use of the scientific language. In this research we set to characterize the development of the ability to ask questions by students participating in the ‘Bio-Tech’ inquiry-oriented program. Our research question is how does the participation in the Bio-Tech program influence students’ ability to ask questions, focusing on possible changes in the percentage of researchable questions, on questions that focus on an experiment presented to the students in a popular article, and on students’ ability to use metalanguage of science in their questions. Our research population include 11th grade biotechnology students, either participating or not participating in the Bio-Tech program. Our results indicate that participation in the Bio-Tech program contribute to the students’ question-asking ability, mostly to their ability to use metalanguage of science terms and to their ability to focus their questions on the experimental process described in a popular scientific article. This is important for advancing the teaching and learning of science in general and the teaching and learning of this practice in inquiry-oriented educational programs in particular.

Related articles

  • Bielik, T., and Yarden, A. (2013). Developing the ability to critique in the course of inquiry-oriented programs in biology. In D. Krueger, & M. Ekborg (Eds.), A selection of papers presented at the 9th Conference of European Researchers in Didactics of Biology, Berlin, Germany, Accepted for publication.