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Main | Activity 3-1 | Activity 3-2

Step 3. Formulate and Test Investigation Question

ABOUT THIS STEP

During step 2 you identified a science area for your project that aligns with standards. Now you’re ready to lead students in their own investigation of that content domain. In step 3 you formulate, support, and study an investigation question that:

  • Motivates students.
  • Activates students' relevant prior knowledge.
  • Uses a dataset to teach a specific standard for learning.
  • Investigates a science research question.

Alignment and Design Space
You specify the investigation question parameter of your design space parameters in this step (see Figure 1). While testing and refining the investigation question, Virtual Design Center participants are often surprised and excited at the insights revealed to them about their learners and ways to:

  • Phrase the question.

  • Contextualize the question.

  • Present the question.

  • Focus the question.

The examples included within this step should give you an idea of how the previous participants refined their investigation questions.

Image that shows Figure 1 -- The investigation question parameter of the Virtual Design Center design space.  Please have someone assist you with this.

Figure 1. The investigation question parameter of the Virtual Design Center design space.

Dimensions of Inspiration
Through the connections you made with science practice and scientists in step 2 (mental models and identity), you finally mold that into a question appropriate for your target learners. Through the testing of your investigation with target learners, you can actually find out how the question evokes learners’ imagination and creativity in thinking about their solutions, and you can also understand their prior mental models of the science content and science practice (mental models, creativity, and imagination).

Activities and NASA Review Criteria Matrix
The matrix below summarizes the activities to be completed in this step and explains how to meet NASA’s product review criteria. 

Activity

Summary/Deliverable

NASA’s Product Review

Activity 3-1: Draft and Refine Your Investigation Question

Read three design principles to guide you in the drafting/refinement of your investigation question.

Complete Deliverable 3-1: Investigation Question.

These activities address following review criteria:

A-1, A-2. Quality and Appropriateness
C-7. Evaluation/ Assessment

Read Virtual Design Center Step 3: NASA Criteria Connect.

Activity 3-2:  Test Your Investigation Question

Test your investigation question with a sampling of your targeted learner population.

Complete Deliverable 3-2: Results of Your Pilot Testing.

Start the activities in the matrix and return to this page when you are finished.

Continue to Activity 3-1.

DEBRIEFING
Through step 3 you have developed your investigation question and have tested it to ensure that it motivates your targeted learner population. Read the introduction in this page and reflect on the alignment, inspiration, and NASA criteria in relation to your activities.

Once your team is satisfied with the step 3 deliverables, submit them to the discussion board and share your experience for step 3. Your facilitator will review your deliverables and provide feedback.

In step 4 you will develop assessment instruments to measure how effective your inquiry-based learning activity will be in helping learners to meet the educational standards. When you are ready, move to step 4.

Main | Activity 3-1 | Activity 3-2

 

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