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How to Improve Students' Science Process Skills Using Inquiry-Based Learning

Science process skills are important abilities that students need to develop in order to understand, apply, and communicate scientific knowledge. However, many students still face difficulties in performing science process skills, such as formulating hypotheses, identifying variables, and designing investigations. One of the possible ways to overcome this problem is by using inquiry-based learning as a teaching strategy.

Inquiry-based learning is a student-centered approach that involves asking questions, exploring phenomena, collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and communicating findings. Inquiry-based learning can help students to develop their science process skills by engaging them in authentic and meaningful scientific investigations. Inquiry-based learning can also foster students' curiosity, motivation, and interest in science.

Several studies have shown the positive effects of inquiry-based learning on students' science process skills. For example, Damopolii et al. (2018) [^1^] conducted a study on elementary school students in Indonesia and found that inquiry-based learning improved their science process skills and learning outcomes on the topic of physical properties of matter. Similarly, Supiyati et al. (2022) [^2^] also reported that inquiry-based learning enhanced the science process skills of elementary school students in Indonesia on the topic of environmental pollution. Furthermore, Hamidi et al. (2019) [^3^] examined the influence of inquiry-based learning on the science process skills and cognitive abilities of fifth-grade students in Indonesia and found that inquiry-based learning had a significant effect on both variables.

Therefore, inquiry-based learning can be considered as an effective and beneficial teaching strategy to improve students' science process skills. Teachers can implement inquiry-based learning by following some steps, such as: (1) stimulating students' curiosity and interest by presenting a problem or phenomenon; (2) guiding students to formulate questions and hypotheses; (3) facilitating students to plan and conduct investigations; (4) assisting students to collect and analyze data; (5) helping students to draw conclusions and communicate findings; and (6) providing feedback and reflection opportunities for students.

By using inquiry-based learning, teachers can help students to develop their science process skills as well as their scientific literacy and attitude. Inquiry-based learning can also make science learning more enjoyable and meaningful for students.

Some examples of inquiry-based learning in science are:

Self-directed curriculum: Instead of giving students set questions to answer, the teacher gives the students a general topic to inquire about and find an area of interest to explore within the overarching topic. For example, students can choose a topic related to chemistry and conduct their own research project on it.

Field trips: Students go on a field trip to collect data by taking photographs. The students return to the class and use the photographs to compile information about the topic under study. For example, students can visit a local factory or plant and observe how chemical processes are used in production.

Science experiments: Students conduct an experiment on what plants need by growing seeds in different conditions and tracking each plants progress. The students formulate hypotheses, design investigations, collect and analyze data, draw conclusions, and communicate findings. For example, students can test how different fertilizers affect plant growth.

Inquiring about a mystery by using clues: Students in a kindergarten class see before and after photos of destroyed habitats as the teacher asks questions about what they think happened and how do they feel. The students use clues to infer the causes and effects of envir

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