This unit can be used to develop the students’ ability to plan investigations, develop hypothesis, distinguish alternatives, searching for information, constructing models and debating with peers. As each teacher will implement the unit in different manners, the emphasis can be placed on different sections and hence different elements of inquiry.
Each of the subunits can be used for each aspect of inquiry. In each subunit, the teacher may start with either a series of questions or with an interactive demonstration e.g. in subunit 2, the initial demonstration may be of iodine passing through cling film which then leads to questions for further investigations such as to the reproducibility, does this always happen, does this effect depend on the film used, does this effect depend on the particular molecules used, and determination of the film characteristics. These activities may be guided, bounded or lead into open inquiry activities.
Alternatively, the sub unit could be introduced by discussing examples of polymers we use every day, such as cling film, and addressing common misconceptions about its properties in keeping elements of the environment from spoiling food. Another application is in rain coats where the layer is impervious to water in one direction but permeable to water vapour in the other direction.
The focus of this unit is to provide ideas and activities that can be implemented in an inquiry based series of lessons. The initial activities given in this unit will form the background for further more open inquiry activities by the students.
The activities given are not developed to be performed in a linear order. Particular activities can be selected for use in various types of inquiry. The series of activities should be aligned to students’ ideas and questions so that creativity, imagination and flexibility are always an integral part of the inquiry based teaching and learning.