Inquiry Based Learning in STEM Education: Physics

In the Sights of the Magnetic Field

In Europe, the electrical current supplied by distributors, is alternating and has a frequency of 50 Hz (50 cycles per second).

This current creates a magnetic field whose maximum exposure values are referenced to ensure the safety of citizens.

Are you exposed, at your school, to average magnetic field values higher than the reference values?








IBL in this Example

Characteristics of IBL

How to use IBL in STEM Ed

This IBL activity allows students to engage in an investigation that will allowthem not only to take measurements, using cell phones, of the Earth's magnetic field but also to ascertain whether the average values to which they are exposed meet the reference values.
Students will also have the opportunity to verify that measurement peaks mayexist, and provide explanations that justify them.

IBL is characterized as follows: Students…

• create their own scientifically oriented questions;

• give priority to evidence in responding to questions;

• formulate explanations based on evidence;

• connect explanations to scientific knowledge;

• communicate and justify explanations

Conclusion: IBL tasks are self differentiating tasks


Usually the students process an IBL task as follows (Research Cycle)

1. Formulate a specific question (Ask)

2. Use the existing knowledge to understand the problem and investigating possible solutions (Investigate)

3. Create new findings based on the previous findings (Create)

4. Discuss the findings (Discuss)  

5. Evaluate the result and, if necessary, improve the solution (Reflect)

Tasks presented…

• Are accessible by all students

• Provide achievable challenges

• Develop fluency, understanding and processes

• Offer multiple entry points

• Involve using a range of methods and strategies

• Value the process rather than the answer


The role of a teacher in using IBL in STEM education

• Looks into and challenges student thinking and reasoning

• Instigates the evaluation and communication of strategies

• Uncovers misconceptions

• Supports student to learn from mistakes

• Provokes and stimulates the exploration of alternative routes

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