Pathways to Inquiry: Analyzing and Building Science Inquiry Skills through Evidence-Based Technology Integration Project is developing a link between science inquiry skills development and earth science content knowledge for middle school earth science teachers and their students.

Inquiry skills are basic scientific skills including asking testable questions, generating hypothesis, designing investigations, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting the results, and drawing conclusions. It’s about teaching students how scientists ask and find answers to questions.

Through collaboration with teachers across Louisiana as well as LSU Information Technology Services, this project offers two interrelated tools, an Inquiry Skill Analyzer (iSA) and an Inquiry Activity Portal (iAP).

PTI project is funded by a three year grant from the National Science Foundation (2006-2009).

If you'd like to participate in the PTI project, contact

Inquiry Skill Analyzer (iSA)

The iSA is based on the eight areas of science inquiry and their underlying skills as outlined in the National Science Education Standards. All assessment items are embedded in an earth science context. Teachers can use iSA to analyze their own inquiry skills in different inquiry skill areas, as well as their students’ skills, identify strengths and weak areas, and monitor the progress throughout the school year.

Inquiry Activities Portal (iAP)

The iAP is designed to assist teachers in selecting inquiry activities that target specific inquiry skills in the context of earth science units taught in typical eighth grade earth science classes. All the activities included in the portal are selected based on their quality, alignment of science inquiry skills and middle school earth science content according to the National Education Standards and Louisiana Grade Level Expectations, technology-enhancement and active student-centered learning.

“Effective educational programs are linked to assessments that help students grow, develop, and succeed. The purpose of this project is to develop a science inquiry skills assessment tool and activities portal that are effective, but at the same time teacher- and learner-friendly and non-threatening.”

-Yiping Lou
Principal Investigator

“Many teachers have the misconception that science inquiry activities have to be long-term projects and they find it difficult to fit them into their busy schedules. This project offers teachers a quick and easy way to locate and use earth science lessons that practice specific inquiry skills.”

- Pam Blanchard
Co-Principal Investigator

Contact Information

Dr. Yiping Lou
Department of Educational and Psychological Studies
University of South Florida
Tampa, FL, 33620
Phone: 813-974-7886
Dr. Pamela Blanchard
Department of Educational Theory, Policy and Practice
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA, 70820
Phone: 225-578-2297