Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Scientific Inquiry and Learning Science

 Brief Overview 

Learning science is often equated with the familiarity of technical terms and laws combined with the ability to manipulate formulae and equations (e.g. f = ma) or having ‘information’ about various disciplines of sciences e.g. physics, chemistry, biology. Furthermore, epistemic fragmentation that isolates one subject from the other, starts from school education and continues unless exclusive efforts are made to comprehend inter-connectedness or unified nature of science.
Inquiry means investigation, the process of finding out something through one’s own thinking, reasoning and/or observation. ‘Scientific inquiry’ refers to the mode of investigation that is characteristic of science.
In this course, the focus will be on understanding scientific concepts and propositions and integrating ideas across disciplinary boundaries. The pursuit of inquiry offers us a learning process through observing, thinking, and reasoning like scientists and developing agile minds that will know ‘How to learn’.

 Course Objectives 

  • This course aims to develop the following abilities:
    • thinking rationally and critically
    • identifying and formulating questions and problems worthy of investigation
    • finding answers and solutions, and conclusions based on them
    • justifying/proving and evaluating conclusions
    • engaging in debates and discussions to choose between competing conclusions
  • We also seek to develop a broad understanding of the core concepts and propositions of scientific knowledge that go into the making of the twenty first century world view, with an awareness of the uncertainty and fallibility of scientific ‘knowledge’ “

 Teaching Methodology 

  • Experimental inquiry that includes learning through experiences and investigating them through process of inquiry. The process could include a) A demonstration or some hands on activity b) Making observations c) Investigating, questioning, explaining d) Experiment changes /new design to test the hypothesis
  • The learning will happen through discussions in a collaborative mode – include discussing and presenting in groups.
  • Whenever necessary, audio-visual aids will be used to foster inquiry.
  • Visits to other locations to carry certain activities related to experimental inquiry.
  • Reading and discussion of articles / book chapters that are inline with learning objectives.
  • Self learning is an integral part of the process either in or out of the classroom.



 Course Outline 





What is scientific Inquiry  

o   Knowing difference between science as a subject, technology and scientific inquiry

o   Relevance of inquiry



Inquiring Scientific concepts  -

(Any three out of following. Flexibility is presumed to include or exclude topics based on interests of students.)

o   Gravity 

o   Heliocentric model

o   Theory for atomic model

o   Evolution theory




Syllabus for Scientific Inquiry

Experimental Inquiry,  conceptual Inquiry and theoretical inquiry

o   Observing, reporting , noticing patterns

o   Reporting and generalising

o   Defining

o   Abstracting

o   Investigating - Hypothesis / conjecture

o   Justifying / proving

o   Critical thinking

o   Concept Clarification

Constructing and evaluating theories


Trans-disciplinary concepts of knowledge

o   Concepts spanning across ‘subjects’

o   Understanding continuum