Inquiry-Based Science Education

IBSE is designed to reflect how students actually learn, and engages students in the process of scientific inquiry

Inquiry-Based Science Education (or IBSE) is a form of science education that gives the student the opportunity to explore a subject/topic through hands-on activities, investigation and posing of questions. It is designed to reflect how students actually learn, and engages students in the process of scientific inquiry. Increasingly it is seen as key to developing their scientific literacy, enhancing their understanding of scientific concepts and heightening their appreciation of how science works.

To facilitate inquiry-based learning, one needs to perceive the progression from teaching science as an activity concerned mainly with accumulating unchangeable knowledge to appreciating science learning as a student-centred process of constructing and acquiring knowledge. The latter position mimics scientific inquiry, which is characterised as a multifaceted activity that involves making observations; posing questions; examining books and other sources of information to see what is already understood; planning investigations; reviewing what is already known in the light of experimental evidence; using tools to gather, analyse, and interpret data; proposing answers, explanations and predictions, and communicating the results.

Whereas traditional teaching methods have failed to engage many students, especially in developed countries, IBSE offers outstanding opportunities for effective and enjoyable teaching and learning. It provides stimulating environments for students to explore their learning in authentic situations.

Read about IBSE in BGCI’s Roots publication 9.2: 

Science communication class Bulgaria (credit UBG)
Lisbon teachers (credit - ULISBOA)
Public attitudes to science (credit INQUIRE)
Taking IBSE into secondary education (credit INQUIRE)

This technique was successfully used during the INQUIRE project, with partner gardens as well as school teachers, trained in this technique. The project produced a range of resources that are available to download.

IBSE resources

  • Inquiry-Based Science Education Resources

    Public Engagement / Publication / English