Teachers’ use of inquiry and language scaffolding questions when preparing an experiment

Anne Bergliot Øyehaug 1 * , Maria Kouns 2, Elwin. R. Savelsbergh 3
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1 Department of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Physical Education, Faculty of Education, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Innlandet, NORWAY
2 Department of Culture, Language, and Media, Faculty of Education and Society, Malmö Universitet, Malmö, SWEDEN
3 Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, Utrecht University, Utrecht, NETHERLANDS
* Corresponding Author
EUR J SCI MATH ED, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp. 139-155. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/14074
Published Online: 27 December 2023, Published: 01 January 2024
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This study analyze data from three national contexts in which teachers worked with the same teaching materials and inquiry classroom activities, investigating teachers’ use of strategies to promote interaction and scaffolding when participating in a professional development program. The data material is collected from three case studies from the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, respectively. Each case is from a teaching unit about green plants and seed sprouting. In one lesson in this unit, students were involved in planning an experiment with sprouting seeds, and this (similar) lesson was videotaped in three national settings. The main research question is, as follows: How do primary teachers use questions to scaffold conceptual understanding and language use in inquiry science activities? The data analysis shows that teachers ask different kind of questions such as open, closed, influencing and orienting questions. The open, orienting questions induce students to generate their own ideas, while closed orienting and influencing questions often scaffold language and content-specific meaning-making. However, both open, closed, orienting and influencing questions can scaffold student language and conceptual understanding. Often, teacher questions scaffold both language content-specific meaning-making at the same time. The study shows the subtle mechanisms through which teachers can use questions to scaffold student science literacy and thereby including them in classroom interaction.


Øyehaug, A. B., Kouns, M., & Savelsbergh, E. R. (2024). Teachers’ use of inquiry and language scaffolding questions when preparing an experiment. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 12(1), 139-155. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/14074


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