Differentiation in Inquiry-based Learning (Focus Experimentation) (DifferentiatInq)

Main funder

Funds granted by main funder (€)

52 793,00

Funding program

Strategic partnerships, E+ (Erasmus +)

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2019

Project end date: 31/08/2022


The acknowledgment of heterogeneity in groups of learners is imperative in education and is seen as
a great potential for education.
Principally, heterogeneity in learning groups is caused by individual students. However, it has also
increased due to restructuring in the educational system (comprehensive and community schools),
students with a range of language proficiencies (migration) and the desire for inclusive education.
These changes have increased the importance of differentiation (internal differentiation) in the
classroom and the professionalization of teachers.
The design of individual learning opportunities can be put into practice in different ways. This project
addresses differentiation regarding student performance (individual performance training).
School education should teach the basics of natural sciences. Scientific methods of cognition, such
as experimentation, are of great importance in teaching.
Students should develop an understanding of the experimental method (learning about science) and
the respective competences to apply it (skills and abilities: Doing science). In the acquisition of
competences relevant for experimentation, content competences (What is an experiment? How is the
experimental process structured? etc.) and procedural competences (ability to pose questions,
generate hypotheses, conduct experiments etc.) can be distinguished.
While many differentiation concepts and practice examples exist for content competences, these are
missing for procedural competences (especially for experimentation).
This need is being addressed in the project. The project partners will contribute their different
expertise to develop a differentiation concept for performance differentiation in inquiry-based learning
with a focus on experimentation. The development focus is on procedural competences. By a
differentiation concept we understand the description of different task types (based on individual
learning levels) for the individual sub-processes of the experimental process. The task types enable
the further development of partial competences. If the task types are provided with concrete learning
content, exercises can be created. The sub-processes of the experimental process are: developing a
question, generating a hypothesis, planning an experiment, conducting an experiment, evaluating an
experiment, drawing conclusions.
To elaborate the concept, the need for differentiation at schools will be identified and the national
analyses conducted earlier will be combined into a transnational analysis in the context of meetings
and observations.
Since the differentiation concept will be developed by project staff from four European countries,
experts in didactics and methodology and teachers, it can be used all over Europe. Particular
attention is given to the cooperation with schools as project partners who test and evaluate the
concept and the respective teaching materials.
The differentiation concept for experimenting is presented in a manual providing practical examples
and teaching materials for clarification. The manual is intended to serve teachers, student teachers
and students as a reference book and to build up knowledge.
In order to introduce the manual into school practice, it will be used to develop seminars which are
then presented to science teacher students and in-service training programs. The seminars and inservice
trainings will be established at the universities of the project partners.
The publication (open resource) of the manual and the pre- and in-service training are intended to
promote the professionalization of teachers and thus improve school practice.

Principal Investigator

Other persons related to this project (JYU)

Contact person (yes/no):

Primary responsible unit

Fields of science

Free keywords

Differentiation; Science education

Last updated on 2020-17-04 at 14:30