Since the publication of the National Science Education Standards in 1996 efforts have been made to include inquiry into school science programs. An addendum on inquiry to these standards was published in 2000 presenting five essential features of classroom inquiry as indicators of the active use of inquiry in a science lesson. The purpose of this content analysis was to examine and identify the presence of these five essential features of classroom inquiry within publisher-identified inquiry activities found in the 2000 and 2010 teacher's editions of the third grade science textbooks published by Scott Foresman. The textbooks were read and coded using each of the five essential features of classroom inquiry as a priori categories. Data from both textbook editions indicated that although these activities were identified as inquiries, only a few contained all five essential features, while about half contained none. Approximately half of the publisher-identified inquiries were partial inquiries, containing less than five of the essential features. Teachers who use these resources should be aware of the presence or lack of the essential features in order to supplement the science curriculum. Publishers need to be more explicit in including these features and further research should be conducted in more textbooks to better understand the quality and quantity of inquiry activities found within these resources.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





inquiry, five essential features of classroom inquiry, science textbooks