Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


First Advisor

Guy Trainin

Date of this Version



Mulder, J.A. (2019). Hands-on, Guided Inquiry Science Investigation And Science Vocabulary Acquisition In A Rural Elementary School. (Master's thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States). Retrieved from


A THESIS Submitted to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Guy Trainin. Lincoln, Nebraska: August 2019.

Copyright (c) 2019 Jennifer Mulder


Much research has been done to show how inquiry science instruction and inquiry student investigation provide students with hands-on experiences to effectively learn science content in the classroom. Additionally, many methods to efficaciously teach students vocabulary has been thoroughly investigated. However, not much research has been done to study what effect hands-on, guided inquiry science investigation has on student content vocabulary acquisition. Within one rural classroom, fourth graders engaged in hands-on, guided inquiry investigation, and then vocabulary words were explicitly taught and discussed. After that, students practiced the vocabulary words in a variety of ways in pairs and as a class. For the first two science units taught, students were administered a pre-test, a second test after the inquiry investigation and vocabulary instruction, and a post-test following the vocabulary practice. Following inquiry investigation and explicit vocabulary instruction and discussion, students showed growth on the vocabulary tests, however more time to practice with the vocabulary words seemed to be required for students to develop proficiency. Due to this observation, students were assessed with a pre-test and a post-test in the third unit.

Advisor: Guy Trainin