A Note to the Teacher: Exemplary Science Teaching

What does means to be an exemplary science teacher?

Exemplary science teachers are those who utilize other means than what we see in a traditional classroom. They strive to reach equilibrium with both assessment and inquiry – this can be achieved by focusing on the way we teach and the way we want our students to learn.

As exemplary science teachers, we want to be able to control what our students learn from our lessons but oftentimes the students decide for themselves what they actually learn.

Assessment-based Learning and Inquiry-based Learning

There is no equation for a perfect classroom, but a near close one is equal parts assessment and inquiry.

  • Assessment-based leaning allows us to measure student growth and understanding while ensuring they are on track with course standards. It is essential that we monitor where each individual student is so that they stay on track for success.
  • Inquiry-based learning allows us to venture beyond the comfort zones of both our students and ourselves. This can be led by either the student or yourself. To achieve this style of learning you must make time for student reflection and other forms of discussion.
Credit to @trev_mackenzie for this incredible illustration.

No matter which science course you are teaching – your student will thrive in a spontaneous environment.

Tips on how to achieve an exemplary science teacher status:

1 – Understand the needs of both the classroom and the individual students

2 – Incorporate time for inquiry-based learning such as student-led discussions and traveling outside of the classroom

In this video, we see an example of inquiry-based learning happening outside of the classroom.

3 – Assess students regularly in different manners – exams, group projects, interviews, etc

In this video, the importance of assessment is highlighted.

“Teaching is the one profession that
creates all other professions.”

– Unknown


  1. Hi Brooklyn!
    I throughly enjoyed reading about your thoughts on what it means to be an exemplary teacher. The figure that you used to describe types of student inquiry was so eye catching and I think very informative on how inquiry can be directed towards students. I think that your ideal classroom being split between inquiry and assessment is incredible and if you work towards this goal, even if you are not perfect at it, you will have a great classroom experience for your students. Have you though how will you balance a more date-guided assessment schedule with more spontaneous inquiry based learning? Or will the assessment dates flow more with how the inquiry learning experiences are going?

    • Hi Colleen! Thank you for taking the time to read my post. It means a lot! Yes, I have thought about how I will balance a more date-guided assessment schedule with more spontaneous inquiry-based learning. My thoughts on this are to keep the guided assessment schedule but change the assessments based on our inquiry experiences. For a random example, my class would quiz every other Wednesday, and based on our conversations or inquiry experiences on Monday/Tuesday will determine what our quiz will cover. My original quiz may have been over the periodic table but based on the questions and experiences that happened during the lab Monday, I may change the topic to where we see different elements in our everyday lives. I would like to keep all the dates constant so that the class has somewhat of a structure, but the content of them can change!

  2. Hi Brooklyn,
    Nice summary on your thoughts on exemplary teaching. I found your figure on types of student inquiry to be really interesting because its easy to think of student inquiry as occurring in a specific way when it occurs along a gradient (as shown in your figure). Also, I thought your tips on exemplary teaching were useful to keep in mind. What might be a specific example of one way you would assess students in an alternative manner in your classroom?

    • Hi Lauren! Thank you for taking the time to read my post and thank you for your kind words! A specific example of one way I would assess students in an alternative manner in my classroom would be to utilize entrance and exit slips for daily or even weekly check-ins. 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing such a great post Brook! It is great that you put such a focus on the role of inquiry and how that could look in your future classroom. I agree with you–inquiry based learning is so much more influential and powerful than assessment based learning. It’s so important to allow the students’ curiosity guide their learning. One question I have is how will you strive to keep the classroom on track with such liberal amounts of inquiry? I think that would be hard for me!

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