• general science;
  • nature of science (NOS);
  • inquiry


This study investigated the development in students' nature of science (NOS) views in the context of an explicit inquiry-oriented instructional approach. Participants were 18 seventh-grade students who were taught by a teacher with “appropriate” knowledge about NOS. The intervention spanned about 3 months. During this time, students were engaged in three inquiry-oriented activities that were followed by reflective discussions of NOS. The study emphasized the tentative, empirical, inferential, and creative aspects of NOS. An open-ended questionnaire, in conjunction with semi-structured interviews, was used to assess students' views before, during, and after the intervention. Before instruction, the majority of students held naïve views of the four NOS aspects. During instruction, the students acquired more informed and “intermediary” views of the NOS aspects. By the end of the intervention, the students' views of the NOS aspects had developed further still into informed and “intermediary.” These findings suggest a developmental model in which students' views develop along a continuum during which they pass through intermediary views to reach more informed views. Implications for teaching and learning of NOS are discussed. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 470–496, 2008