Service-Learning: A Vehicle for Inquiry Teaching and Learning


  • Barbara Solomon Spector University of South Florida
  • Jeremy Lake West Nassau High School
  • Amy Basham Academy at the Lakes
  • Cindy Leard Independent Consultant


A service learning model was used in a science methods course for elementary teachers as the context for integrating key pedagogical strategies necessary to attain current national and state standards. This innovation provided a real-world problem-solving experience and introduced learners to service-learning through personally relevant environmental issues. Designed as an inquiry, this experiential course, engaged learners in “doing science” and constructing knowledge of science, technology, and societal interaction content on a need to know basis. The intervention taught future teachers to engage their communities in addressing local issues. It also mitigated preservice teachers’ science anxiety and enabled preservice teachers to understand and appreciate current national and state standards. Included are the methods course structure, the model used for service-learning, an extensive scenario illustrating classroom interactive inquiry strategies, and excerpts from students’ journals revealing attitudinal changes during the course.

Author Biographies

Barbara Solomon Spector, University of South Florida

Teaching and Learning Department

Professsor of Science Education

Jeremy Lake, West Nassau High School

Biology Department - Teacher

Amy Basham, Academy at the Lakes

Science Department - Teacher

Cindy Leard, Independent Consultant

Principal - Ph.D