The WeSee community formed around the belief that:

  1. Students should be engaged in self-directed inquiry as one component of their science instruction,

  2. Students should be able to access the scientific expertise of their community from the classroom, and

  3. Teachers should have an easy-to-use program to accomplish these two goals.


WeSee connects teachers with their scientific community by providing a forum for conducting and reporting experiments on a range of scientific and engineering topics. Teachers can take advantage of the established WeSee community to engage their students in authentic inquiry. WeSee Volunteer Principal Investigators (VPIs) guide students through the inquiry cycle (question, hypothesis, experiment, analyze, report) on an established topic or on a new topic of the student's choice. By encouraging members of the local community to participate as VPIs, teachers provide their students with a connection to future scientific careers.

WeSee Explorations can be integrated into any high school science curriculum. The current participation model is to have students work independently on a single exploration over the course of 8-12 weeks. It is important that students' progress be monitored carefully by the instructor; because of the delays inherent to asynchronous collaboration, students' may find themselves without the aid of their VPI if they procrastinate. We recommend students be given weekly class time (say, each Friday) for the completion of experiments, reporting, and communication with their PI.

Excerpts from the NSTA Statement about Inquiry

Regarding the use of scientific inquiry as a teaching approach, NSTA recommends that science teachers
  • Implement approaches to teaching science that cause students to question and explore and to use those experiences to raise and answer questions about the natural world. The learning cycle approach is one of many effective strategies for bringing explorations and questioning into the classroom.
  • Guide and facilitate learning using inquiry by selecting teaching strategies that nurture and assess student's developing understandings and abilities.
  • Design and manage learning environments that provide students with the time, space, and resources needed for learning science through inquiry.

Vermont Inquiry Standards

Enduring Knowledge (Scientific Questioning): Students raise scientifically oriented questions that can be answered through observations, experimentation and/or research. At early stages, students learn how to develop investigable questions that guide their work. At later stages, students connect their questions to scientific ideas, concepts, and quantitative relationships that inform investigations.
Students demonstrate their understanding of SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONING by…
· Framing testable questions showing evidence of observations and prior knowledge to illustrate cause and effect. AND
· Developing a testable question appropriate to the scientific domain being investigated.

Enduring Knowledge: (Predicting and Hypothesizing): Scientists’ explanations about what happens in the world come partly from what they observe and partly from what they think. Preliminary explanations are constructed with conceptual knowledge and propose a new level of understanding. At early stages, students think about what may happen during an investigation and justify their thinking. At later stages, students identify cause and effect relationships within an hypothesis and base predictions on factual evidence more than opinions.
Students demonstrate their understanding of PREDICTING AND HYPOTHESIZING by…
· Developing a testable/guiding hypothesis and predictions based upon evidence of scientific principles. AND
· Predicting results (evidence) that support the hypothesis. AND
· Clearly distinguishing cause and effect within a testable/guiding hypothesis.

Enduring Knowledge (Designing Experiments): Students design investigations that control variables, generate adequate data/observations to provide reasonable explanations, and can be reproduced by other scientists. At early stages, experimental design reflects what the experimenter will do to answer a question and ensure that a test is fair. At later stages, students design investigations that will produce the appropriate kinds of evidence to support or refute an hypothesis. Multiple trials or the collection of multiple data points are incorporated into the design and variables are controlled to ensure that the investigation is valid and reproducible.
Students demonstrate their understanding of EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN by…
· Writing a plan related to the question and prediction that includes:
a. Procedures that incorporate appropriate protection (e.g., no food in lab area).
b. Appropriate tools, units of measurement and degree of accuracy.
c. Components that reflect current scientific knowledge and available technology .
d. Use of scientific terminology that supports the identified procedures

Enduring Knowledge (Conducting Experiments): Students follow an experimental design and use scientific tools (including measurement tools) appropriately and accurately. At early stages, students are encouraged to pay close attention to their experimental plan and record data throughout an investigation. At later stages, students engage in extended investigations and use more sophisticated science tools including computers.
Students demonstrate their ability to CONDUCT EXPERIMENTS by…
· Collecting significant data by completing multiple trials; AND
· Evaluating and revising procedures as investigation progresses.

Enduring Knowledge (Representing Data and Analysis): Students represent data using text, charts, tables, graphs.
Students demonstrate their ability to REPRESENT DATA by…
· Representing data quantitatively to the appropriate level of precision through the use of mathematical calculations. AND
· Developing the skill of drawing a “best fit” curve from data. AND
· Recording accurate data, free of bias. AND
· Explaining importance of avoiding plagiarism/fabrication of other recorded research data.
Students demonstrate their ability to ANALYZE DATA by…
· Accounting for identified experimental errors. AND
· Analyzing significance of experimental data. AND
· Critically examining and explaining the relationship of evidence to the findings of others (e.g., classmates or scientists in the field).
Students demonstrate their ability to EXPLAIN DATA by…
· Proposing, synthesizing, and evaluating alternative explanations for experimental results. AND
· Citing experimental evidence within an explanation. AND
· Including logically consistent position to explain observed phenomena. AND
· Comparing an experimental conclusion to other proposed explanations by peer review (e.g., students, scientists or local interest groups). AND
· Conducting objective scientific analysis and evaluating potential bias in the interpretation of evidence. AND
· Identifying and evaluating uncontrolled variables inherent in experimental model. AND EXTENSION:
· Considering multiple variables when interpreting mathematical analysis.

Enduring Knowledge (Applying Results): Students synthesize the results of an investigation by generating new questions related to the results of the investigation, stating a general rule regarding the understandings learned from the investigation, or applying the understandings learned to similar situations. At early stages, students make connections between classroom investigations and similar situations or experiences. At later stages, students recognize that different explanations can sometimes arise from the same evidence. Students demonstrate an ability to resist over-generalization based on insufficient evidence and suggest the types of evidence that need to be gathered in order to better understand the focus of the investigation
Students demonstrate their ability to APPLY RESULTS by…
· Using technology to communicate results effectively and appropriately to others (e.g., power point, web site, posters, etc.). AND
· Predicting/recommending how scientific conclusions can be applied to civic, economic or social issues. AND
· Proposing and evaluating new questions, predictions, procedures and technology for further investigations. Students raise scientifically oriented questions that can be answered through observations, experimentation and/or research. At early stages, students learn how to develop investigable questions that guide their work. At later stages, students connect their questions to scientific ideas, concepts, and quantitative relationships that inform investigations.
Students demonstrate their understanding of SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONING by…
· Framing testable questions showing evidence of observations and prior knowledge to illustrate cause and effect. AND
· Developing a testable question appropriate to the scientific domain being investigated.

Enduring Knowledge: (Predicting and Hypothesizing): Scientists’ explanations about what happens in the world come partly from what they observe and partly from what they think. Preliminary explanations are constructed with conceptual knowledge and propose a new level of understanding. At early stages, students think about what may happen during an investigation and justify their thinking. At later stages, students identify cause and effect relationships within an hypothesis and base predictions on factual evidence more than opinions.
Students demonstrate their understanding of PREDICTING AND HYPOTHESIZING by…
· Developing a testable/guiding hypothesis and predictions based upon evidence of scientific principles. AND
· Predicting results (evidence) that support the hypothesis. AND
· Clearly distinguishing cause and effect within a testable/guiding hypothesis.

Enduring Knowledge (Designing Experiments): Students design investigations that control variables, generate adequate data/observations to provide reasonable explanations, and can be reproduced by other scientists. At early stages, experimental design reflects what the experimenter will do to answer a question and ensure that a test is fair. At later stages, students design investigations that will produce the appropriate kinds of evidence to support or refute an hypothesis. Multiple trials or the collection of multiple data points are incorporated into the design and variables are controlled to ensure that the investigation is valid and reproducible.
Students demonstrate their understanding of EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN by…
· Writing a plan related to the question and prediction that includes:
a. Procedures that incorporate appropriate protection (e.g., no food in lab area).
b. Appropriate tools, units of measurement and degree of accuracy.
c. Components that reflect current scientific knowledge and available technology .
d. Use of scientific terminology that supports the identified procedures

Enduring Knowledge (Conducting Experiments): Students follow an experimental design and use scientific tools (including measurement tools) appropriately and accurately. At early stages, students are encouraged to pay close attention to their experimental plan and record data throughout an investigation. At later stages, students engage in extended investigations and use more sophisticated science tools including computers.
Students demonstrate their ability to CONDUCT EXPERIMENTS by…
· Collecting significant data by completing multiple trials; AND
· Evaluating and revising procedures as investigation progresses.

Enduring Knowledge (Representing Data and Analysis): Students represent data using text, charts, tables, graphs.
Students demonstrate their ability to REPRESENT DATA by…
· Representing data quantitatively to the appropriate level of precision through the use of mathematical calculations. AND
· Developing the skill of drawing a “best fit” curve from data. AND
· Recording accurate data, free of bias. AND
· Explaining importance of avoiding plagiarism/fabrication of other recorded research data.
Students demonstrate their ability to ANALYZE DATA by…
· Accounting for identified experimental errors. AND
· Analyzing significance of experimental data. AND
· Critically examining and explaining the relationship of evidence to the findings of others (e.g., classmates or scientists in the field).
Students demonstrate their ability to EXPLAIN DATA by…
· Proposing, synthesizing, and evaluating alternative explanations for experimental results. AND
· Citing experimental evidence within an explanation. AND
· Including logically consistent position to explain observed phenomena. AND
· Comparing an experimental conclusion to other proposed explanations by peer review (e.g., students, scientists or local interest groups). AND
· Conducting objective scientific analysis and evaluating potential bias in the interpretation of evidence. AND
· Identifying and evaluating uncontrolled variables inherent in experimental model. AND EXTENSION:
· Considering multiple variables when interpreting mathematical analysis.

Enduring Knowledge (Applying Results): Students synthesize the results of an investigation by generating new questions related to the results of the investigation, stating a general rule regarding the understandings learned from the investigation, or applying the understandings learned to similar situations. At early stages, students make connections between classroom investigations and similar situations or experiences. At later stages, students recognize that different explanations can sometimes arise from the same evidence. Students demonstrate an ability to resist over-generalization based on insufficient evidence and suggest the types of evidence that need to be gathered in order to better understand the focus of the investigation
Students demonstrate their ability to APPLY RESULTS by…
· Using technology to communicate results effectively and appropriately to others (e.g., power point, web site, posters, etc.). AND
· Predicting/recommending how scientific conclusions can be applied to civic, economic or social issues. AND
· Proposing and evaluating new questions, predictions, procedures and technology for further investigations.