The current study aimed to provide elementary preservice teachers with an opportunity to engage in an authentic inquiry experience that shifted the focus from the hypothesis-testing model of inquiry to one that more accurately and completely reflected the process of scientific inquiry in its entirety. The aim of this qualitative case study was to explore 4 preservice teachers’ experiences and interpretations of these experiences during their independent inquiry journeys, their understanding of the process of science as experienced during the inquiry project, and their perceptions of the implications of their inquiry experiences and willingness to implement an inquiry approach. The findings of this study highlight elementary preservice teachers’ inquiry experiences and their perceptions of the process of science. The participants experienced the fluid and cyclical nature of scientific inquiry; the significance of gathering and interpreting evidence; as well as other essential elements of the process, such as connection to society, collaboration and communication with other scientists, and the importance of questioning in driving inquiry. Their reflections suggested an enhanced and accurate understanding of the process of scientific inquiry and a greater willingness and sense of preparedness in incorporating authentic inquiry experiences and teaching through inquiry in their future classrooms.
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