The Best Planning Books for Teaching Inquiry Based Science

Planning for Science can be a lot of fun! It seems everywhere you look there are lists of cool experiments, classic demonstrations, and even some fun new ways to explore science. One thing that can be hard to wade through, however, can be books for YOU… the parent, the teacher, the caregiver. Finding books to help you teach your learner science can be a chore. That is why today for Saturday Science, I have decided to share some of my favorite resources and planning books I love for teaching Inquiry Based Science Lessons.

Books and Resouces to Plan for inquiry Based Science


Whether you homeschool, send your children to public/private school, or you are a school teacher yourself, planning for science can be a burdon if you are not a “science person”. I have always loved science from the time I was itty bitty and I have always found that I have been able to share that love with others and help them engage their children in thought provoking science.

What is Inquiry Based Science?

According to the National Science Teachers Association, Inquiry Based Science is  the basis of scientific understanding. Scientific Inquiry relates to how scientists come to understand the world around them through questions, investigations, collecting data and using evidence to make meaning of the world.

Scientific inquiry involves making observations; posing questions; examining books and other sources of information to see what is already known about a given subject; planning investigations; using tools to gather, analyze, and interpret data; proposing answers, explanations, and predictions; and communicating results.

In addition, inquiry based science is generally student directed. The teacher is considered a guide and facilitator there to help children develop the skills necessary to conducting investigations. Often times, the questions, experiments and tests come from the children and are carried out by the children to gain a better understanding of the world around them.

Inquiry Based Science Teacher Planning Guides

While I know there are many resources available for teaching inquiry based science, I wanted to share some of my favorite resources that I have used while in the classroom. All of these resources, focus on being a facilitator and a guide to student investigations. It puts the focus on setting up opportunities and learning how to know your students’ interests and curiosities.

I have personally used each one of these resources during my time in the classroom and at home, which is why I feel confident recommending them to you. If you are looking for a curriculum for homeschool, I have to admit, I do not use a boxed curriculum and am not familiar enough with any of the curriculum choices to guide you in that realm. If you are school teacher, I can suggest FOSS Curriculum as an excellent inquiry based science curriculum, however it tends to focus more on teacher directed as opposed to student driven.

Project Approach: Young Investigators

1. Young Investigators | This is basically my go to guide when it comes to teaching my children. It is a simple step by step guide to conducting the Project Approach. Complete with worksheets for the teacher and ideas for projects, this book has been a tremendous resource for helping me learn how to follow my students’ lead and foster their interest.


Engaging Children's Minds


2. Engaging Children’s Minds | Another great book geared towards teaching the Project Approach. This updated version of the well-known book takes a deeper look at Project Approach and the philosophy behind it. It is great for anyone who does not have a strong background in science and is looking to understand how to guide and facilitate inquiry based learning with their children. In addition, the new edition will include a multitude of project examples and ideas to help you get started.


Young Scientists Series Building Structures  Exploring Nature

Exploring Water | Building Structures  | Discovering Nature

3. Young Scientists Series | While this series is geared towards the youngest learners (early childhood), these books are a phenomenal example of student led inquiry projects. I love this series and can not recommend them enough. They are great if your child has an interest in one of the topics addressed, if you are looking for something to spark your child’s curiosities, or if you just need a book that will give you the basics of a student led project.


Tinkerlab The book

Tinkerlab (A Hands On Guide for Little Inventors) | This is one of my newest favorites! While this book is not directly a science guide, it does focus on learning how to take cues from your children and guide them through the inquiry process. It has an entire chapter on tinkering and another on concoctions. It takes science and turns it into art! This book is a must for anyone looking to engage their children in hands on inquiry. (Side note: the pictures in this book are breathtaking!) You can read more about my thoughts on this book here:

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More Resources for Getting Started with Teaching Science

What is Inquiry Based Science | Exploratorium

The Best Science Pinterest Boards What-is-Science-For-Kids 8 Science and Engineering practices Every Kid Should Know

25 Must Follow Pinterest Boards for Planning Science
Basic Science Concepts | Lemon Lime Adventures
8 Science & Engineering Practices Every Child Should Learn | Lemon Lime Adventures

Science Experiments and Science Books for K-3 | Planet Smarty Pants
Planning Science Activities for Ages 3-7 | Measured Mom
Books for Homeschool Lesson Planning | Carrots Are Orange
Back to School with STEM and Curriculum Resources | Inspiration Laboratories
35 Resources to Encourage Inquiry and Inventive Thinking | Childhood 101

What resources do you use for teaching inquiry based science? Do you have a favorite I didn’t mention? I would love to know! Leave me a comment or stop my Facebook and tell me! Also, don’t forget to connect with me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email so you don’t miss our next adventure!


Saturday Science Blog Hop


Magnet Painting from P is for Preschooler
Little Bins For Little Hands
Stir the Wonder

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8 thoughts on “The Best Planning Books for Teaching Inquiry Based Science”

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      You are welcome!

  1. Maire

    Any resources for middle school? I’m thinking of “flipping” my classes and want to move to a more inquiry approach. I used to teach at a school with FOSS… but my new school is a blank slate… literally… I get to mold the curriculum to fit my design.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      That sounds wonderful to get to create your own curriculum. My “expertise” is early childhood and primary. I am not as familiar with middle school (although I will be researching it as my oldest is going into middle school soon) . If you are interested inquiry based learning I would suggest reading more on the Project Approach.

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