Investigative Science Learning Environment

What does it look like?

The Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) approach is holistic learning environment which addresses two main goals: to help students learn physics by engaging them in the processes that mirror scientific practice and to improve their well-being while they are learning physics: specifically, to help them develop perseverance, growth mindset and physics identity. The ISLE developers believe that everyone can learn physics given tools, time, and support, therefore students learning physics through the ISLE approach are encouraged to improve their work without being punished for a second or third attempt.

This approach involves students’ development of their own ideas by

  • observing phenomena and looking for patterns,
  • developing explanations for these patterns,
  • using these explanations to make predictions about the outcomes of testing experiments,
  • deciding if the outcomes of the testing experiments are consistent with the predictions,
  • revising the explanations if necessary, and
  • encouraging students to represent physical processes in multiple ways.

The combination of these features is applied to every conceptual unit in the ISLE learning system, thus helping them develop productive representations for qualitative reasoning and for problem solving.