Project: Exploratorium’s Institute for Inquiry

Authors: Mark St. John

Type: Report

Publication: November 2001

The Exploratorium’s Institute For Inquiry – Four Cornerstone Claims

Executive Summary (pdf, 3 pages)

Final Report (pdf, 35 pages)


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested in the Exploratorium’s Institute for Inquiry (IFI) in order to develop a national center that can further the role of inquiry in elementary science education. The Institute for Inquiry’s fundamental change strategy is to use its relatively limited resources to strengthen — and add value to — existing elementary science education reform efforts. To do this, IFI seeks to design programs, materials and tools that will empower the leadership of local elementary science education reform projects.

Inverness Research is an independent educational research and evaluation group which has served as the evaluator to the Institute for Inquiry and its antecedent programs for almost two decades. For the purposes of this summary evaluation report we at Inverness Research have thought about our work as a kind of audit of the NSF investment made in IFI. IFI makes the argument to NSF (and to other funders) that their investment in the Institute is a sound one.

IFI’s argument rests on four cornerstone claims that the program has made and has worked to achieve. The executive summary outlines these four cornerstone claims, while the Final Report presents a summary of findings.

Intended Audience

Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) Education Leaders, Reform Leaders and Funders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

Distribution Policy

Inverness Research Inc. grants permission to print and distribute copies.