The Virtual Courseware Project at California State University, Los Angeles addresses this need through the development and implementation of interactive, web-based simulation activities that emphasize the scientific methods of inquiry: making observations, formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and arriving at conclusions based on these analyses.
By augmenting traditional instruction with simulations, science educators provide a more engaging learning experience that emphasizes science as a process rather than a collection of knowledge to be assimilated (Linn, Davis, and Bell, 2004).
More recently, websites have been developed where teachers can obtain effective inquiry-based tools for teaching science.
We report on how one of these sites, the Virtual Courseware Project ( was used to engage students in an inquiry-based study of the principles of genetic inheritance.
Science teachers seek engaging, effective, and inquiry-based activities that are standards-aligned and convenient to implement in their classrooms.
For many years, the web has provided teachers and students with a vast resource of factual information (some of it multimedia).
The Geologic Time Scale was originally laid out using relative dating principles.
Radiocarbon Dating: The radiocarbon dating method was developed in the 1940's by Willard F.
The creation of effective inquiry-based learning objects requires careful thought and planning (Edelson, Gordin, and Pea, 1999).
It is widely accepted that inquiry-based curriculum programs have positive effects on cognitive achievement, process skills, and attitudes toward science (NRC 2000).
About the project The Virtual Courseware website has a free suite of activities for both the life science laboratory and Earth science field studies that can be used by students ranging from middle school to high school, or in the college classroom.