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In science education, one of the most important approaches for educating inquiry-seeking individuals is inquiry-based learning. Science education programmes have been using the inquiry-based learning approach. Inquiry-based learning creates a learning environment that provides students with opportunities for researching scientific tasks and structuring meaningful information. Within this scope, this study aims to investigate the academic achievements of gifted students studying at Science and Art centres (SACs) in ‘separating mixtures’ in science courses through the open inquiry learning approach. The study was conducted on eight students in a metropolitan SAC, which is in the western part of Turkey. Four context-based, open-ended questions regarding the ‘understanding of mixture separation methods’ and questions to determine the students’ ideas before and after the instruction were used as data collection tools. The categories consisted of two sections: scientifically correct and scientifically incorrect. The results showed that the students’ scientifically correct response rates in separating mixtures increased with open inquiry learning. In addition, it is seen that the students evaluated the activity as ‘creativity-stimulating’ and learning through discovering as ‘remarkable and fun’. Based on the results, it is recommended to use an open inquiry learning approach in science classes to increase students’ academic achievement and interest in the course. In addition, this study contributes to the science education of students in SACs, to literature and to new studies to be conducted on this issue.
Keywords: Inquiry learning, gifted students, separating mixtures, conceptual understanding.
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