Inquiry learning is an umbrella term for a variety of closely related pedagogical methods in which students formulate questions, investigate to find answers, collaborate and share discoveries, come to recognize their misconceptions, build new understandings,
meanings, strategies, and knowledge, communicate their learnings to others, and self-assess their work.
Three common types of teaching and learning practices that utilize a disposition of inquiry learning are:
- problem-based learning:
learning that starts with a real world problem or task such as an ill-structured problem or case-study
- project-based learning: students create a project or presentation as a demonstration of their understanding
- design-based learning: learning
through the working design of a solution to a complex problem.
Each of the above three types of inquiry can be further classified into three more categories, depending on how much autonomy is given to the children during the inquiryand how it
is set up by the classroom teacher. The three typical types of organization are usually structured (teacher led), guided (students work collaboratively and with a great deal of independence but negotiate their work with a teacher-leader-faciilitator), or open
(child-led and teacher supported).
Leaders give youth a question to answer, a way to answer the question and the necessary materials, but not the expected outcomes. Example: “Let’s investigate how many days it
takes a Black Swallowtail to emerge as a butterfly from its pupa.We can raise the larvae we found in the garden to find the answer.”
Youth must figure out a way to answer a question given by the leader. Example: “I notice we
see the same kind of butterflies around the garden. How do you think we can increase the variety of butterflies in our garden?”
Youth formulate the question they will investigate and determine ways to answer it. Example: Youth ask
“How do the butterflies in my garden at home compare to the butterflies I see at this park?”
The common denominator is that students work on real world or simulated “real” performance tasks that requires them to do “hands
on” work and make use of an integrated curriculum that pushes beyond the boundaries of traditional disciplines into seemingly unconnected areas which take a multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transdisciplinary approach.
Inquiry Planning Template 1 Inquiry Planning Template 2