Welcome to my blog series about Inquiry Based Learning. Last week I wrote about stimulating interest in a topic. We spent some time going over artifacts to stimulate their ideas and interest. Once we finished looking through the artifacts, the kids came up with a list of questions, which I also posted last week.
This week I am sharing with you how we came up with our Questions of Inquiry, or Essential Questions. This took a lot of work. My hope is that as the kids become more familiar with this type of lesson that they will also build their skills and become able to come up with their own questions without teacher intervention. But for now, I took the lead and tried to guide them towards some questions which will make their research more focused, and easier to complete.
After Lesson #1, I left the chart paper with their list of questions out. We referred to it over the next few days, and whenever a new question popped up, we wrote it on the list.
Lesson #2 has several components to it, which I will be going over below.
First I started by brainstorming what the kids already knew about water. We did it together on the SMART board and then the kids chose 6 ideas to write down on their own worksheet. See the photo below. I told the kids that they either had to write out a sentence, or draw a picture and write a caption in each bubble of the worksheet.
The next day we read through our list of questions and added several more to the chart paper. Then the kids copied down 5 questions that they were interested in. If they had a question that was not on the chart paper, they were welcome to write it down too.
The final day of this lesson involved coming up with their own question of inquiry. First, I cut up the chart paper. Each question was on its own strip.
Then I gave each child a strip with a question on it. We sat in a circle on the carpet and tried to organize the questions together into groups that made sense. I intervened a bit and made suggestions. For example, when the question was about dolphins and living in water, I said, “Is there a group that has animals and water?” and the kids would put the question there. After that I would just say “hmmm, animals and water…Do we have a group with that?” So I guided the groupings. Again, if the kids had more experience with this, I would leave them alone to make their own groupings.
Once all the questions were grouped together, we tried to group together any “stray” questions who were all alone. Some questions still didn’t fit with another group, but some did.
Finally, I sent them back with chart paper and a group of questions to glue on the chart paper. Then we got together as a class and gave a label to each group.
PHOTO COMING – sorry
After that we worked together on the Smart board to come up with a list of questions for Inquiry. It was difficult for the kids and I had to help a lot. We came up with 6 different questions. Then the kids chose one question and wrote it down on the worksheet below. I felt I needed to help them find a question that was not too specific, but also not too broad for a quick research project.
Thanks for stopping by and checking this out today. Next week we will begin the research part of Inquiry Based Learning.