Inquiry Based Learning Step by Step #2

This post is #2 in a series. CLICK HERE to go to post #1.
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.  

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.

If you are interested in doing project based learning, I have many products in my TPT store specifically designed for this.  Click below to find out more.

CLICK HERE for project based learning and inquiry based learning resources.

Click on the photos below to go to the individual products.

Thanks for stopping by and checking this out today.  Next week we will begin the research part of Inquiry Based Learning.

SCIENCE WRITE - I'm so excited about this STEAM idea!

STEAM.  A fantastic bulletin board idea.  A detailed life science lesson that integrates ELA, Science and Art and looks great.  The parents will think you are a fantastic teacher.

This time of year, it's always perfect to start teaching about the life cycle of plants.
This year I have been really focusing on non-fiction reading and writing with my class and I wanted to come up with a cute way to display their learning to their parents.  This is when I came up with SCIENCE WRITE.  Stay tuned, as I have tons of ideas for future topics.

Here's an example of what the final product will look like on a bulletin board.

This is a piecemeal photo which I cobbled together on my phone so I apologize for the poor quality.   My goal with this idea was to have a great bulletin board to showcase the kids learning.  It not only looks cute, but it makes the teacher look great too!  This year I decided to use fabric flowers in the garden as I have a whole bag of artificial flowers that I bought from Michael's many years ago.  This was a great project to use some of them up.

This year I have been working with reading passages for non-fiction reading.  So in this pack I added 3 levels of difficulty in the reading passages.  But I also wanted to differentiate for different levels of learning.  So there's a little book with real photographs and a PowerPoint too.  You could use these lessons with Kindergarten students up to 3rd Grade.

to get your own copy


Easy and Stunning Mother's Day Card

Free Instructions - this card was so easy to make and it looked fabulous!

I made these very cute and very bright Mother's Day cards this week with my Grade 2's.  The most important part was that we used watercolor paper that I bought at an art store.  We used 2 kinds of paint.  Liquid watercolors, and real watercolors from a tube.  We also used a white crayon.


I drew on the whiteboard the picture below me of the circle with the word MOM inside.   I explained to the kids that they were going to do this with a white crayon and it would be hard to see.  Next we used liquid watercolors to paint the circle.  Then I let it dry overnight.


The next day we finished the flower.  I added the detail to the whiteboard image above.  I explained that we were adding petals, a stem and some leaves.  Then we used real watercolors.  I showed them how to use their brush to mix the colors with white or black and how to change their colors by washing their brush in the cup of water.  Then we let them dry overnight.

Then we went back to the liquid watercolors to add the background color.  I really feel that this makes the images pop.   I mounted them on some card stock to frame them.  Then we glued them onto paper to make a card.  Cute eh?

I love how the colors look when they all blend together.  

I you are interested in other Mother's Day ideas CLICK HERE.

Thanks for stopping by today!