An Approach to Inquiry

This project:

  • promotes a greater understanding of inquiry-based pedagogy;
  • demonstrates a step-by-step approach to undertaking student inquiry and,
  • includes student and teacher reflections

+    Resource Page for the video series
+    Introduction – What does inquiry look like?
+    Why an Inquiry Approach?
+    How Can I Start to Plan for Inquiry?
+    What might teaching and learning look like?
+    When to move beyond a two-week exploration?
+    How does this process allow for assessment?
+    What is the value of working in groups?
+    What do you consider in setting up your classroom space?

Video Title: An Approach to Inquiry – Introduction

This video provides a brief pictorial collage of an inquiry based classroom in

Guiding Questions

  • What do you note about the reason for change in practice?
  • How do you think the attitudes and dispositions of the three educators in the video affect their personal inquiry?
  • How important is the sense of collaboration?

Task: Examine your Practice and Research Alternative Approaches

  • What areas of your professional practice do you feel need changes or refinements? Would your students or their achievement confirm this?
  • Make a list of ideas you have for improvement.
  • Who would you turn to for additional support or what resources might you consult?
  • Draft a plan for how a collaborative book study or other professional inquiry could be initiated and sustained in your work environment.

Video Title – An Approach to Inquiry- Getting Started

This video explores some of the steps involved in setting up an inquiry-based classroom and collaboration amongst peers.


How Can I Start to Plan For Inquiry?

Guiding Questions

  • What do you see as the advantages of a two week inquiry as a starting point?
  • What drawbacks do you imagine? How could those be overcome?
  • How do you see the potential for the quality of the products evolving over the two weeks? How might this relate to establishing success criteria and assessment AS learning?

Video Title – An Approach to Inquiry- Two Week Explorations

This video explains techniques for creating good inquiry questions to guide student exploration and depicts one teacher’s approach to organizing the school day to facilitate independent learning.

Guiding Questions

  • What are your impressions of the work stations and products?
  • What would you expect would be your students’ reactions to such products?
  • What cross-curricular connections do you see represented?

Video Title: An Approach to Inquiry – Stations and Products

(What might teaching and learning look like?)

The video emphasizes the shift from a ‘coverage’ approach to an ‘inquiry’ approach
of instruction. It presents inquiry stations underway in a classroom, with students
explaining the inquiry process in their own words,.

Guiding Questions

  • This extended inquiry was based on a particular question offered by a group of students. How do you imagine a topic you are working with or have worked with could evoke a similar extended inquiry?
  • What do you think are the benefits of taking on an extended inquiry that has practical application?
  • How do you imagine students would engage with such an inquiry? Why?
  • How might you involve the whole class? How might you encourage other investigations that are unrelated, but related to the central question?

Video Title – An Approach to Inquiry – Extended Inquiry

Extended inquiries are discussed in this video as teachers explain how mini-inquiries can be expanded into larger problem-based projects.

Video title – An Approach to Inquiry – Assessment

Assessment strategies that work well in an inquiry classroom are related in this video. Observing students in small groups, providing peer and teacher feedback after presentations, and creating digital records of student work are discussed.

What is the value of working in groups?

Guiding Questions

  • Why do you think group work is so significant in this classroom and in the school?
  • What do you see are the benefits?
  • What shortcomings might there be? How could those be minimized?

Video Title- An Approach to Inquiry – Group Work

The value of group work and how to set up and manage collaboration in the classroom is provided in this video. How to begin setting up successful inquiry groups at the beginning of the school year is also emphasized.

Guiding questions

  • How is this classroom set up to encourage the inquiries taking place?
  • How is it similar or different from your classroom or classrooms in your school? Why?

Video Title – An Approach to Inquiry- Physical Space

In this segment, Pete takes us on a tour of his classroom to point out how he has purged his previous classroom environment to create a physical “ecosystem” to foster a greater sense of ownership by his students and encourage the independence he desires in the explorations by his students. This video shows in detail the physical components of an inquiry based classroom and the features that help one teacher manage student workspaces.