Planning an inquiry lesson

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Transcript Planning an inquiry lesson

Wagner School January 30, 2012

In your grade level group, discuss:

What is inquiry?

What are our fears about inquiry?

…is approaching learning deeply, from the inside out.

Schellert, Datoo, Ediger and Panas, 2009

 information-literacy/

 Establishing a collaborative space  Philosophy of inquiry  Curiosity and the Fundamental Flip  Compelling questions  Planning an inquiry lesson  Role of unpacked outcomes and assessment  Engaging students in the process  Developing a tool box

 Learning occurs when we shift from professional certainty to conscious curiosity, from isolated individual to collaborative community member, and from passive technician to active researcher. The pursuit of meaningful questions arises from thoughtful data analysis, careful problem framing, and ongoing monitoring of gaps between goal achievement and current condition.

…is based on the belief that understanding is constructed in the process of people working and conversing together as they pose and solve the problems, make discoveries and rigorously test the discoveries that arise in the course of shared activity. website

Reflection and action are linked as ongoing elements of the inquiry process.

  Construct deep knowledge and deep understanding rather than passively receiving information.

Are actively involved and engaged in the discovery of new knowledge.

   Encounter alternate perspectives and different ideas.

Transfer prior knowledge into deep understandings through new learning experiences.

Take ownership for their own learning.

  Are resilient because they come to understand that learning takes time and perseverance.

Practice creativity, problem-solving, collaboration and efficacy.

It boils down to the quality of learning we desire for those we are charged to educate. Do we want them simply to memorize facts and procedures in order to pass a test? Or do we want them to want to know, to seek to know, and ultimately, to understand themselves and their world more deeply as a result of their knowing?

Diane Parker, 2007

…you wonder about something and you want to know it—in fact you’re driven to know it because it’s intriguing, puzzling, fascinating, and/or personally meaningful to you.

Diane Parker, 2007

Moving from answering to asking

Moving from solving to seeking

Moving from definitive to open-ended

In a genuine inquiry, the topic itself matters far less than the attitude kids and teachers take toward it. If they are moved to ask why, to wonder who thinks otherwise, to explore what other strange things just might be connected to this one little problem, then they are in an inquiry space.

Clifford & Marinucci, 2008

Inquiry relies on problems that are of emerging relevance to students.

However, relevance does not have to be pre-existing for students.

Relevance can emerge through teacher mediation.

What kinds of learning excites students?

How do you know when they are excited?

What kinds of learning excites you?

Consider authentic and engaging audiences and purposes!

 Develop a culture of wonder in your classroom.

 Encourage students to ask questions which lead to more questions.

 Write the questions down.

 Create situations in which wonder and questions can grow.

 Provide access to multiple resources.

 Design classroom areas for stimulation, contemplation and idea generation.

       Use a variety of texts to cultivate curiosity.

Connect to personal artifacts and experiences.

Take students beyond their “four walls.” Offer language frames such as I wonder…, I

think…, This is what I see…, This is what it tells me…

Encourage personal responses and personal connections.

Consider before, during and after strategies in every subject.

Play, invite exploration, experiment, simulate and laugh.

 Project-based learning  Problem-based learning  Group investigations  Inquiry groups  Guided inquiry  Experiments  Inquiry circles  Simulations  Experiential learning

Unpacking the Outcome Explain

importance Outcome

(circle the verb and underline the qualifiers)

RW 5.1 Explain the importance of sustainable management of the environment to Canada’s future. KNOW

 Examples of renewable resources water – forests, fish,  Examples of non-renewable resources – oil,


 That there is a difference between renewable and non-renewable  minerals Examples of non-sustainable practices – presence of plastics, packaging, dumping of waste into river systems  Examples of consequences for non-sustainable practices – lack of resources for future generations, endangered species, climate change  Resources – forests, tar sands, coal, uranium, potash  Examples of sustainable policies and actions –  water conservation, informed decisions by consumers, reusing materials Vocabulary – renewable, non-renewable, resource, sustainable, non-sustainable, resources and this difference impacts the sustainability of these resources  There are a number of non sustainable practices that humans   engage in That if we adopt sustainable practices, there will be economic consequences (which is why this is a controversial topic) That both the extraction and use of a resource impacts the environment  That there are policies and actions than can contribute to sustainability  Everyone can make a difference!


  Create an inventory of current non sustainable practices  List the possible consequences of non-sustainable practices related to the use of resources  Taking one resource as an example, illustrate how resource use and the extraction process of a resource  Differentiate between renewable resources and non-renewable resources affects the environment Give examples of policies and actions that contribute to sustainability extraction, environment, policy, action

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS How are renewable and non-renewable resources different and how does this difference impact their sustainability? Why do humans engage in non-sustainable practices? How can I live in a more sustainable way? How is the environment impacted by both extraction and use of resources? How do policies and actions impact resources and the environment? How can I make a difference?

Exceeding expectations Meeting expectations independently Explain the importance of sustainable management of the environment to Canada’s future

You show a deep understanding of the importance of sustainable management of the environment to Canada’s future. You can not only clarify the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources and sustainable and non sustainable practices but you can offer suggestions as to how various groups within Canada can increase their sustainable practices. Renewable Non-renewable Sustainable Non-sustainable Management of environment Impact of environment on Canada On your own, you can explain the importance of sustainable management of the environment to Canada’s future. Your explanation includes a clarification of the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources and sustainable and non-sustainable practices.

Mostly meeting expectations with assistance

With some help, you can mostly explain the importance of sustainable management of the environment to Canada’s future. Ensure you can explain renewable and non-renewable resources and sustainable and non-sustainable practices on your own.

Not yet meeting expectations, even with assistance

You are having trouble explaining the importance of sustainable management of the environment to Canada’s future. Why is the environment so important to Canada? What do we mean by sustainable management?

Other outcomes will likely become involved (normal) but you are deciding which outcome you are specifically building toward and will eventually summatively assess


Look at your “Dos” and choose a topic suitable for an inquiry lesson

Cross-reference with the rubric – Identify which part of the rubric this lesson will address (formative)

 How will this look “in the end”?

 Important to clarify to students and self why the understandings generated in the inquiry are important.

 Helps to determine what to do with the gathered information (collect, save, synthesize, etc.)

 Formative (Exit card)  Formative (StudentsAchieve) 8 Day Example (The final formative)  Helps to clarify studying and extra learning needs prior to the summative event  Can be entered into SA  Invites differentiation  Gives information for Professional Judgement  Can support constructive conversation

It all starts here for students!!

Questions have value!

 Well-formulated inquiry questions are broad in scope and rich in possibilities.  Such questions encourage students to explore, observe, gather information, plan, analyze, interpret, synthesize, problem solve, apply critical and creative thinking, take risks, create, conclude, document, reflect on learning, and develop new questions for further inquiry.

 What does it mean to be normal?

 Why can’t we just get along? (global relations)  What is childhood?

 What are we eating and what does it mean for our planet?

 Why do we do things that are bad for us, even when we know better?

 How does being heroic mean different things for different people?

 Why should I care about other people’s stories?

 What does it mean to misbehave? Who decides?

 Students have to learn that their opinions and knowledge are important.

 Learning is not about right or wrong.

 Students have been trained to only give knowledge when it reflects what the teachers know.

 Constructing knowledge is a risk for students.

 Students will sometimes show impatience with the thinking process when they perceive it as an impediment to “getting the work done.”

We are an answer oriented society

This is challenging for students

We have to teach children to be curious again

Why is it so hard for people to take care of the environment?

How do we NOT care for our world?

Non-sustainable practices are based on conflicting needs

 As a team, generate questions that get at the heart of your chosen topic.

 Don`t worry about filtering – this is a general brainstorm (it usually takes time to get to the compelling layer of questions).

 Record your questions on Google Docs.

 We will look at all questions and choose the most compelling together!

Guiding inquiry planning

…is determined by a combination of what students want to know and what will meet the expectations of the audience for their inquiry.

Rycik & Irvin, 2005

Great work! This is going extra well for you!

You did it and you did it on your own!

Good start. You are beginning to make sense of this on your own.

You can do it. Spend some extra time with the criteria and ask for help.

Formulate questions Summarize personal knowledge and understanding Assess knowledge gained and form personal conclusions

You have clearly engaged in the topic of interest and have formulated a number of insightful questions that have led to an in depth inquiry process that is highly engaging for your purpose and your audience. You insightfully and fully summarized your growth in personal knowledge and understanding from the beginning of your inquiry through to the end. You were able to discuss how your gain in knowledge fuelled your inquiry and answered question you had about your topic. Impressive! You have a great ability to assess the knowledge you have learned and to synthesize the information to make an informed, insightful conclusion. You have understood your topic and have asked appropriate questions to lead to a solid inquiry that is appropriate for your audience and purpose. Some help was needed to explore the topic and formulate questions which would lead to inquiry. More time could be spent exploring how a topic is interesting and who you are trying to speak to. At the beginning of your inquiry journey, you were able to summarize your prior knowledge and understanding. After your exploration was complete, you were able to explain the growth in your personal knowledge and understanding You are able to assess the knowledge you have gained through the inquiry process and form some strong conclusions. Much help was needed to you through the inquiry process. More time must be spent asking questions before beginning to find out answers. What do you want to know about your topic?

With help, you were able to summarize some of the growth in knowledge and understanding you had from the start to the end of your inquiry. Look back in your work and consider where you started. How did you come to fully answer your questions? How can your share this clearly and on your own? You need some help assessing the knowledge gained through the inquiry process. You are unclear of how the knowledge gained answers your original question. Think about how the information you have learned helps you answer your original question. Think about what you started out knowing about your topic. Think about what you learned. How can you share this increase in knowledge and understanding so others can see your path to learning? Think about exactly how the information that you have learned answers your original question. Did the information answer your question clearly? Do you need to dig deeper to answer your question more fully? Were you sidetracked in your research and did you gain knowledge that wasn’t directly to your question?

Date: Hook: Topic:

What activities, artifacts, images, invitations, and experiences are you going to use to hook interest and set the stage for the inquiry? How will you begin to teach students to be curious about this topic?

Compelling question(s):

What question(s) will you start with to engage students and to set a strong purpose for their inquiry? What

questions will you ask to prompt even more questions? Knowledge and Vocabulary:

What knowledge and vocabulary will you use to add focus, clarity and understanding? How does this knowledge and vocabulary connect to the outcome?

Groupings and process:

What are your parameters for groupings? Pairs? Individual? Make sure you have backfilled with the necessary skills to be able to work in the groupings you decide on. What processes will you allow? How will you activate prior knowledge?

Further questions generated:

What questions emerged from the inquiry process? How did students move more deeply into the topic? Where can students record their questions?

Tool box:

What are the tools you will invite students to use? What skills have you spent time building? Is this their first exploration or are they seasoned inquirers?

Information gathering process:

Where and how will students record their new understandings? Where is data stored? How have you made students aware of the importance of this information? How will it lead to future inquiry? Why is it important?

Readiness needs (backfilling):

What are the prerequisite skills students must have before engaging in this inquiry? What tools and groupings will require some skill development? Make sure students are ready to engage in inquiry. When and how will you work on those skills?

Lesson-end assessment:

How will you know if each and every student has learned something? How will you measure progress toward your criteria?

 Hook and compelling questions  Explore and assess  Regroup and Re-question  Explore and assess  Regroup and re-question  Explore  Assess

What else do we need to know?

How can we continue to explore this complex question?

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

             Ask good questions Break problems into parts Look for patterns Rely on evidence Consider other perspectives Follow hunches Use familiar ideas in new ways Collaborate with others Welcome critique Revise repeatedly Persist Seek new challenges Know yourself

With inquiry, students know what learning looks like!

 Sometimes considering how you will organize your classroom (learning space) will facilitate inquiry.

 Move the focus away from teacher-centered, to flexible learning areas.

Stewart Hawke

 That students will focus only on littering and pollution.

 That students will all look at Google as their only resource.

 That some students will work and some won’t.

 That I won’t know where to go next...

 Ask: What is a resource?

 Give the answer so they stay on track  Stop group work or limit to pairs  Give them the resources they need  Direct their explorations  Quit inquiry...takes too much time

 Observe students very carefully...notice tangents and monitor progress  Let students stay in places for a while  Plan to come together twice a day only  Resources  Article?

needs  graphic? Video?  Playground walk as “hook”  Group norms and expectations (backfilling)  Together  apart  together  apart

 How can I avoid giving answers?  How can I encourage students to come to their own understanding?

 How can I make this compelling? Interesting? Engaging?

 How can I stay out of it for longer? Talk less? Do less of the work?

 How can I be okay with ideas that aren’t exactly what I think they should be?

 How can I come to recognize healthy struggle from unhealthy struggle?

 Invite students to develop the competencies necessary to build on, not just consume or borrow, other people’s ideas.

 Require students to use digital technologies to think with not just consume or produce a “polished product.”

 Teachers seek and value their students’ points of view  Classroom activities challenge students’ suppositions  Teachers pose problems of emerging relevance  Teachers build lessons around primary concepts and big ideas  Teachers assess student learning in the context of daily teaching

Opportunities to ponder the questions, form their own responses, and accept the risk of sharing their thoughts with others


“When posing problems for students to consider and study, it’s crucial to avoid isolating the variables for the students, to avoid giving them more information than they need or want, and to avoid simplifying the complexity of the problem too early. Complexity often serves to generate relevance and, therefore, interest. It is oversimplification that students find confusing.”

Brooks and Brooks, 1999