If you are starting to question whether what you’re doing with your students is indeed an inquiry-based project (as opposed to topical research), why not use a rubric to help in your assessment and reflection? I found an amazing rubric at the Galileo Educational Network Association. Download it, and keep a copy close by for reference before, during, and after your learning experience. Better yet, use it in collaboration with a colleague!
And, don’t stop there! Galileo.org is an outstanding support “dedicated to improving student, teacher and leaders learning through creating and researching 21st century learning environments.”
At Henry Janzen School in Regina, grade seven teachers Mrs. Enion, Ms. Driol, and Mrs. Fiorante immersed their students in an exciting inquiry-based learning experience investigating catastrophic geological events. This guided curriculum inquiry focused on Outcome EC7.1 of the Science 7 – Earth and Space Science: Earth’s Crust Unit:
Analyze societal and environmental impacts of historical and current catastrophic geological events, and scientific understanding of movements and forces within Earth’s crust. [SI]
After front-loading the inquiry with some jaw-dropping Youtube videos showing the horrifying impact of the earthquake in Haiti and tsunami in Thailand, the students worked hard to develop their personal contributing questions that formed the basis of their inquiry research. From there, the students conducted research using print, video, data, and other web-based media. The students worked in groups to synthesize the research findings and then collaboratively designed a face to face presentation using Google Presentations. Although speaking in front of your peers and teachers is not an easy task for many, the learners did an outstanding job presenting. The students were also charged with the task of keeping a personal concept map to help track their how their conceptual understanding of the content changed over time. Daily learning logs helped students focus and reflect on their learning. True to the form of inquiry-based learning, this learning experience ‘ended’ as it should: with more questions!
Hats off to Mrs. Enion, Ms. Driol, and Mrs. Fiorante and their students!
Hat tip to the Saskatchewan Geological Society and the University of New Zealand for sharing their resources and expertise!
Designed as mini-inquiry project, the grade eight students at Dr. A.E. Perry School set out to discover exactly what makes them tick. We started our inquiry just as we should: by asking some good questions. Our goal was to initially find answers to the following questions:
1. How exactly does the heart muscle function?
2. How can doctors treat a sick heart?
3. How does one preform a heart transplant?
We began our research process by visiting the NOVA Online “Cut to the Heart” website to gain insight. Then we completed a virtual heart transplant, which students found both interesting and useful. Students who enjoyed the heart transplant software also opted to try a virtual hip and knee replacement!
With the students begging to learn more about the heart, a special field trip to the Saskatchewan Science Centre was arranged. There the students enthusiastically dissected and inspected pig hearts.