Sunday, November 1, 2015

What is Inquiry-Based Learning?

Inquiry-Based Learning is sometimes called Project-Based Learning or Problem-Based Learning. There are similarities and differences: Click here for a quick overview of each. Each is designed to guide students to asking and answering questions, searching for the best resources to answer their questions, and presenting their findings using tools that deepen students understanding of their findings. Inquiry-Based Learning meets multiple state standards in each content area.

I. Students Start with a QuestionTeachers encourage and assist students in formulating their own question to investigate as they solve a problem or create a project to serve the community. Students are given time to research answers to their questions while the teacher guides students to resources and answers to their questions.

II. Students Learn Information Seeking StrategiesStudents are often terrible online searchers and need to learn how to use search engines like Google effectively. Students also need to learn how to evaluate websites: teach kids how to save and annotate websites with Bounce. They will like annotating with a partner. Click here for an example:
III. Students Locate and Access Only the Best Online ResourcesStudents should gather information from multiple credible resources; use search strategies effectively; choose the best resources to answer their questions; and eliminate resources determined not credible or useful. Students should become critical evaluators of online resources.
IV. Students Use The Information They Selected
Students engage with the material by reading, listening, viewing, and discussing texts and concepts; annotating sources, and quoting appropriately to avoid plagiarism. Students take notes. 
Cornell Notes is an effective way to take notes on readings, videos, lectures, or class discussions.
V. Students Synthesize What They Have LearnedStudents organize relevant information and determine how to best present research findings. The presentation format should be carefully chosen as it will serve to help students synthesize their understanding of the findings; for example, students’ comprehension will be impacted differently when writing an essay versus creating a graphic representation such as a or

VI. Students Evaluate their Performance and the ProcessThrough rubrics, writing, and discussion, students learn more about the topic when they are given time to reflect on their performance, their final product, and the inquiry-learning process. They also learn more about themselves as researchers and learners. Try this 3-2-1 Reflection graphic organizer that lets students type directly on the webpage and then print or the one below, which allows for more guided reflection with a rubric.

Research Reflection

Write about the process you followed and the decisions you made during the research unit. Here are some questions to help you get started:
   Why questions did you ask?
   How did you decide which sources to use to gather information?
   Which source did you find most valuable? Why?
   What part during the research process did you find most difficult? Why was it challenging? How
   did you work
 through it?
   What three pieces of information did you find that would be interesting to others? What did you
   learn about your
 topic that you did not know before?
   What lingering questions do you still have?
   What did you learn about yourself as a writer during this unit of study?

Reflective Thinking
  The reflection goes well beyond questions asked, explains the student’s own thinking and learning processes, and demonstrates higher‐level thinking.
 The reflection goes beyond questions asked and explains the student’s thinking about his/ her own learning processes.
 The reflection attempts to demonstrate thinking about learning but is vague and/or superficial about the personal learning process.
 The reflection does not address the student’s thinking or learning.
Details and examples
  Reflection has specific supporting details and examples.
  Reflection has some supporting details and examples.
  Reflection has few details or examples.
  Reflection has no details.
  Reflection discusses 5 or more of the questions above.
  Reflection discusses 3 or 4 of the questions above.
  Reflection discusses 2 of the questions above.
  Reflection discusses only 1 of the questions above.