Continuing my I-Search based on inquiry based learning I came across this handy infographic. Since a large part of inquiry learning is based around student involvement and asking questions I felt like this infographic would fit well into my chronicles of inquiry based learning.
The infographic features a series of five questions that are intended to encourage student engagement and facilitate inquiry based learning within the classroom. The five questions are: What do you think? Why do you think that? How do you know this? Can you tell me more? and What questions do you still have? All of these questions seem fairly straightforward and simple but i believe that asking these sort of open ended and investigative questions can help to pave the path for inquiry. Asking these kinds of questions and taking the time to discuss your answers or your findings is a very involved process; it involves thought, discussion, investigation, reconsideration, and the opportunity to learn and consider new perspectives and ideas.
I believe that children are able to answer these types of questions and the ideas and answers they are able to formulate are often surprisingly insightful. I have used these kinds of questions in my own work experience with children. We had found some beetle grubs burrowed in the grass and I asked this one four year old boy “what do you think this is?” His answer was that it was a bug, I continued “Perhaps, what makes you think that?” He answered, “well it lives in the ground, and it looks kind of like a worm i found in my front yard the other day. Also, I can see it’s eyes and arms. Did you know it’s eyes are used for seeing?!” I was very impressed with how at the age of four he was able to answer my questions so thoughtfully and with each question I asked i could tell he was taking the time to think his answer through. Later we discussed how yes, it was in fact a bug and it was a Chafer Beetle Larvae. I just found this whole experience to be really eye opening and I was happy and pleased with how interested this boy was in explaining his thoughts on what this creature was and why he thought what he did.
Children are capable of insightful thought but it is my belief that they are not often given the opportunity in the classroom to express these thoughts or process them. By asking our students these sort of open ended questions we are giving them the opportunity to process their ideas and share them. Questions provide the opportunity for inquiry and investigation, which helps to create a more engaging and involved learning process where students have the chance to further explore and play an active role in their own education.