Continuing my I-Search I thought it would be a good idea to look for some examples of how inquiry based learning is carried out in real classrooms. I found quite a few blogs by teachers who use inquiry based learning in their classrooms and some of their ideas are very innovative and creative.
The blog link I posted was by Mrs. Meyers. In her blog Mrs. Meyers discusses how the things she teaches in her class are inspired by her students and their curiosity. When she introduces a theme or subject, she tries to gauge what her students already know, what they wonder and then tracks what they have learned. Mrs. Meyers then uses her students questions and creates a web map to plot the questions and how to solve them. Once she has her web map, Mrs. Meyers goes through and figures out some of the goals and logistics of the lesson to try and ensure students are learning while discovering. Once that is done the students begin their investigation; investigation is conducted through different hands on experience, group book investigation, videos and of course more questions. Once the investigation stage is complete students organize their findings into workable maps so that they can understand their findings. Next, students take their new found information and knowledge, and create a project to demonstrate what they have learned. The final step is for students to present their project and teach others what they have learned.
This process is lengthy with quite a few steps involved, but the whole process is very involved and interactive. I think that the whole process sets students up to develop and deeper understanding of what they are learning. Another way that students develop a deeper understanding on what they have learned is becoming a sort of “mini teacher” themselves. This model also creates opportunity for students to work together as a team and support one another in their learning. I believe that this process would also encourage students to feel motivation about learning because they get to play an active role in what they learn.
I wish I would have had the opportunity to take part in such projects. I would hope that one day I have the opportunity incorporate a model like this in my classroom. For me, the idea of having my future students taking an active role in their learning is exciting.