Inquiry-Based Learning: From Teacher-Guided to Student-Driven (Transcript)
Student: I opened it up, and there was a root inside.
Anne: What's exciting about the inquiry models that we go far and above what the curriculum expectations are. Kids are invested in their learning, and they're able to transfer and apply what they're learning in school to the real world.
Lindsay: Inquiry based learning allows the students to be the thinkers. Teachers begin their lesson with an idea of where they want to end in mind, but really give the students the opportunity to drive it to that point.
Lindsay: So your job, keep working through your procedure, when you all agree, I'll come back and check in with you.
Dawn: We have guided inquiry, where teachers are guiding students through the curriculum.
D.J.: Okay, find that five milliliters.
Dawn: And then making a shift into student driven inquiry, where students use that as prior knowledge and build their own inquiries around that. We want them to be building the foundation for higher level inquiry, starting right when we have them in kindergarten.
Lindsay: And once someone finds something, make sure that you tell the rest of the paleontologists.
Student: We found the skull!
Lindsay: [gasps] Oh, you found the skull?
Anne: The teacher's developing the guided inquiry model based on the curriculum, but then the students are shaping where do they want to go with it.
Lindsay: We're going to go through our lab sheet quickly, and then we're going to get into our experimental groups.
Lindsay: They were told that two scientists had a mix-up in their lab. They had some seeds, they had some eggs, and now they don't know which are which. The students had the opportunity to decide what they thought would be helpful experiments for us to get to our answer. Instead of opening with a bunch of information and facts and details, the students are given a problem, and then they're the ones who get to drive the experiments.
Katie: I'm trying to see which one is eggs, and which one's seeds. But we don't know. So we're trying to figure out strategies that we can do.
Logan: We make our steps and then we test and see what happens.
Hadley: And we think planting them, and we think the seeds will grow, and eggs won't.
Student: I think they'll get bigger.
Student: Yeah, so once they get bigger, it would like crack open.
Dawn: Teachers are guiding with questions and to really get students thinking, and learning how to question themselves.
Lindsay: How might that help us figure out which are the eggs and which are the seeds? Floating or sinking?
Student: It might be that the eggs are heavier than the seeds.
Student: I like doing it this way, because you get to touch what you're actually doing, instead of just looking at it.
Dawn: Well, we started with the inquiry model in science, and as we started to see students getting excited about finding answers to deeper level questions, we saw the power and how that could be implemented throughout the school day.
D.J.: If you grab a tube of paint, there's no real connection to the science behind making that paint. I want them to see that art is everywhere. Science is everywhere, math is everywhere.
D.J.: Hey, we are making paint out of household items today.
Student: We started in the art room, following every step of the recipe.
Anne: Kids need background knowledge, and some conceptual understanding of things.
D.J.: How much salt do we need?
Student: A quarter cup.
D.J.: A quarter cup. So how many tablespoons is that?
Students: Eight-- four!
Anne: The next step is, "What do I want to wonder about now? How do I want to adjust this?"
D.J.: You have to form your questions so that you're not taking over their creative process, but helping that creative process. "How can you make this paint fit your needs as an artist?" "As a scientist, how am going to change or modify this paint so that it works?"
D.J.: So I want you to test that. And remember to document what you did.
Kendall: We wanted to change the texture, because ours was a bit too lumpy for our liking. And we added a lot of ingredients.
Dawn: For the inquiry to be successful, the question has to be appropriate. And so we really had to teach students what questions would work, how to model them.
Paval: My question that I had is how could I get this to be a thinner paint so I can have like one straight line, so it doesn't splatter everywhere.
Anne: The exciting piece of learning this way is that we don't always know what the outcome will be. It's a lot of risk involved in allowing your students to kind of just do some discovery learning on their own.
Paval: I learned that if you're making paint, you use a liquid substance to make it thinner, but if you mix too many of the wrong things, it might just blow up.
Katie: I think this is pretty good!
Anne: We want kids to be critical thinkers, to be problem solvers. Kids are getting to dig deep into the cause and effect relationships that occur in every field when we open that up, it just empowers them to love learning.
Kendall: We really don't have a limit. We get to learn how to do this stuff with our own ideas. It took a lot of time, but we did it.