Inquiry-Based Learning

Resources and Downloads to Facilitate Inquiry-Based Learning

Find information, strategies, protocols, and tools to promote curiosity and engage students in asking questions, thinking critically, and solving problems.

January 7, 2016 Updated August 12, 2016
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Create Learning Environments That Foster Inquiry

Plan Curriculum That Supports Inquiry

Use Strategies to Increase Inquiry in the Classroom

Conduct Activities That Promote Inquiry

  • Query Books: Ask students to chronicle their ideas, ponderings, and questions. (Edutopia, 2014)
  • Hackathons: Check out a hackathon playbook to plan activities that provide experiences with overcoming failure.  (Edutopia, 2015)
  • 20 Percent Time: Try out Genius Hour (a.k.a. 20 Percent Time). (Edutopia, 2013)
  • Adventures with Dr. Smallz: Inspire students' need to know with a microscopic doctor lost in a patient's body. (Edutopia, 2014)
  • Questions Before Answers: Use great questions that motivate learning. (Edutopia, 2014)
  • School in the Cloud: Ask students to investigate a Big Question within a Self-Organized Learning Environment. (School in the Cloud)

Downloads and Examples From Schools That Work

Edutopia's flagship series highlights practices and case studies from K-12 schools and districts that are improving the way students learn. Below, find downloads used by practitioners at featured schools, and dive into real-world examples of inquiry-based learning.

At Wildwood IB World Magnet School, teachers use student questions to drive lessons, and channel student curiosity into student-centered projects. These are a few of Wildwood's inquiry-based teacher tools.

  • Curriculum Map for Grades K-5: Download this chart to understand how Wildwood aligns its lines of inquiry to specific curricular themes, central ideas, and key concepts throughout the year.
  • Personal Project Questions: Download a worksheet that includes prompts to help students focus and think through the topics of their research.
  • Sample Research Worksheet: Download a sample "My Personal Project" worksheet to learn how teachers at Wildwood help students organize plans for projects; students record questions, research notes, unfamiliar vocabulary, and how they will demonstrate what they've learned. For another resource of this type, see Wildwood's Personal Project Planner.
  • Personal Project Skills Survey: Download a project skills survey to discover how Wildwood students reflect on the skills they've tapped and personal work habits they've practiced while working on their projects.

See how Ralston Elementary School teachers guide the inquiry process over a series of lessons and teach students how to ask deeper questions to prepare them to lead their own inquiry into specific problems.

Learn how educators at Crellin Elementary School use students' "I Wonder" questions to drive lesson planning, differentiate instruction, and foster student curiosity.

Science students at Casey Middle School begin with a central question and seek answers through research, experimentation, and data analysis. Review a sample question and lesson plan to understand how this works in practice.

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Filed Under

  • Inquiry-Based Learning
  • Critical Thinking
  • Project-Based Learning (PBL)
  • Student Engagement

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