Inquiry learning is all about student engagement. It is also embedded in such strategies as the Scientific Method, Problem Solving, Problem Based Learning, and Socratic Questioning. Beginning in infancy, we use this skill with the sole purpose of making sense of the world around us. While the traditional approach to learning is more focused on mastery of content (what we know) inquiry learning is more focused on information-processing and problem-solving skills (how we come to know).
Ways to Use in the Classroom
Inquiry Learning is very adaptable based on desired learning outcomes. It can be as simple as adding some inquiry questions to a lesson. Begin by identifying a topic, let’s say animal habitats. Ask the students what they would like to know about “how and where animals live”. Collect questions then have them rank the questions based on interest. Make it multidisciplinary in nature. You’ve already completed the first two steps. Then go from there. The basic steps:
1. Make an observation, 2. Questions to investigate, 3. Investigate, 4. Answer, 5. Reflect, and 6. Discuss. Look up Quescussions by Paul Bidwell (University of Saskatchewan) for ideas on inquiry questioning techniques.