Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Beginning of an Inquiry

People often ask me, "how do you start an inquiry?" Inquiry learning can seem so daunting. What I have learned through experience and lots of professional reading and development is that inquiry can begin in many different ways. Inquiries can begin from a small question asked by a student. They can be well-planned and initiated by an educator. Or they can be a combination of the two. That's the beauty of inquiry. It is open and flexible for the specific learners and the specific environment. No environment is the same and so, no inquiry will be the same.

We have been really working on encouraging our students to wonder. They have been great at engaging in activities in our classroom, but not regularly wondering. Turns out all you need is to have animals that they know of, but know very little about. We read a chapter book about the Arctic and were introduced to polar bears. The students began talking and wondering. We decided this was something we were going to encourage. As educators, we decided we would push their thinking by encouraging them to think about animals in various habitats. This is how we landed on investigating polar bears, giraffes and squirrels. Quite the unlikely grouping! But, we are hoping some exciting learning will come from this inquiry into animals.

Our learners have been enjoying wondering, exploring and researching about these animals.

What we know

A polar bear out of cubes

Because of the wonder above, these girls began looking at pictures of giraffe's eyelashes and made these pictures.






Using books to help us learn more information about giraffes



We are keeping track of our wonders and learning so far on our 'Animals' wall and in a binder. Students can refer to each others' wonders and information throughout the day.




This space is for the students who want to keep wondering about different animals
'How to draw' pages are up on the wall to support students with the animals
We put out animals and materials for the students to explore habitats and to promote oral language around the animals.

Our learners surprised us by measuring the giraffes to see how tall they were!








After building habitats for their animals, A.R & I.D. wrote down what they know their animals need to survive

"We made this for the bears. The igloos are homes and the seal is for the food."- D.A & M.F.


Clearly, we are just beginning this learning journey and I am so excited
to see what this inquiry will teach us about animals and how we can 
play a role in ensuring they are respected. Stay tuned!

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