Thursday, 3 April 2014

Good Questions For Inquiry-Based Projects

Any question that matters to students is a good question. If students are genuinely interested in the answer and learning about the topic, then the question is worthy of investigation. - Sue Jackson

 'mini-inquiries', short-term research experiences that enable students to search for and find information quickly. To determine an answer, it may be as simple as jumping on the Internet or skimming through a book. Mini-inquiries are great ways to teach students how to investigate questions, pursue answers, and demonstrate their learning (Harvey and Daniels, p. 143).

Mini Inquiries vs. Inquiry based projects:

Student and teacher need to develop essential questions with the following characteristics:
  • relevance to the learner
  • open-ended and higher-order (have no right or wrong answer)
  • answers are not already known
  • multiple possible answers
  • not too personal
  • cannot be answered without careful and lengthy research—answers have to be more than simple facts
  • able to be researched given the available resources—must be answerable
  • make learners question their basic assumptions
  • promote further inquiry
Examples of Essential Questions:

Grades K to 3Grades 4 to 6Grades 7 to 9
  • What makes a good friend?
  • What makes a bad storm?
  • How can we eat well?
  • Why do you suppose the rain falls down?
  • If you could change the town we live in, how would you make it better?
  • What are the traits of a good leader?
  • What makes a fair punishment?
  • What makes one writer more powerful than another?
  • How could you invent a better city?
  • How do you know if a law is just?
  • How is a hero different from a celebrity?
  • Which leader of the previous century relied most on propaganda and appeals to fear?
Adapted from:
Scholastic Canada Education—Teaching Tip of the Month • March 2013

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