Inquiry-Based Learning

Inquiry-Based Learning

Inquiry-based learn­ing involves mak­ing obser­va­tions, pos­ing ques­tions, exam­in­ing books and other sources of infor­ma­tion to give her new per­spec­tive on knowl­edge and dis­cover what turns her on.

It is, in fact, noth­ing short of a mir­a­cle that the mod­ern meth­ods of instruc­tion have not yet entirely stran­gled the holy curios­ity of inquiry.” ~ Albert Einstein

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Chil­dren often ask ques­tions such as: Why clouds stay up in the sky? How but­ter­flies fly? Sharon Rush­ton, the author of ‘Acti­vate Your Stu­dents,‘ says that ques­tions explored through activ­i­ties enrich learn­ing expe­ri­ence, stretch bound­aries and chal­lenge assump­tions. Remem­ber that obser­va­tion, curios­ity and explo­ration are the basis of inquiry; which is guided by logic, imag­i­na­tion and exper­i­men­ta­tion; and illu­mi­nated by dis­cov­ery, under­stand­ing and learning.

Inquiry-based learn­ing
Bar­ber et al. argue that your child has so much to learn from the day she is born that she must evolve the learn­ing process for find­ing out about her world – observe, com­pare, sort, ques­tion, exper­i­ment, and build and test hypothe­ses. The ear­li­est years include a very effec­tive process of learn­ing about the world – chil­dren have the patience to fid­dle with some­thing again and again until they fig­ure it out. Inquiry-based learn­ing helps your child learn by inves­ti­gat­ing and dis­cov­er­ing. Inquiry-based learn­ing will set her on the path of life­long learn­ing, give her new per­spec­tive on her learn­ing style, dis­cover what turns her on, and what she thrives on.

The spirit of inquiry
Vir­ginia Wal­lace and Whit­ney Husid argue that the spirit of inquiry includes mak­ing obser­va­tions, pos­ing ques­tions, exam­in­ing books and other sources of infor­ma­tion to find out what are known, plan­ning inves­ti­ga­tions, and review­ing pre­vi­ous infor­ma­tion based on new infor­ma­tion. Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of assump­tions, use of log­i­cal and crit­i­cal skills, and con­sid­er­a­tion of alter­na­tive expla­na­tions are essen­tial inquiry skills. Other skills that help in inquiry include using tools to gather evi­dence, ana­lyze and inter­pret data; devel­op­ing answers, expla­na­tions and pre­dic­tions; and com­mu­ni­cat­ing the results.

Bar­ber, J., Parizeau, N. & Bergman, L. (2002). Spark Your Child’s Suc­cess in Math and Sci­ence. Great Explo­rations in Math and Sci­ence. Cal­i­for­nia: Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley.
Rush­ton, S. (2008). Acti­vate Your Stu­dents. Aus­tralia: Cur­ricu­lum Press.
Wal­lace, V. & Husid, W. (2011). Col­lab­o­rat­ing for Inquiry-Based Learn­ing. Vir­ginia: ABC-CLIO.