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How To Teach Inquiry-Based Learning

image of soccer kids sitting on a bench for inquiry-based learning unit

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Are you wondering how to teach inquiry in the classroom? Do you want to make learning more fun and interesting for your students using inquiry-based learning? This blog post will show you an easy way to teach the 5 steps of the inquiry process to kids in Grades 1 through 3.

Students can ask questions and explore new information in class using the topic of sports in this inquiry-based learning example. You’ll find everything you need in this blogpost to get your kids asking and researching questions related to sports.

Inquiry-Based Learning Definition

Inquiry is simply asking questions and finding answers.

Inquiry-based learning is kids asking questions and finding answers by exploring and investigating things they are interested in learning more about.

Steps of Inquiry-Based Learning

The inquiry method of teaching is a great way to teach your students inquiry skills. Follow these five simple inquiry method steps:

  1. Pose a question
  2. Conduct research
  3. Interpret information
  4. Share learning
  5. Assess inquiry process

Scroll down for details for each step of the inquiry process.

Inquiry-Based Learning Benefits

Benefits of teaching inquiry to your students include:

  • encouraging students to ask questions and find answers to their questions
  • making learning meaningful because students explore and investigate topics that interest them
  • fostering a lifelong love of learning
  • collaborating with classmates to solve problems or to explore 
  • developing communication skills when students present their findings
  • providing built in differentiation as students can choose their topics, materials they use to discover the information, and present their findings

Inquiry-Based Learning Curriculum Outcomes

Inquiry based learning projects helps students meet the following common core outcomes:

  • CCSS.W.1.2, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8
  • CCSS.W.2.2, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8
  • CCSS.W.3.2, 3.2a, 3.2b, 3.2c, 3.2d, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8. 3.10

Materials For Sports Inquiry-Based Learning Project

Here are the files you’ll need for this activity:

Bulletin Board Headings

Posters

Inquiry-Based Questions

Research Templates

Class Book Templates

Assessments

Rubrics

Steps For Inquiry-Based Learning

Step 1: Pose A Question

The first step in the inquiry process is to pose a question. This can be difficult for students.

To support this process, begin by showing students some inquiry question examples. There are 12 FREE sample questions included for the sports inquiry project.

After you go through the inquiry questions, have students brainstorm additional questions they would like to research. Ideally, you’d like a different question for each student or each pair of students.

Step Two: Conduct Research

The next step in the inquiry process is to conduct research and find the answer to your inquiry question. Students can look in books, in magazines and on the internet for information.

A great online site for kids to use is Wonderopolis. Students can type in their question or topic and see what other students have wondered about. This is also a useful site for students to explore to find possible inquiry questions. 

Step Three: Interpret the Information

After gathering all the information, it is time to pick out the important facts that answer the inquiry question. Students can write up their findings on the provided research template in this blogpost.

Step Four: Share Information

There are many different ways that students can share the information they find. They can write it up in question and answer form, create a poster, compose a song, or orally present the information to students. Templates for a class booklet are provided in this blogpost.

Step Five: Assess Learning

An optional step to the inquiry process is to assess student learning. Students can think about what they did well, what they struggled with, and what they would do differently if they researched and created another inquiry project.

Three different options are provided for this self-assessment by students.

In addition, two rubrics are provided for you to use.

How to Support Inquiry-Based Learning: Differentiation Ideas

You can differentiate the inquiry process in many different ways.

  1. Student-Initiated Projects: Encourage students to choose an inquiry questions based on their interests or something they’d like to learn more about. Provide kids with the amount of support and guidance they need as they complete their inquiry-based project.
  2. Flexible Groupings: Use flexible grouping strategies such as ability grouping, interest-based grouping, or mixed-ability grouping to ensure that students can work with other students who share similar learning needs or interests.
  3. Varied Resources: Offer a variety of resources (e.g., books, articles, internet sites, etc.) to accommodate the different learning styles and learning needs of the kids in your classroom.

What Teachers are Saying About Writing Activities:

❤️ “Perfect to help my students understand the inquiry process.” – Kristin B.

❤️ “My students are using this resource as an enrichment activity on Fridays. They love being able to choose a topic to learn more about, researching that topic, and sharing their knowledge with their classmates. Thank you for creating a resource that simplifies the inquiry process so that even my struggling learners can be successful.” – Melissa G

❤️ “You explain the inquiry process very well. I like the self-reflection sheets and rubrics. It is a well thought out packet to support inquiry learning.” – Andrea H.

❤️ My class absolutely LOVED the inquiry projects. They felt like “real researchers.” – Brittany M. 

❤️ “My students loved researching these questions! They also enjoyed sharing what they learned and assessing their own work.” – Tiffany W.

Inquiry-Based Learning Projects

The Writing Club membership has TONS of inquiry based learning activities on the following topics:

  • Animals
  • Dinosaurs
  • Farm Animals
  • Illness and Diseases
  • Inquiry For Any Subject Area
  • Insects
  • Magnets
  • Oceans
  • Plants
  • Sports 
  • Weather

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Don’t forget to Pin this lesson on inquiry-based learning projects!

How To Support Inquiry Based Learning

The individual inquiry resources are also available on TeachersPayTeachers. You can find the following resources on TpT: