Monday, January 16, 2012

Where are the Aliens?

Students arrived back to school this week excited to learn about our next inquiry. They were thrilled to find out that we will be investigating ‘Space.’

Let’s continue the conversation and discussion about inquiry-based learning in the classroom. As we look at point number two “Questions and Concepts VS Assigned Topics and Isolated Facts” from the chart Inquiry Approach VS the Coverage Approach* on our website, we get the “space” study started in our classroom.

Questions and Concepts VS Assigned Topics and Isolated Facts

We introduced the concept of ‘space’ to our students and we will encourage them to develop their own questions for inquiry. However, the first step was to gather as many text resources as we could, from the school and community libraries or Internet.  Next, to activate and build their background knowledge we introduced vocabulary and the text/digital resources by allowing them to read independently, watch informational video clips and give them time to share their findings. The question we modeled, that hooked them was “Where are the Aliens?” They absolutely loved it!  This process took about three days and the students will be ready to develop questions for their inquiry. 

When we begin the inquiry process, asking questions is central to inquiry-based learning.  So, in the following weeks we will focus on helping our students develop their own questions about ‘space.’ We can’t wait to begin our journey with them…what will our students learn?

We'd love to know how you began the New Year with your students? How did you encourage your students to question and learn about concepts?   

*Stephanie Harvey, Harvey Daniels, 2009, Comprehension and Collaboration. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 

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