Inquiry Workshop – Secondary – SMUSD

Inquiry-based teaching is a pedagogical approach that invites students to explore academic content by posing, investigating, and answering questions. This approach puts students’ questions at the center of the curriculum, and places just as much value on the component skills of research as it does on knowledge and understanding of content. – Inquiry Based Teaching

What can inquiry complicate in the classroom?

Whole group discussion

Evaluate Inquiry

Choose a lesson/unit that relates to your teaching group.

  • Break down what they did for questioning  research, discussion, creating and reflection.
  • What standards are being addressed?
  • How is student voice being valued?
  • Do you think the timeline was realistic?
  • What technology was used?  How might it have been used differently?
  • Was the student work shared with the community?  If so, how so?  If not, what could have been done to provide a greater audience for the work?

Scaffolding Curiosity – Examples

Watch this

  • Ask students for general observations.
  • Watch again and ask them to focus on a particular region of the country and repeat the observations.

Introduce them to this tool –

You can go a number of ways from here –

  • Students can again do general observations.
  • You could have students look at a particular election.
  • You could also have students watch a particular state over time.
  • They could be watching for trends, anomalies, you could ask them to come up with which state was most consistent, least.

After all this observing and analyzing, ask them what questions they have about these trends and patterns and presidential elections.

Possible continuation of the inquiry – have students sample examples from The Living Room Candidate –

Students are to look at a particular election year, reference the graphic and start to make some connections about what was happening at that time.  Students would then (either) create a new campaign ad for the current candidates in the ‘old’ style or create a new campaign ad for an old candidate in the new style.  You could give them the charge of appealing to a particular swing state… now or then.  This can all move in the direction of having them assess their own issue preferences, what they are concerned with and how that compared in history to other times.

Another example of scaffolding curiosity –

Links –


What is the role of the teacher in an inquiry driven classroom?


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