Flex Editor App

  • Steps to a Research Project using Guided Inquiry

          Instructional Team's Role:    Learner's Role:
    Step 1-Open
    • Invitation to Inquiry
    • Open Minds
    • Stimulate Curiosity
    • Provides a "hook" that catches students' attention and opens their minds to the inquiry.
    • Designed to spark conversation about ideas and themes
    • pose questions and problems
    • highlight concepts related to the subject
    • stimulate students to think about the overall content and connect what they know from their prior knowledge.
    • Move from teacher centered to student centered environment by asking the following questions.
    • How can we gain student interests  and curiosity?
    • How can we change their attention from "What does the teacher want me to do?" to "Why is this important to me?" or "How is this relevant in my life?"
    • "Why is this topic, question, or theme worth studying?"
    • "How does the inquiry fit into my world?   Why is it important"?
    • "What is personally compelling about the inquiry?"  "Why does it matter?"
    • Questioning,
    • Connections from life to the inquiry topic
    • for good ideas and questions that draw out what students know and are interested in leading to possibilities for further inquiry,
    • listening for connections and misconceptions that surface right away.
    • student interaction and opening in an accepting environment
    • students to make connections from their outside lives  to the ideas presented in the opener
    • questioning, divergent thinking, opposing viewpoints, and an inquiry stance.
    Collaborating and conversing: 
    • constructing their initial thoughts and understandings about the topic
    • Talking about new ideas,
    • raising questions
    • listening to the ideas of others naturally in an active inquiry community.
    • express what they know that is sparked by the opener.
    • conversing helps them think through ideas that have stimulated their curiosity.
    • Conversation leads to learning that occurs in a safe environment
    Step 2-Immerse  
    • Build background knowledge
    • Connect to content
    • Discover interesting ideas
    • Caution must be taken that the Immersion experience provides just the right amount of information for the beginning of inquiry.
    • Too many facts or sources overwhelm students.
    • If students appear bored it is often because they are being hit with too much detail before they are ready to comprehend it.
    • A common experience can help give a broad picture and motivate students to learn more.  
    • Follow this with conversation in inquiry circles about the ideas that emerge
    • Reflect in inquiry journals about the meaning of the ideas.
    • Reading a Literature piece can bring core knowledge to explore more deeply or to connect students to a particular time period.
    • inquiry by accepting many different perspectives, incomplete ideas, speculations.
    • Use terms like  I wonder, I think that, It might be to speculate.
    • Speculation leads to deeper thinking encouraging students to bring in connections from their own experience
    • When teachers model their own thinking, questioning, and connecting, students come to know that this is the expectation for their thinking, questioning, and connecting.


    • for personal connections,
    • interesting ideas
    • speculations as well as some forms of expertise (such as family background or culture or prior travel).
    • Sharing information and opinions in a safe and supportive environment.

    Organize Inquiry Circles:  Learning in Small Groups
    • provide support for their developing ideas and emerging questions.
    • flexible groupings
    • 4-6 students
    • tailored to students needs and abilities, curriculum content
    • at times self selected
    Inquiry Journals for Composing
    • express thoughts, feelings, actions across inquiry process
    • compose to reflect on every aspect of content
    • jot down interesting ideas
    • make connections
    • construct new understanding
    • composing promotes thinking 
    Step 3-Explore
    • Explore interesting ideas
    • Look around 
    • Dip in
    • Stage where students need the most guidance
    • when critical learning takes place
    • students can become confused and frustrated
    • reflect, discuss, and write about interesting ideas discovered
    • browse, scan, skim lots of sources
    • dip in:  relax, read, reflect
     Modeling: exploratory search strategies that incorporate browsing, scanning, skimming a variety of sources, dipping in to read and reflect, jotting ideas and reflecting in inquiry journals, choosing sources to record in inquiry logs.
    • for developing ideas that lead to potential questions
    • to students to determine feelings of being overwhelmed or frustrated
    • for the need to set students at ease that uncertainty is normal at this phase


    • a relaxed atmosphere for exploration
    • allows time for exploring
    • students to keep going when they become confused
    • students to read, relax, and reflect and explore what is interesting
    • What is interesting when you dip in and read?
    • What are your finding that you'd like to tell someone else about?
    • What questions come to mind?
     Assessing:  student progress in exploring ideas
    • by evidence in their inquiry journals
    • conversations in inquiry circles
    • interactions in the inquiry community
    • to offer specific guidance for developing inquiry questions.
     Inquiry Logs for Tracking Sources: Choosing
    Inquiry Journals for Explore
    Inquiry Circles for Exploring
    Inquiry Community for Exploring
    Step 4-Identify  
    • Pause and ponder
    • Identify inquiry question
    • Decide direction
    Step 5-Gather
    • Gather important information
    • Go broad
    • Go deep
    Step 6-Create
    • Reflect on learning
    • Go beyond facts to make meaning
    • Create to communicate
    Step 7-Share    
    • Learn from each other
    • Share learning 
    • Tell Your Story
    Step 8-Evaluate
    • Evaluate achievement of learning goals
    • Reflect on content
    • Reflect on process