Teacher Learning Community

Spring 2017 TLC: Developing Classrooms of Inquiry - Activity 2 Resources

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Teacher Quality Standards

  • QS III: Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.
    • Element D: Teachers establish and communicate high expectations and use processes to support the development of critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

The Foundations of Inquiry-Based Learning

Essential Question: How can teachers systematically utilize tools of inquiry to foster an environment where students engage in deep learning while making cross-disciplinary connections to the real world?

Inquiry-based learning is appealing because it allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts and content. However, it can easily be nothing more than a series of fun activities if it is not set up in a way that encourages students to go deeper. In this activity, we will consider the foundations necessary to make inquiry-based learning achieve our objective - a rich, deep understanding of important content and concepts. The resources we will review highlight the strengths of inquiry-based learning as well as why it often fails to produce the outcomes we intend. As you review the resources, consider when and why you might choose inquiry-based learning experiences, how you set students up to be successful with inquiry-based learning, and how you might avoid some of the common pitfalls.



This list of instructional strategies was compiled by the Washoe County School District.

This article takes a deep dive into what it really means for students to think critically. Professor of Cognitive Psychology, Daniel Willingham, details the latest research in an effort support teachers as they explicitly model and scaffold critical thinking strategies with their students.

This article summarizes some of the key points from the book Making it Stick, which argues that the often-drawn distinction between facts and critical thinking is false.

In this article, Marzano discusses the importance of intentional preparation and guidance when using discovery learning with students.

In Hattie’s research on effective practices in education, he found that inquiry-based learning has a relatively small effect size. In this video, he discusses his ideas about why this might be the case.

In this article, the author summarizes the lessons learned about the challenges and benefits of inquiry-based learning by the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, an inquiry-based school which has become a national model. 

This resource provides several suggestions for asking better questions.

This webpage houses resource and research that support the ideas that anyone can learn, mistakes and struggle are good, and visual connections in mathematics support best learning.

This is a quick article that describes the various ways to help studnets teach themselves how to learn and be curious in the classroom again. There are 5 ideas/tools that are discussed that facilitate critical thinking and student inquiry.