Friday, April 21, 2017

Inquiry Learning in Action: Uncovering Ancient China and Africa

It has been an exciting year at DPMS, and I cannot believe that in just over a month it will be over. While I am proud of many accomplishments this year, one that I am most excited to share is our implementation of guided inquiry learning across the content areas. Last summer, I traveled to Rutgers University with a wonderful team to learn more about Guided Inquiry Design from the creators of the model themselves. During a three day intensive training, we delved into all things Guided Inquiry as we learned about the model's intricacies and the best practice strategies for immersing our students into this type of learning. The result was an enthusiastic commitment from our team to incorporate this model into an array of content area units.

Through our work this year, we have redesigned units in ELA, Science, and Social Studies to include elements of Guided Inquiry Design. Two units that I am especially proud to share are from 7th grade Social Studies. Students studied both Ancient China and modern day Africa while following the entire GID process from beginning to end. After being immersed in the content and exploring a variety of related research topics, students wrote their own research questions about a topic that interested them.

As final products, students studying Ancient China created virtual museums while those studying Africa created public service announcements. Both projects showcase deep content learning as can be seen from the projects linked on both Ancient China and Africa websites that I created to share all student work.

What did our students think of learning this way? I was curious, so I grabbed a few students and conducted my own interviews. Watch the video below to hear how much our students loved learning through Guided Inquiry Design.

You can learn more about Guided Inquiry Design by visiting the GID website and by reading the 52 Weeks of GID blog.

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