The Best Way to Support Inquiry-Based Learning

by Shannon McClintock Miller

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.10.03 PMThis post was originally shared on The Library Voice

The best kind of learning that takes place in our libraries and classrooms when our students are doing the driving.  When they are connected and passionate about what they are learning.  We can see the excitement. It makes learning fun and creates lifelong learners.

In inquiry-based learning we pose questions, scenarios or problems to our students, rather than tell them what they are going to learn. This sparks a wonderful curiosity that makes them want to learn through their own investigation and interests.

It is our job as the teacher to give them opportunities and resources to support and trigger this learning and the ability to connect to what they are passionate and curious about.

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.23.31 PMI looked for these opportunities constantly with all of my students in our school.

When our kindergarteners did their Iowa Animal Research Project, they chose the animal they wanted to research and share with classmates, teachers and parents on their special Project Parade Day in the library.

They also had a choice of how they wanted to tell everyone about their Iowa animal.

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.19.58 PMSome of them brought in photographs they took, while others brought in the real thing.

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.54.41 PMThere were boxed habitats,

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.55.08 PMmodels of bird nests and…

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.55.26 PM…rabbit holes.

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.22.22 PMThere were reports, posters, movies, recordings and even a dance.

But what stood out to me the most that day is the fact that every student had a voice in their learning because they had a choice.

They chose their path in learning.

As a teacher librarian, I learned a lot on that day, too.  I knew that I had to support and spark that curiosity in all of my students every single day in the things I said and did, and also in the resources I put into their hands.

This is something that we all can do through inquiry-based learning.

Kids Discover will encourage your students to choose their path in the inquiry-based learning process, too.  

Their Discover Map is a visual concept map that literally connects the dots across different subject areas and time periods.  Students just click on Discover in the top toolbar and it will ask them to…

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 10.00.26 PMSelect a Category to Begin.  

When they click on any one of those colored dots or categories, it will open up into that subject’s visual concept map.  

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 9.58.12 PMImagine giving your World History students the option to create a project about someone from history they are curious about learning more about.  

As the Historical Figures Discover Map opens up they can click on anyone, taking them….

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 11.18.55 PMinto another window with details, connections and much more about their historical figure.

Think about this project:

Your sixth graders have been asked to create a trip to any place in the world and highlight the geography and people found there.

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 9.58.56 PMThey can go to the Geography Discover Map and…

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 9.59.11 PMWorld History Discover Map to spark their curiosity.

The resources they find here will deepen knowledge, support work and, once again, give your students a voice in the choices they make in their learning.

There are science Discover Maps too, including…

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 9.59.28 PMTechnology,

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 11.30.17 PMHuman Body and…

Screen Shot 2016-10-02 at 11.30.29 PM…Space Science.

There will always be something for everyone with Kids Discover Online, as it is filled with beautifully crafted nonfiction products that will inspire all learners as they explore more than 1,000 science and social studies topics.

Go to Kids Discover and let your students choose their path in learning, too!

To learn more about Kids Discover, please check out my post A Whole World Of Discovery In Science & Social Studies With Kids Discover!

Shannon McClintock Miller

Shannon McClintock Miller is a mom and Eric's wife. She served as the K-12 district teacher librarian at Van Meter Community School District in Iowa for 8 years. Shannon is now an international speaker and consultant who speaks about education, librarianship, technology, social media, and making a difference in education and the lives of others, especially children. Shannon is Mackin's Teacher Librarian Advocate and a teacher librarian consultant for Cantata Learning. She is part of Best Keynote and EdSpeakers. Shannon is a collaborator with Educational Consultants. Shannon is the author of the award winning The Library Voice blog and enjoys writing for various blogs, journals and other forums. She is currently writing two children's book series with Cantata. In 2014, she was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker. In 2016, she was awarded the Make it Happen Award by ISTE.