Inquiry-based learning is essential for 21st-century learners. But what's inquiry-based learning, why is it so important, and how can you get started incorporating inquiry into your classroom or homeschool learning environment today? Let's go!
Helping students to build 21st-century skills is a priority for today's educators, but how? How do you infuse 21st-century skills seamlessly into the curriculum or learning day? I like to promote 21st-century skill-building with inquiry-based learning strategies.
What are some examples of self-directed learning activities? This is a popular question among educators that have an interest in student-directed learning, and know the benefits, but aren’t sure about semantics.
Before getting into great self-directed learning activities, let’s review what student-directed learning is and why this blog post is worth reading.
What is experiential learning anyway? How is experiential learning defined? What does K12 classroom experiential learning look like? What are the characteristics of experiential learning? What are examples of experiential learning? What are experiential learning activities? Why is experiential learning important and what are the benefits? I get these questions a lot.
Most of the inquiries that I get from educators, however, are about how experiential learning can be worked into K12 curriculum. The good news is that it's a great learning tool for people of all learning environments, backgrounds, skill levels, and interests, and it's fairly easy to implement if you know the essential components.
Blog Post: Why I Became an Experiential Learning Educator
As someone with a background in biology, the first places I would think to go for scientific inquiry experiences is outside or in a lab. Next would be the kitchen. Winter weather in Minnesota can get extreme and those extremes tend to last awhile. Cooking is an indoor activity that is loaded with learning opportunities, particularly in science. Edit: Throw covid shelter-in-place orders in there, and it gets even more appealing!
How to Write Deep and Meaningful Inquiry Questions
Introducing Driving Questions for Inquiry Activities:
Last week's blog post was about making detailed observations to inspire inquiry investigations. These observations lead to driving questions.
But what is an inquiry question? How is it different than any other kind of question? How do you write questions that lead to a deep and meaningful inquiry learning experience? Keep reading!
Experiential learning is student-centered. The child learns from experiences that are personalized, hands-on, meaningful to the child, and student-led. They construct meaning through exploration of their own passions and ideas.
Inquiry is a great experiential learning activity that hits these points. Let's take a look.
Almost every learning experience that I facilitate with my own children and my high school students centers around inquiry. Direct instruction is rare.
In short, inquiry-based learning is a student-centered instructional method that promotes learning through discovery. Rather than have "correct answers" delivered directly from teacher to student, the learner explores the world around them, asks questions, and investigates.
There is one critical teacher question to ask students consistently:
"How can you find out?" This is one of my favorite answers to student questions. Resourcefulness is an important skill for children to have heading into adulthood in the 21st-century. I often have students that don't know how to answer this question when I ask it. They don't know where to go to get information.
To provide innovative educational resources for educators, parents, and students, that go beyond lecture and worksheets.
Sara Segar, experiential life-science educator and advisor, curriculum writer, and mother of two.