One of my personal goals this year was to make the inquiry cycle more visible and clear. As a PYP school we use Kath Murdoch's model of the inquiry cycle to guide us through each Unit of Inquiry with our students. This post will show you a couple of ways I have ensured this vision this year (both on paper and using technology). [Edit: I know that inquiry is not as linear and straight forward as this. Inquiry is messy. However, as a teacher with no formal training on the subject and with no one around me to assist in a way that I found helpful, this is what I came up with. This is what I have done for a year to ensure my own understanding of the inquiry cycle. Next year: more mess!]
This year we have tried to keep as many units at 6 weeks as possible, with a focus on one stage of the inquiry cycle each week. The photo above is an ever-changing display board I made in the year 5 pod area to help keep us on track. The students love to see whose work gets posted each week. It has helped me and my students visually keep track of our process and how we are building and modifying our knowledge and skills each week.
In collaborative planning meetings, team members create two collaborative mind maps for each unit using www.MindMeister.com. This online tool lets us all work on the mind maps at the same time. One mind map shows the inquiry cycle to help plan ideas of what we could do each week. The other shows transdisciplinary links between the central idea/lines of inquiry and each subject area (specialists and homeroom teachers). Here are some Year 5 examples from our unit about space. Not all areas are fully developed in this example, and things change as students have new ideas/take new directions, but it will give you an idea of what we use as a working document (which will inevitably change next year when the same unit is repeated).
How do you ensure use of the inquiry cycle in your classroom? What tools and technology assist you in doing this? I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions in the comments.
Passionate Educator and Innovation Coach.