Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What is Inquiry?

Yesterday I helped facilitate a local workshop about inquiry-based learning as part of the California After School Network's  The Power of Discovery: STEM2 initiative.  The Alameda County Office of Education and Gateways East Bay STEM Learning Network are the Regional Support Providers that are implementing The Power of Discovery at the regional and local levels.  Their vision is to create, empower and guide cross-sector partnerships among diverse stakeholders to build professional capacity of out-of-school time programs to offer high-quality STEM learning opportunities.

The focus of the workshop was inquiry based learning and the presentation was by Kourrney Andrada of Girls Inc. of Alameda County.  Her presentation was chock full of helpful links, which I'll recap below.  Some of her resources were videos from the Lawrence Hall of Science's' Afterschool KidzScience program.

Here is my favorite video from the list - it covers elements of questioning, guiding exploration and encouraging collaboration.  

This would be a great video to show after school science leaders as a starting off point for a conversation about facilitation techniques.  

Here are the links to resources from yesterday's training:

4-H's Science in Urban Communities

This link is from Developmental Studies Center, creators with Lawrence Hall of Science of KidzScience, Kidzmath, KidzLit, etc.     
"Sparking Curiosity" coachingsegment

The Y4Y links use the following definition from the Exploratorium:

Inquiry is an approach to learning that involves a process of exploring the natural or material world that leads to asking questions and making discoveries in the search for new understandings.

Inquiry, as it relates to science education, should mirror as closely as possible the enterprise of doing real science.

Encourage your students to discuss and question openly, to gain a better understanding of what they’re thinking. It’ll help you uncover misunderstandings you can challenge and identify places to introduce concepts and explanations for what they’re experiencing.

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