Student Driven Questions in Inquiry

Making Thinking Visible in Social Studies @Forest Avenue

A collaborative inquiry that focus' upon the use of student driven questions in inquiry. Students use visible thinking routines to research the answers to their questions based on the Social Studies curriculum.

A grade 2/3 class answers their questions about their Ontario Communities by using Twitter and blogging to connect to a PLN. A grade 3/4 class uses visible thinking routines to compare and contrast societies' relationship to the environment.

Theory of Action

If students use their own questions, created through the use of the visible thinking routine, 'See, Think. Wonder' to conduct research then students will be more active participants in their own learning.
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Grade 3/4 Comparing & Contrasting Early/Ancient Societies

Thick or Thin Questions

Students are learning the importance of asking a question. Students are learning what constitutes a thick or heavy question. Their wonderings were the starting point. Thin questions can be answered right away. Thick questions take longer and may never even be answered.

Student Voice: What Do Students Think About See Think Wonder?

Click on the hyperlink to Listen to a student describe how she feels about using the See Think Wonder routine during research in Social Studies.

Grade 2/3 Comparing & Contrasting Environments of Ontario Communities

An Invigorating Conversation

Students asked many questions. Donna provided answers. We met an Educator who was a passionate advocate for her community. Our Skype discussion caused me to wonder how much I knew about my own community.

Key Learnings and Next Steps

  • Inquiry is ongoing and iterative. As this inquiry continues to unfold, new learnings emerge and reflection and response to student needs takes place. The inquiry of students mirrors the inquiry of teachers. As students reflect on their learning, teachers also reflect on their learning.
  • When students are given the opportunity to use their own questions for research, their engagement level rises. Their questions can be richer and more complex than the content driven questions we sometimes ask. This leads to rich discussions about ideas, perspectives and social justice issues.
  • Students are focused on the process of paying attention to their own thinking while researching, placing an emphasis on learning.
  • Students are comparing and contrasting and making connections based upon their own wonderings. How are jobs related to the environment ? Was it the same for First Nations, Early Settlers and Ancient Civilizations? What is the relationship like now?
  • Students are engaging in 21st Century Learning throughout their research

Resources and Research Used to Support Our Inquiry

Why Thinking matters in schools
Ron Ritchart speaks of the importance of creating a culture of thinking and documenting that movement of ideas in the classroom.
Documenting students' thinking

Student Work Study Initiative 2014

A collaborative inquiry conducted by Alana Perkins (Grade 2/3 Teacher), Kate Brown (grade 3/4) and Janet D'Silva (Student Work Study Teacher) at the Peel District School Board.