Learning Log – Inquiry-based Research

5 Mar

Currently, I’m working on designing an astronomy inquiry-based research project.  There are so many inquiry models out there to choose from: Webquests, Minnesota’s Inquiry Process, Constructivist Learning Models for Inquiry, The Research Cycle, The Big6, AGOPPE, and more.  However, I discovered they all have the same components: questioning, exploration, assimilation, inference, and reflection.  Therefore, it’s taken me quite a while to process and digest this type of teaching and learning in order to even begin creting this unit.

I can honestly say I have always told students what they will research.  For example, every October, students complete a report on a famous or influential Latino-American for Hispanic Heritage Month.  Sure, students get to choose which Latino-American to research but the person is usually chosen from a list I have generated.  I also tell them what information they need to include about the person.  Now, I will need to allow students to come up with their own questions, at least. 

Leslie B. Preddy has written a series of articles for School Library Media Activities Monthly (now School Library Monthly) about inquiry.  Her five part series “Student Inquiry in the Research Process” has been very helpful to me in understanding the actual steps teachers and students take.  She gives many tips and strategies to implement throughout the process.  The ones I found most valuable were: the research journal which can be used at the end to aid in grading the process, questioning, daily reflection for students during the process, peer conference and evaluation, and rubrics.  Preddy says, “Each student needs the opportunity to learn that research requires hard work, focus, and dedication.”  Students are actually in the process of becoming lifelong learners.

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