Foam

Parachutes

Ice Balloons

Process Circus

Pinhole Inquiry








Ice Balloons
Discussion

To participate in an ongoing discussion of the Ice Balloons Activity, or to read what other people have said, click here.

Ice Balloons: Exploring the Role of Questioning in Inquiry

This activity is designed to develop the critical inquiry skill of questioning. The Ice Balloon Activity uses an intriguing material - frozen water balloons - to raise questions and identify those which can become the basis for investigations.

For the full text of the Ice Balloons Activity, click here.

For Figure 1, the "Investigating Ice Balloons Directions" sheet only (on its own page), click here. For Figure 2, the "Creating a classroom ethos ..." sheet only (on its own page), click here. For Figure 3, the "Examples of children's questions with Ice Balloons" sheet only (on its own page), click here. Then, you can print them out as you would any other document on your computer.

Why do it?

This activity provides a model for teachers to help raise student's questions and then handle those questions so they can be used as the basis for investigations. By generating questions and doing an investigation based on one of them, teachers recognize how to distinguish investigable questions from non-investigable questions. This awareness is critical if teachers are to be able to involve students in activities based on their own genuine questions.

How to do it?

This activity takes at least 3 hours, several days preparation time to freeze the water balloons, materials (see full text for greater details), and one or more staff to facilitate discussions.

Doing it:

 

Step 1

 

After an introduction, participants in small groups generate a number of questions about the ice balloons as they experiment with them in an open ended way. To see what some groups have done with the ice balloons, click here.

Step 2
Each group chooses one of the questions they've raised to try to answer through investigating. They try to establish criteria for investigable questions as they go along.

Step 3
Each group presents an example of an investigable and a non-investigable question and their criteria for investigable questions.


Step 4
Full group discussion of criteria for investigable questions.

Step 5
Each group chooses a non-investigable question to try to "turn" it into an investigable one.

Step 6
Each group presents how they "turned" a non-investigable into an investigable question, and the full group discusses general strategies for "turning" questions.

 

Having done it:

The Ice Balloons Activity highlights how intriguing materials can be used to raise questions, that some questions can be answered by doing an investigation, and that some questions that seem non-investigable can be "turned" into ones that can be answered through investigation. Because it also serves as a model for doing a very short investigation based on questions raised by the learners, it can set the stage for doing more extended investigations.


Ice Balloons
Discussion

To participate in an ongoing discussion of the Ice Balloons Activity, or to read what other people have said, click here.

For the full text of the Ice Balloons Activity, click here.

For Figure 1, the "Investigating Ice Balloons Directions" sheet only (on its own page), click here. For Figure 2, the "Creating a classroom ethos ..." sheet only (on its own page), click here. For Figure 3, the "Examples of children's questions with Ice Balloons" sheet only (on its own page), click here. Then, you can print them out as you would any other document on your computer.

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