Inquiry Learning / Readers' Choice

from the March/April 2000 issue (vol. 13, Issue 4) of Connect,
a publication of Synergy Learning

A year ago, Connect asked its readers to suggest a topic for this March-April, 2000, issue. We received a number of diverse suggestions, but no common theme emerged. Then, in conversation with staff members of the Exploratorium in San Francisco, we heard about teachers participating in the Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry who were writing about their classroom work.

Looking back on readers' suggestions, we realized that inquiry, problem solving and helping students to find successful questions to investigate were common to many of the ideas we had received.

The result:
This issue features six articles, all by teachers in the Bay Area of San Francisco, working at different grade levels and with a variety of school populations. All the articles deal with helping students to engage in inquiry learning within their classroom settings. The teachers are skilled and have worked together extensively in the Exploratorium's professional development project, the Institute for Inquiry. In their classrooms, they face a variety of challenges and their approaches vary, based on the age group, student needs and other factors. We believe that these teachers' own work with inquiry learning leads them to tell valuable and intriguing stories about students becoming questioners, investigators and communicators. Many of these students look closely at the world around them and raise significant questions that can extend their learning remarkably.

Students beginning to develop questions about displacement and buoyancy

Beginning to develop questions about
displacement and buoyancy.

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