Monday, 25 February 2013

New Inquiry

Last week I started a new inquiry on 'Objects and Materials' with my Grade Ones. Inquiry scares me a little because there is less control and a lot of unknown. My students love it as they are in 'control' of their learning and this is the most important part. Inquiry is about the process not the product. We are in the process of finding out what we know and what we have an interest in. We started the inquiry with time to explore a variety of objects and materials. The students asked questions and enjoyed "playing" with all the objects around the room. They noticed a variety of things, like the smell, texture, whether it was hard or soft.

We talked about some of the materials and read a book about the materials they played with. Most of my students were interested in metal. Some wanted to know more about wood. We read a book about metal and wood and I had the students take notes on stickies and talk to each other about what they learned and what they wondered. They wrote their ideas from their stickies on larger papers in small groups. We took the large paper information and shared it with the class to create a chart. I did this with the metal group and then the wood group. Each group gained a lot of information working together and sharing the information found from the non-fiction books.

Now, where do I go next? My thoughts are that I need to bring in metal and wood objects for students to explore. This can go nicely with reading and writing - I know they will love to write about different objects.  Here's a picture from a blog post just written today about one student's interest in metal:

I love how an inquiry can tie into all aspects of the curriculum and not forced upon, but rather by choice of the students.

Our class will also have to go on a metal and wood hunt, looking for different objects in the room. This also compliments the Grade 1 curriculum, as students need to be able to identify objects that have specific materials.

I would love your thoughts about inquiry. Where do think I should go next? What have you done that works?

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