What is inquiry based learning? I’ve always thought of it as a hands-on type of learning environment where the students are interacting with the content in order to learn. I have not received any formal training or staff development on inquiry learning so I wondered how many of my colleagues have an understanding of this method of learning. I randomly asked 10 teachers at my school this same question. I received a variety of answers including “hands-on learning”, “student-centered”, “asking questions and finding answers”, and “I don’t know”.
After spending the last week reading about inquiry learning I realized that it was the main focus of my classroom last year. I used the flipped model in my middle school science class last year. I wanted to decrease the amount of classroom time where I was center stage. I started creating videos where I quickly explained the key concepts and then students came to class and interacting with that information in different ways. Students spent class time planning and implementing lab investigations, researching and creating presentations, and using different technology tools to enhance their learning experience. I was able to interact with my students in small groups and in many cases one on one almost daily. I also learned about the importance of gauging student learning and finding new ways to meet the needs of my students.
I hope to gain a better understanding of the differences between hands-on learning and inquiry learning and ways to better plan and implement inquiry activities in my classroom throughout this course.