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Key Components of Inquiry Instruction



A Few Initial Observations on Inquiry:


  • Inquiry instruction is a form of active learning that emphazises questioning, data analysis and generation of an evidence-based explanations - a "procedural way of knowing" (see Piaget, Perry and Belenky et al).
    • The primary question to ask when developing inquiry instruction: "Are students answering a question through data analysis?" (Adapted from - National Science Education Standards, 2000.)


  • Explanations and narratives are heavily influenced by background and culture, therefore, collaboration and social interactions are crutial for the process of Inquiry Instruction to move from a "procedural way of knowing" to a fully "constructed way of knowing" (see Piaget, Perry and Belenky et al).


  • Inquiry instruction has many similarities to the processes used by the human brain to make meaning, including: observing, reflecting, theorizing, and acting.


  • Inquiry instruction comes in many forms and can be structuted and scaffolded to suit educators needs.

Inquiry activities vary on the amount of prior information provided to students. (See Figure 2. from Simplifying Inquiry Instruction)


Inquiry activities vary on the complexity of the structure, from most structured to least structured they are: confirmation, structured, guided, open. (For an example see Figure 3. from Simplifying Inquiry Instruction)




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