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Inquiry Through an Integrated Unit of Study


Build expertise of the steps in creating an inquiry-based unit of study and ... Planning for Inquiry: It's Not an Oxymoron. Urbana, IL: NCTE. Routman, Regie. ( 2000) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Inquiry Through an Integrated Unit of Study

Inquiry Through an Integrated Unit of Study
  • Going beyond coverage!
  • Andrea Frasier
  • Thursday, January 31st
  • 310-430

Session Objectives
  • Participants will
  • Build expertise of the steps in creating an
    inquiry-based unit of study and begin planning
    the first step
  • WILF Reframe curricular standards into essential
    questions for an inquiry unit

Setting the Stage
  • Read passages 1 and 2 to yourself.
  • Complete the T-Chart
  • Discuss the differences between these two
    teaching approaches
  • Do you think that the students in Mr. Plocks
    class would perceive writing a research report in
    the same way that Sam did?

Research Does NOT Inquiry!
  • Learning how to write a research report is a
    valuable skill
  • BUT,
  • it is not inquiry unless it also engages the
    students and involves choosing which questions to
    pose, what investigations to conduct, and how to
    present the knowledge gained!
  • -Regie Routman

Mr. Plocks Classroom Inquiry in Literacy
  • Overlaps science investigation, oral language,
    reading, and writing
  • Children raise and pursue questions
  • Inquiry-based instruction through integration
  • Begins with students existing knowledge

Why Inquiry?
  • Cultivate motivation and engagement
  • Deepen conceptual and strategic understanding
  • Higher-level thinking
  • Productive habits of mind
  • Positive attitudes toward future learning
    (no matter the subject area)
  • - Jeffrey Wilhelm

Why Inquiry?
  • Improve achievement on standardized tests
  • Evidence from the National assessments of
    Educational Progress (NAEP) and the Third
    International Mathematics and Science Survey
    (TIMSS) show that better student scores are
    associated with inquiry approaches that promote
    deep thinking

Why Integrate?
  • Bridge the gap between subjects
  • Make learning more authentic and functional
  • Move student thinking beyond facts to conceptual
    levels of understanding

A Mile Wide and an Inch Deep?
  • (TIMSS) also found that American education covers
    far more content than other nations, but lacks
  • Teachers feel compelled to cover abundant
    subject area content
  • Student problem solving active learning have
    been limited

The Need for Integrated Inquiry
  • Time spent teaching in the content areas had
    decreased due to state testing mandates (Math
  • However, many states have now adopted
    accountability measures in Science Social
  • How can we prepare students for these tests, and
    ensure a depth of understanding that goes beyond
    a recall of facts? Integrated Inquiry!

Integrated Inquiry
  • When inquiry is both genuine and integrated,
    then reading, writing, speaking, listening, and
    viewing are naturally part of the exploration or
  • -Regie Routman

Where to Start?
  • Teachers need to understand the differences
    between conceptual curriculum and instruction
    through inquiry and traditional methods.
  • They need the expertise to design integrated
    inquiry units of study around designated content
    by drawing essential understandings, questions,
    and processes from district and state frameworks.

How? Reframing Your Curriculum
  • Jeffrey Wilhelm suggests
  • three practical steps
  • 1.) Reframe Standards into Essential Questions
  • 2.) Identify Final Project(s)
  • 3.) Create a backwards plan

What is Your Focus Why Does it Matter?
  • Ask What compelling question(s) could I pose to
    students that will focus my teaching and drive
    their inquiry learning?

Where Do You Want to Go How Will You Know
Youve Arrived?
  • Ask What are the bottom line goals do I have for
    my students throughout this unit?

How Can You Help Students Get There?
  • Ask What do I need to teach or have students
    experience so that they can attain the learning

What Does it Look Like?
  • Lets look at a sample inquiry-based unit
  • Notice the difference between traditional
    curriculum vs. inquiry curriculum

Effective Essential Questions
  • 1. Reframe a required standard, topic, or text so
    it matters.
  • 2. Consider the heart of the matter.
  • 3. Look around the community.
  • 4. Consider the principal organizing questions of
    the discipline(s) you are studying.
  • 5. Ask questions like those practitioners use to
    guide their own work.

Effective Essential Questions
  • 6. Ask questions about quality that require
    students to make judgments (open-ended).
  • Ask ethical or moral questions that require
    judgment about particular concepts issues.
  • Ask questions of application.
  • Solicit students help to generate an essential
    or sub-question.
  • 10. Reframe historical periods as inquiry by
    focusing on geographical and intellectual spaces
    of debate of the time.

From Topics to Essential Questions
Imagine You Are a Student About to Begin a
Community Unit of Study...
Would you rather be asked, How does my community
affect my life? What do I owe my communityor
do I? (OR) Be told, Students, you will learn
to recognize personal responsibility to the
Lets Give it a Try
  • Topic Government
  • Original Question How do the three branches of
    government balance power?
  • Problem This is simple information retrieval.
  • Revision
  • Ex. What makes a good government?


What Does it Feel Like?
  • 1. Move with your teams from chart to chart
  • 2. Read the topics questions posted
  • 3. Determine if the question meets the criteria
    of an essential question
  • 4. Place a dot next to each question that your
    team feels would be an effective essential
    question for an inquiry unit for the given topic

Essential Question
  • Yes or No?
  • In your teams, use the handout provided to
    rewrite the questions into essential questions.

What Now, What Next?
  • You know how to write essential questions!
  • You are ready to go further with inquiry!
  • Can you think of a grade level a topic that you
    might consider exploring this with?
  • Inquiry focus groups will continue to build your
    expertise assist you in the planning of a unit!

  • Erickson, H. Lynn. (2002). Concept-Based
    Curriculum and Instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA
    Corwin Press, Inc.
  • Five, Cora Lee Dionisio, Marie. (1996).
    Bridging the Gap. Portsmouth, NH Heinemann.
  • Parker, Diane. (2007). Planning for Inquiry Its
    Not an Oxymoron. Urbana, IL NCTE
  • Routman, Regie. (2000). Conversations.
    Portsmouth, NH Heinemann.
  • Wilhelm, Jeffrey. (2007). Engaging Readers and
    Writers with Inquiry. New York Scholastic.