Digging Deeper With Inquiry: Preparing 21st Century Learners

As we prepare our students to be 21st Century learners, they are learning through many types of resources and media available at their fingertips. With hand-held devices, accessing information is instantaneous. These tools are part of students' everyday life with benefits and disadvantages. Students learn to dig deeper with inquiry learning.

As we prepare students to become 21st century learners, there are important skills they must learn in guided inquiry. One is learning how to ask meaningful questions.



As educators, it is important for us to guide students as they collaborate with others and gain new information. We need to teach our students to use the technology tools in a meaningful way and help them understand that the information they read can be untrue and misinterpreted.

Guiding students through the inquiry process is an excellent way in helping students deepen their understanding of new information. Through guided inquiry, teachers and librarians can join together in teaching information literacy.

Student's World

There's more to inquiry than just collecting and presenting information. Students can investigate the new knowledge and how it relates to their world. (What questions do they have, what do they already know about the subject or problem and how they can reflect on their classmates' contributions.)

Asking Meaningful Questions

To begin the inquiry process, I present students with different types of media so they can learn to ask meaningful questions. These begin as Big Questions and can eventually be narrowed down to researchable questions.
- Present photographs and ask students to write down questions they have about the picture.
- Show YouTube videos or TedTalks that present thought-provoking questions.
- Students can journal each day about questions they have (something they saw on TV, saw in their neighborhood or read)
- Have objects in a bag that they may not be familiar with. Students can write down questions and then discuss these with classmates in small groups.

What questions would you ask about this photograph?

As we prepare students to become 21st century learners, there are important skills they must learn in guided inquiry. One is learning how to ask meaningful questions.

I was amazed at how few of my students could ask or write meaningful questions about subjects and problems in our society. We had to practice as a whole group so the students could understand the type of questions I was looking for.

A book I would recommend in teaching guided inquiry is Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century by Carol Collier Kuhlthau. She says, "Guided Inquiry equips students with abilities and competencies to address the changes of an uncertain, changing world."

As we prepare students to become 21st century learners, there are important skills they must learn in guided inquiry. One is learning how to ask meaningful questions.

For additional activities with inquiry and reading informational text, visit my Sweet Integrations Teachers Pay Teachers store.






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