Inquiry learning…

I posted recently 3 reasons to be a teacher.  The post itself was quick and a bit tongue in cheek, but the response was wonderful!   Teachers all over the world shared why they are teachers and I couldn’t help but think how lucky we are to be in such a satisfying profession, where each day brings something new and exciting and challenging.  I have just come from the staffroom where 3 teachers, as they made their morning coffee, spontaneously shared successful learning that had taken place in their classes and their excitement was contagious!  One story at least is worth sharing here…

Rubi’s Year 4 students (9 year olds) were having difficulty grasping the concept of sustainability, as in this model.

Her solution was to bring several simple jigsaw puzzles to the class. Each group was given a puzzle, with a key piece missing.  She told them the task was connected to their unit of inquiry and they should think about how this might be.

As they talked amongst themselves, Rubi recording their thinking…

  • I think it’s about about cooperation
  • How we are connected to the world and together
  • I think the puzzle has something to do with the Venn diagram on sustainability.

They soon got the idea that the puzzle could not come together if there was a piece missing.  Once they had this practical  hands-on example, it didn’t take long before they made the connection with the sustainability diagram and how each piece is a key part of the whole.

Further student thinking…

  • What happens if a piece is missing? The whole thing falls apart.
  • I understand that we need a balance, but should we not take care of the environment more now?
  • What if people were more concerned about economy and society and not the environment?
  • How can we organise our society in a way that will help us to keep the balance?

Every child was engaged. They were thinking and collaborating and learning. They were excited to make connections. And Rubi herself experienced one of those moments where we think how great it is to be a teacher!

Here’s my Venn diagram to represent the lesson!

If you’re interested in reading more about  inquiry as a stance, read Maggie’s  post about different types of inquiry at Tech Transformation.

2 thoughts on “Inquiry learning…

  1. What an excellent lesson and a very inventive teacher! A great real life metaphor to get students thinking differently and challenging understanding. I love it!


  2. What a boost it is for Rubi to see her idea taken out of the classroom into the global classroom. Rubi just happened to share this during our collaborative planning session… I told Edna who shared it further. How many wonderful things happen behind closed doors – even in my own school. I want more and more to be able to get those amazing inventive ideas out there for us all to learn from.


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