Active Learning and Inquiry-Based Teaching Strategies. Lynda Paznokas Associate Dean for School and Community Collaboration Boeing Distinguished Professor of Science Education. Lynda and Skip Paznokas Pullman, Washington USA.
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Associate Dean for School and Community Collaboration
Boeing Distinguished Professor of Science Education
Students given problem, procedure,
to inquiry for students.
Students given problem and procedure,
but not outcome.
structured to enable the student to
discover relationships and to
generalize from data collected.
Students given problem but
not procedure nor outcome
Students determine their own
problem, procedure, and outcome.
Analyze and Plan→
Teach and Observe→
Discuss and Revise→
Teach and Observe→
Discuss and Revise→
Report on Goals
For more information
Columbia University’s Teacher’s College Lesson Study Research GroupLesson Study Cycle
The Big Six is an information literacy curriculum, an information problem solving process, and a set of skills that provide a strategy for effectively and efficiently meeting information needs.
The Big Six skills approach can be used whenever students are in a situation, academic or personal, which requires information to solve a problem, make a decision, or complete a task.
“In this age of tabloid news and easy internet access, students must be savvy information consumers. They need to be aware that not all the reports they see may be accurate or factual….Instead of unquestioningly accepting the reliability of what they read, see, and hear, they have the skills to test the veracity of the information themselves. They are aware that it is their responsibility to consider the reliability of the source, question the accuracy of the information, and confirm for themselves any news item that seems suspect. A reading public with these skills will be well-informed, scientifically literate, and discerning consumers of the media.”
Caracungan, C. & Kelly, S. (2002). The truth behind the tabloids. Science Scope, 27. 8-11.
1. Task Definition
2. Information Seeking Strategies
Dialogue enables adults to achieve deeper meaning and understanding because they can utilize the skills of inquiry, reflection, and exploration.
Example: Participants are given a question to which there may be multiple answers. They brainstorm to generate multiple ideas.
Expressing oneself artistically has extreme value for total cognitive and personal development.
Example: Participants illustrate the meanings of specific concepts of content-area vocabulary to facilitate retention.
Critical thinking skills can be improved by getting participants out of the classroom and into the real world.
Example: Virtual field trips can provide many of the same cognitive and affective benefits as an actual field trip. Participants view a distance learning telecast concerning a particular course objective.
Appropriate games facilitate problem solving, cooperation, movement, and even self-discovery.
Example: Construct a facsimile of Jeopardy! By selecting important facts related to the objectives of the course.
Graphic organizers can be referred to as power pictures because they paint important pictures on the brain.
Examples: Venn diagrams, web organizers, pie charts, sequence charts, etc.
Participants could use a Venn diagram
(2 interlocking circles) anytime two parallel concepts are being compared or contrasted.
Humor enlivens participants, reduces tension, and increases productivity and creativity.
Example: Reinforce a concept to be taught by locating or creating cartoons, riddles, or jokes and integrating them into instruction.
The most effective teaching techniques for increasing intelligence unite both mind and body.
Example: Participants demonstrate tactically their agreement or disagreement with an answer or their levels of understanding for an answer by doing one of the following:
Metaphors are a natural way for the brain to construct new knowledge and acquire meaning.
Example: Participants write metaphors that symbolize their understanding of two unrelated concepts. They explain the relationship between the two concepts to a partner.
The brain is a computer. Participants describe the similarities between the human brain and a computer.
(e.g. both have ways to access long-term memory)
People are better at applying factual information when they acquire that information through mnemonic strategies. (brain short cuts)
Example: Participants work individually or in cooperative groups to create their own mnemonic devices such as the order of the planets: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.
Movement places knowledge at multiple addresses in the brain.
Example: In a Carousel activity, one topic (related to a bigger theme that is being taught) is written on 4 posters and placed at 4 locations in the room. Divide participants into 4 groups. Each group moves to a different poster, appoints a recorder, and is given 2 minutes to brainstorm as many things as they can remember about the topic on that poster. After 2 minutes, groups move clockwise to the next poser and add to the content already written. The carousel ends when each group has responded to all 4 posters.
Music connects multiple brain sites by activating and synchronizing neuron’s firing patterns.
Example: Play appropriate classical, jazz, or another type of calming music as participants enter the classroom. Music will help to establish a supportive environment and assist participants in relaxing and reading themselves for the upcoming instruction.
People retain and apply information in meaningful ways when that information is connected to real-life experiences.
Example: Following a workshop or course segment, assign a follow-up project through which participants can implement the concepts learned during instruction.
Cooperative learning, rather than lecture, enables students to gain insights from one another, broaden high-level reasoning, and become a nation of student who think.
Example: Each participant turns to a close partner and reteaches a concept that the teacher has just presented or provides a summary of the key points in a class discussion.
When learners take on multiple roles, learning is integrated and therefore enhanced.
Example: Participants work in groups to write and present an impromptu television commercial regarding information learned in class. The goal of the commercial is to persuade the audience to purchase a service or buy the information presented.
Information is tied in our memories to the scripts that stories provide.
Activity: Create stories throughout the course that teach pertinent concepts or ideas that you want participants to remember. These stories preferably should derive from your personal experiences so that you can be sure your participants have not previously heard the story.
A curriculum that is technologically based is more complex, visual, specific, global, and interactive.
On-ling learning should be used to enhance face-to-face learning. There is no virtual learning miracle that will eradicate the need for people
Example: Establish electronic learning teams that give participants opportunities to discuss pertinent issues, share experiences, or provide coaching to one another.
Visualization improves our ability to problem solve before, during, and after the learning or application of a task.
Example: Participants view a vocabulary word, math formula, or science process written on the board. The visual is removed and participants visualize the previous concept and jot it down on their papers. They then compare their visualizations with those of a peer.
Because the eyes send millions of signals per second to be processed in the visual centers of the brain, the brain takes in more information visually than through any of the other sense.
Example: Place visuals on the walls that support the concepts you are teaching. These could include posters, a sample agenda, key vocabulary terms, cartoons, positive messages, and so forth.
Complicated, multiple bits of information from presentations and observations can be organized and made easier to understand when written down.
Example: Participants write as many words and phrases as they can recall following the presentation of a chunk of information. They compare their list with that of a classmate and add any words or phrases from their partner’s list to their own.
How do you know they got it?