Asking questions for true inquiry based research
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Asking Questions for True Inquiry-Based Research. Moving from superficial topics to quality research in the intermediate grades…. Why is this a skill worth learning?.

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Asking questions for true inquiry based research

Asking Questions for True Inquiry-Based Research

Moving from superficial topics to quality research in the intermediate grades…


Why is this a skill worth learning
Why is this a skill worth learning?

  • When college and university professors were asked what skill, above all else, is most important for success in post-secondary and career settings they said the ability to do research.

  • Teachers make the mistake of thinking that content or technology use training are important, but university staff said “elementary and high school teachers should be teaching kids how to ask questions and how to judge what information is relevant to answering questions and what isn’t.


Typical research in elementary school grades
Typical “research” in Elementary School Grades

  • Teacher provides a general topic (ie. Residential Schools)

  • Students “look up” everything they can on the topic

  • The result is final work that is a “dump” of information, often copied from various different sources verbatim.

  • Teacher struggles to decide if they student actually understands, has thought about, or even knows anything about what they “researched”.


What does mr burke hear
What Does Mr. Burke Hear?

  • “This is stupid”, “Why do I have to do this?”, “Whatever, I don’t want to do this.”, “Ok, fine, I’ll just write down whatever to get this over with”.

  • Not really the sound of students engaging or putting an effort into their work. It sounds like a classroom where the teacher isn’t putting any effort into making learning engaging and fun for his students. (Do you think this is true?)

  • Why do we come to school?

  • To learn. (10 years ago, it was to listen to a teacher, read a textbook, and answer a million questions – still happens in many classrooms)

  • When you are verbally negative about the learning tasks in the classroom, you have a negative impact on the teacher and your peers. Your classmates begin to shut down with you, causing frustration for the teacher – who now struggles to figure out how to help you or make you interested in learning.


What does mr burke see right now
What does Mr. Burke see right now?

  • “Clumps” – information shoved together without an underlying logic or explanation. Some are just shoving information together with no thinking and using “stuff” to support their opinions that has nothing to do with your opinion statement.

  • “Shapes” – arguments that use the right form but without substance. Some mimic critical thinking by borrowing the opinion of another author, focusing on a small issue as if it represents the wider issue, or only looking at surface issues.




How to avoid topic dumps through the inquiry process
How to avoid “Topic Dumps” through the Inquiry Process Response?

  • The way to avoid “topic dumping” and get some real research going is to ask specific questions about your topic.



Think pair share
Think-Pair-Share Response?

  • Grab a white board

  • Take 3-5 minutes to think of some things you think you might like to learn more about under the topic of residential schools.

  • IF YOU CAN, try to write a few questions that you could conduct some research to try to answer about residential schools.

  • When cued, bring your ideas into a circle to share with the whole class.


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