Developing Inquiry in Your Classroom

Strengthen inquiry in your classroom with tips and ideas from eMediaVA Ambassador Nick Dzendzel.

Allowing students to explore a subject can make you feel like you may not be in control of your classroom! A true inquiry will allow a back and forth collaboration between the teachers and students. It begins with a compelling question that students want to engage in and provides a basis of content for students to explore. With eMediaVA, it is easy to find a content playlist that can help inform students and develop their answers to the inquiry questions! 

Decide upon the content – utilizing your standards, you can search eMediaVA for content pieces and develop them into a playlist. 

Developing Inquiry Checklist: 

  • Develop a Compelling Question – this is a question that engages students and can have a variety of outcomes. For example, How did the Greeks defend against the Persian Empire and strengthen their democracy? What is the role of recycling in climate change? How many calories is enough? 
  • Include Supporting Content Questions – these questions will formatively assess if students have engaged with the core content of the lesson and help differentiate for your students.
  • Provide skill support for students – some content or questions will lead students to apply study skills necessary to help organize information and develop an answer to the compelling question. This can be compare and contrast, cause and effect, note-taking, or persuasive writing.
  • Allow students to choose how they will express their final product – Allowing students the opportunity to choose how they want to present their ideas allows for student agency and culturally responsive teaching practices. Consider assigning a media project for students to practice their skills as creators.

Following these steps when developing an inquiry in the classroom will allow teachers to remain in control of their classrooms while creating a positive environment for students to explore, grow, and express themselves while learning engaging content! More ideas for developing inquiry in your content area can be found in eMediaVA. Check out more examples of inquiry projects and ideas here

Nick Dzendzel is an eMediaVA Ambassador and is currently the Secondary Social Studies Instructional Specialist for Virginia Beach Public Schools. Previously, Nick was a social studies teacher and an Instructional Technology Specialist.

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