4.  What are the Categories of Inquiry-Based Learning?

 

The following table summarizes the four levels of inquiry. As one moves down the table, the ownership of the question or problem, the procedure, and the analysis of results shift from the teacher to the student (adapted from Llewellyn, 2011). As students develop skills in inquiry, teachers can scaffold their lessons from teacher-centred to student inquiry-centred.

 

Inquiry Level

Pose Question/Problem

Plan Procedure

Analyze Results

Description

Demonstrated Inquiry or Discrepant Event

Teacher

Teacher

Teacher

Activities geared to capture students’ attention and challenge prior conceptions or verify already known results. Students observe teacher-led inquiry and draw conclusions from their observations. It usually ends with a surprising, puzzling, counter-intuitive result. Teacher’s role is that of a motivator.

Structured  Inquiry

 

 

Teacher

Teacher

Student

Activities where students follow a sequence of procedures provided by the teacher or textbook. Students collect and organize the data and learn to analyze the evidence, make claims, and communicate their findings independently. Sometimes misnamed confirmation labs and verification labs. Teacher’s role is that of a coach.

Guided Inquiry or Teacher-Initiated Inquiry or

Problem solving

 

Teacher

Student

Student

Activities where students are given a challenge (question or problem) to be investigated by the teacher with suggested materials. Students, on their own design, carry out a procedure for the investigation, and analyze and communicate their findings independently. Teacher’s role is that of a facilitator.  

Self-Directed Inquiry or Student-Initiated Inquiry or Open-Ended Inquiry or

Full Inquiry

Student

Student

Student

Activities where students are responsible for all aspects of the investigation. Teacher’s role is that of a mentor.

Further descriptions on what the teacher and student do at each level of inquiry are summarized in Differentiated Science Inquiry (Llewellyn, 2011, p14- 21).

 

 

References

1.  Llewellyn, D. (2011). Differentiated Science Inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.