Inquiry based learning……

Okay so what is it exactly?

First off – buzz words seem to be bantered about often. Let’s take a look at some different styles.

According to Laura Davis from  (full article here:

Project-based learning

  • Definition: Students create a written, oral, visual or multimedia project with an authentic audience and purpose. Project-based learning is usually done in English, social studies or foreign-language class.
  • Example: Teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron’s ELA students wanted to fix the broken bell at their school. They developed a thesis, organized a petition, wrote letters and prepared an oral statement that was read to the principal.
  • Teaching Tip: Make sure your project doesn’t just have students regurgitate knowledge. For example, don’t have students make a map that displays information from a textbook. Have students discover their own findings for their projects.
  • For More Info: Edutopia’s Project-Based Learning Professional Development Guide includes a variety of student examples.

Problem-based learning

  • Definition: Students investigate and solve a real-world problem. To do so, students must identify what they already know and what they need to learn, and then they find and apply knowledge. Problem-based learning often takes place in math and science class. It doesn’t necessarily include a project at the end so it doesn’t always take as long as project-based learning.
  • Example: Nancy Sulla, author of “Students Taking Charge: Inside the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom,” gives this science example: Researchers are conflicted on whether we can use certain types of bacteria to clean up radioactive pollution in water. Have students use the scientific method, evaluate data on bacteria, and decide how one bacteria or a combination of them would work effectively as microscopic radioactive pollution eaters.
  • Teaching Tip: Make sure you choose a problem that is open-ended and has no one right answer.
  • For More Info: This site from the University of Delaware offers a variety of problems from which teachers can choose.

Inquiry-based learning

  • Definition: Students explore a question in-depth and ask further questions to gather knowledge. This method is often done in science but can be done in any subject area. The term “inquiry” has been around for years; some people say that problem-based learning is just the new term for the same thing.
  • Example: Teacher Winnifred Bolinsky used inquiry-based learning to help students understand the physics principle of inertia.
  • Teaching Tip: Give students a variety of ways to gather knowledge — not just on the computer but through hands-on learning.
  • For More Info: Examples and video clips of inquiry-based learning can be found on Thirteen’s Edonline site


It seems to me that these styles are shades of grey in the same painting.  My dear SPiCEY son likes to DO stuff (kinesthetic learning), more than watch (visual or spatial), listen (auditory or linguistic) or read stuff.


I found this page that was interesting, as it shows different ideas to help you use a preferred style to a person’s learning advantage…. check it out.


For SPiCEY son’s PHYSICAL learning style  it suggests :

Learning and techniques

  • If you use a physical style, use touch, action, movement and hands-on work in your learning activities. For visualization, focus on the sensations you would expect in each scenario. For example, if you are visualizing a tack (turn) on a sailboat, focus on physical sensations. Feel the pressure against your hand as you turn the rudder, and the tension lessening on the ropes. Feel the wind change to the other side, feel the thud as the sail swaps with the wind, and feel the boat speed up as you start the new leg.
  • For assertions and scripting, describe the physical feelings of your actions. For example, a pilot might script as follows: ‘I feel the friction as I push the throttle forward to start my takeoff run. The controls start to feel more responsive as I check the airspeed, oil pressure and temperature. At takeoff speed, I pull back slightly, and I feel the vibrations of the wheels stop as the plane leaves the ground. After a few moments, I reach down and set the gear selector to up. I feel the satisfying bump as the gear stops fully up.’
  • Use physical objects as much as possible. Physically touch objects as you learn about what they do. Flashcards can help you memorize information because you can touch and move them around.
  • Keep in mind as well that writing and drawing diagrams are physical activities, so don’t neglect these techniques. Perhaps use big sheets of paper and large color markers for your diagrams. You then get more action from the drawing.
  • Use breathing and relaxation to focus your state while you learn and perform. Focus on staying calm, centered, relaxed and aware. If you want to gain more control over your physical state, look up some references on Autogenics. This was a secret behind the great Russian athletic performances over the past few decades.
  • Use role-playing, either singularly or with someone else, to practice skills and behaviors. Find ways to act out or simulate what you are learning.

Happy learning and may you know the SPiCE in life!



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