Teaching children how to ask those 'meaty' questions to direct their personal inquiries can be a challenge.
I refer to 2 types of questions - Thin and Thick. We practice identifying these all the time, so we get quite good at it.
The answers to Thin questions are short, quick and easily located. Answers to Thick questions require a combination of research and thinking, to formulate a comprehensive answer. Both types are required in an inquiry.
When planning an IB inquiry unit, we always select a couple of the relevant Key Concepts to focus the inquiry. For Body Systems the Key concepts chosen were: Form, Function and Connection.
Each has an inherent question: What is it like? How does is work? and How is it connected to something else?
These questions can be applied to any aspect in this inquiry. For the digestive system, the students brainstormed things they wanted to know about the digestive system (from "how does the acid get into your stomach? to how does the digestive system respond to problems?" We then sorted them under these umbrella questions -
For support, we worked in groups for the research and explanation writing. We broke the explanation down into 5 paragraphs - Introduction, Explanation (3 paragraphs), Conclusion.
Each group was responsible for note-taking, note-making and drafting a paragraph.
Of course they needed a criteria sheet to track what each paragraph needed.
I am compiling all the information and graphic organisers I created for this unit, into a teacher resource, so watch this pace. It's looking like a very big one :o
Here is the contents page for it:
Next time I'll post about encouraging the use of a range of resources (other that Google) and the importance of triangulating to quality facts.
'til next time :)