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The importance of surprise

The importance of surprise
There should be surprise, delight or even discomfort as one explores. True inquiry involves discovery. The task at hand should awaken curiosity and take the student on an adventure. Mere topical research requires little more than gathering and is often sleep inducing. It is up to the teacher to frame research projects around questions of import and tasks that require fresh thinking, problem-solving and imagination. The following checklist was designed to help teachers determine whether their research assignments are likely to produce surprise, awaken curiosity and challenge students at the highest possible levels. to read the full explanation. Image courtesy of Fighting-Wolf-Fist on Deviant Art 1. Paul Simon said it so well when he sang in Kodachrome: When I think back On all the crap I learned in high school It's a wonder I can think at all Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew would win little attention or audience if the solutions to their mysteries were lying in plain sight. 4. 5. 7. 8. 9.

Replacing Faux Inquiry with the Real Thing Why should teachers nurture potent questioning skills and behaviors? As a practical matter, students need to be able to read between the lines, infer meaning, draw conclusions from disparate clues and avoid the traps of presumptive intelligence, bias and predisposition. They need these thinking skills to score well on increasingly tough school tests, but more importantly, they need these skills to score well on the increasingly baffling tests of life . . . how to vote? how to work? how to love? how to honor?

Embracing Complexity Wondering, Pondering, Wandering and Considering For the young to make their own meanings, they need to be able to shift back and forth across the four operations of wondering, pondering, wandering and considering. Each has its own role and its own time, but sometimes they may operate concurrently. Under the old topical approach to school research, students were asked to do little more than scoop and smush. It was all about finding information rather than building an answer or solving a mystery.

Harvard Education Publishing Group Students in Hayley Dupuy’s sixth-grade science class at the Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School in Palo Alto, Calif., are beginning a unit on plate tectonics. In small groups, they are producing their own questions, quickly, one after another: What are plate tectonics? How fast do plates move? Why do plates move? Do plates affect temperature? What animals can sense the plates moving?

Questions of Import Difference of Opinion Some questions matter more to some than others. Significance is defined to some extent by personal issues, tastes and interests. Several people looking at the image below might pose very different questions. Some might pose questions about media, media coverage and media literacy.

Essential Questions Examples of Essential Questions In schools, essential questions may offer the organizing focus for a single discussion, a month’s unit of study or a whole year’s exploration. Outside of school, of course, essential questions might challenge us for years. We may struggle with questions of a lifetime as well as questions of the day. We may have close and brief encounters with monumental issues or longstanding relationships with queries that dog us, defy us or delight us. We cannot nail down essential questions in simple time frames.

Resources and Downloads to Facilitate Inquiry-Based Learning A Case for Curiosity: Hear from one educator on the value of asking “why?” and learn how to preserve and nurture a curious mindset. (Edutopia, 2016) 3 Rules to Spark Learning: Watch a short video to understand how student questions seed real learning. (TED Talks, 2013) Why Curiosity Enhances Learning: Read about findings of a neurological study on curiosity. (Edutopia, 2014) Designing Learning That Matters: Learn about the benefits of inquiry-driven, deep-learning experiences. (Edutopia, 2015) The Research Behind Choice and Inquiry-Based Education: Explore a collection of research and success stories.

Great Research A really great research project will demand original thought. Mere scooping and collection of information will not suffice. The project must be built around a question or an issue whose answer does not lie waiting on a Web page. Useful Tips on Writing Essential Questions written by: Keren Perles • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 9/11/2012 Essential questions can make the lesson planning process more effective, but many teachers struggle to write quality essential questions for their lessons. Read on for a step-by-step guide to writing essential questions. 1. Choose the Main ConceptThe first step to writing essential questions is to write down the main concept that you are trying to teach your students. Although this may seem obvious at first, many teachers find that once they write down what they are trying to teach, they realize that they should really be focusing on something entirely different.

Approaches to Information Inquiry Models and Process for Information Inquiry Many educators and librarians have designed models to illustrate how teachers and learners act in information inquiry situations. Other models have been developed for processes such as instructional design, thinking, and writing. During the 1980s educators and librarians experienced a surge of interest in information skills.