Kids naturally wonder about the world around us. They question why things are the way they are. As teachers we should embrace this excitement!
When teaching by investigation students begin with a "wonder" question. Many times I will prompt the kids with a question to get them thinking. This may be something we think is simple such as "why is the sky blue?" or "how does my Popsicle melt?" Although these concepts are easy to us, they are a natural curiosity to primary aged learners.
After questioning the children you should allow them to talk as a whole group. NEVER answer the question, only listen to their thinking on the subject. Next, let the kids write what they believe is the answer to the inquiry question.
After lots of open ended discussion on the topic it is time to investigate the phenomenon! Students should take part in an investigation following a procedure you have given them, or they can investigate without a set of steps to follow.
The investigation should open the floor to even more discussion amongst the class. This is a great time for the teacher to explicitly teach some content area vocabulary. For example, if you are teaching about the states of matter and the students have completed an investigation that changes a solid and liquid into a gas, the teacher can explicitly teach states of matter vocabulary when explaining the phenomenon.
Students should now elaborate on the investigation. Most of the time at this point I have the kids make a foldable. This is a fun way for them to show their learning and understanding of the new vocabulary.
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